Coffee and tea glossary

Our glossary provides you with a quick and easy way to improve your know-how about the world of coffee and tea. So click through our expert knowledge and broaden your coffee and tea horizons!



The word aroma comes from Greek, where it roughly translates as “spice” or “scent”. We essentially perceive aromas through our nose. Each coffee bean contains around 800 different aromatic compounds. The growing region, variety and the process of roasting the coffee beans all have a major impact on the aroma of the coffee.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffebohnen in der Mühle, Aroma schützen

Arabica & robusta

Although there are many different types of coffee, in principle, all coffee produced globally originates from two species: arabica (coffea arabica), which originally comes from Ethiopia, and robusta (coffea canephora), which was discovered at the end of the 19th century in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffeesorten unterschiedliche verschiedene Kaffeebohnen



In Italy, a “barista” is simply a bartender who serves all kinds of drinks. Elsewhere, the term has come to mean someone who makes coffee professionally.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee barista Barkeeper ausschenken Bar


Most coffees on the market are blends – in other words mixtures of different coffees from different growing regions.

[Translate to Englisch:] Mischung Robusta Arabica mischen verschiedene Sorten


The coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant and is used to brew the coffee.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffeebohnen Bohne Kaffee


Coffee plant

Coffee plants are actually trees and grow to a height of up to 10 metres in the wild. In plantations, they are cut back to the size of a bush around two to three metres high to facilitate harvesting. It takes around two years for a coffee plant to blossom for the first time, and each tree can then produce thousands of blossom flowers.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffeebaum Kaffee Plantage Kaffeestrauch

Coffee belt

The areas in which coffee is grown are located from 23 degrees north to 25 degrees south of the equator and stretch like a broad, imaginary band around the globe. This is called the coffee belt. Coffee is grown in around 80 countries, the biggest producers being Brazil and – what may be a surprise to some – Vietnam.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee Gürtel Anbaugebiete Äquator

Coffee cherries

As its name suggests, the coffee cherry is a cherry-like fruit. It can take up to three months to ripen. As with our domestic cherries, the coffee fruits do not ripen in unison – even on the same tree. Often a branch will contain a combination of flowers, unripe green and yellow fruit, and fully ripe red cherries – all at the same time. Inside the cherry-like fruits are two seeds: the coffee beans.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee Strauch Kirsche Frucht Früchte


Coffee grows best in subtropical and tropical climates around the equator – in an area known as the coffee belt. The higher the arabica coffee grows, the better the quality of the coffee. A coffee’s quality is also determined by how much care is given to the coffee plant and how carefully it is harvested.

Tea-growing regions can be found around the world in all tropical and subtropical areas – both on flat plantations at low altitudes and in the mountains. 

[Translate to Englisch:] Baumsetzlinge Kaffeplantage Äthiopien Kaffeeursprung


The crema is the thick, dense, hazelnut-brown layer that sits on top of your espresso. A barista needs the right combination of pressure, grind size, coffee quantity and water temperature to coax the coveted crema out of the espresso beans. The crema is made up of the coffee’s natural oils, proteins, sugars and carbon dioxide.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee Creme Schaum Schaumschicht Milchschaum


Wherever you are in the world, professional coffee tasting – known as “cupping” – always follows the same pattern: there are no brewing utensils such as filters – only porcelain cups and pots along with a cupping spoon. Porcelain is used because it has the least impact on the flavour and keeps the coffee warm for long periods. During a tasting, the coffee is always slurped loudly.

[Translate to Englisch:] Professionelle Kaffeeverkostung Kaffee verkosten probieren



Decaffeination is a process where the caffeine in coffee beans or tea leaves is partially or almost completely removed by solvents. By the way: if coffee upsets your stomach, decaffeinated coffee can often be a great alternative.

[Translate to Englisch:] Koffein entziehen Kaffee entkoffeiniert decaf entkoffeinieren


Fermenting coffee

Fermentation is an essential part of processing coffee. It causes the aromas contained within the coffee to enter into new and exciting combinations. Drying stops the fermentation process, and makes the seed of the coffee cherry – in other words the coffee bean – more durable.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee fermentieren trocknen haltbar machen

Fermenting tea

Whether the green leaves end up as black, green, white or oolong tea depends solely on how they are processed. Tea gets its reddish-brown colour from fermentation, when the cell sap in the tea oxidises in the air. Black teas are fully fermented, while oolong teas are semi-fermented. With green tea, the leaves are heated in large iron pans or steamed after being picked, which prevents oxidisation taking place. That way, the tea retains its olive-green colour.

[Translate to Englisch:] Tee fermentieren Teeblätter haltbar machen


Grinding level

The grinding level determines how fine or coarse the coffee beans are ground. Grinding the coffee breaks down the cell structure of the beans, releasing the aromas and making the substances in the coffee more soluble in water. For each method of preparation, there’s a certain optimal grind size: as a general rule, the longer the coffee is in contact with the water when brewing, the coarser the grind should be.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee Bohnen zerkleinern Kaffeepulver


Harvesting coffee

There are three different methods for harvesting coffee: hand-picking, strip-picking and machine harvesting. About 70% of the coffees for Dallmayr are picked by hand.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee ernten pflücken Kaffeebohnen

Harvesting tea

How tea is harvested and processed can have a significant impact on its quality. Almost all tea plantations pick only the top bud and the next two leaves of a shoot. In expert circles, this picking rule is called “two leaves and a bud”.

[Translate to Englisch:] Tee ernten Teeblätter pflücken


Instant coffee

Instant coffee was invented at the end of the 19th century – and thanks to dalgona coffee, or whipped coffee, it is now staging something of a comeback. Instant coffee is obtained from coffee beans – usually robusta – using a technical process after roasting.

[Translate to Englisch:] Granulat Kaffee löslicher Kaffee


Latte Art

Latte art (“milk art”) is the perfect complement to a good coffee. These lovingly poured designs turn coffee pleasure into an even more special experience. The quality and texture of the milk foam, as well as the skills of the barista, all play a decisive role.

[Translate to Englisch:] Milchschaum Kunst verzieren bemalen Motive Kaffee



Coffee dripper: the “pour-over” method involves pouring water onto ground coffee in a filter. The coffee is then slowly extracted and drips into the cup.

[Translate to Englisch:] Brühwasser Filter Kaffee extrahieren



Whether a light roast, medium roast or dark roast: the roasting level impacts the flavour of the coffee and often determines how the coffee will be used later on. Here, the length of the roasting process and final temperature of the beans are decisive. Filter coffee is usually lightly roasted, while a darker roast is used for espresso. Single-origin coffees are usually roasted lightly so as not to overpower the original aromas with roasted flavours. But fruity espressos using lightly roasted beans are also popular.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee rösten Kaffeebohnen dark roast


Stretching stage

Indispensable for smooth and creamy milk foam: stretching is an important part of preparing steamed milk. The stretching stage aerates the milk, creating tiny bubbles called microfoam. Spending too much time on the stretching stage, for example, will make the milk foam too thick.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee ziehen lassen Microbläschen

Sensory evaluation of coffee

When evaluating coffee, we use our senses to judge particular characteristics – above all the coffee’s flavour, body and aromas. We perceive flavour almost exclusively with our tongues. A distinction is made between sweet, sour, bitter and salty, although the latter is rare in coffee. We also use our tongues to analyse the coffee’s body and texture. We need our noses too, and only then can we sense the countless aromas that are present in a coffee.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffeesensorik Sehen riechen schmecken fühlen Kaffee

Steam wand

Whether it’s automatic with “auto-steam” or used manually by a barista – without a steam wand there’s no steamed milk. Espresso machines contain a boiler that produces steam. The steam wand can release doses of this steam to heat up the milk and create steamed milk and foam.

[Translate to Englisch:] Lanze Milchschaum Dampf Auto-Steam



The tamper is one of the barista’s most important utensils. A tamper is used to compress the ground espresso into the portafilter basket. Without tamping, the water would not flow evenly through the ground coffee in the portafilter, resulting in a poorly balanced espresso.

[Translate to Englisch:] Barista Tamper Kaffee Drücker Stampfer stampfen drücken

Third-wave coffee

The third wave is all about the appreciation of coffee as a beverage. Coffee is treated like wine – with attention given to factors such as the growing region, varieties and roasting date – but the third wave is also about much more.


[Translate to Englisch:] Wertschätzung Kaffee anbaugebiet varietät


Every barista needs to master the art of stretching and texturing; after all, that’s the only way you can create steamed milk with the perfect consistency. During texturing, the steam wand is immersed just under the surface of the milk until the hissing sound (stretching stage) stops and the resulting foam is evenly distributed in the pitcher.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee rösten light medium dark roast


Unwashed + washed

Whether a coffee is “washed” or “unwashed” (“the natural process”) can offer some initial insights into its quality. After all, this isn’t just about washing the outside of the coffee cherries, but whether the coffee is subsequently wet or dry processed. The two terms refer to the methods of separating the coffee bean from the outer layers of the cherry. The work involved for each of the two methods differs considerably. Washed coffees have a cleaner profile in the cup, whereas unwashed coffees have a slightly fuller body and are not quite as nuanced.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee waschen Kaffeekirsche Qualität


Water, coffee + tea

The main ingredient in coffee and tea is water. So it’s no surprise that water quality plays a significant role in how each beverage tastes in the cup. Very soft water tends to emphasise acidity, while hard water with higher °dH levels (German degrees of hardness) emphasises the more powerful flavours and aromas in the coffee or tea. If the water contains lime – as is the case in Munich, for example – we recommend using a water filter for the coffee machine.

[Translate to Englisch:] Kaffee Härtegrad Wasser Wasserqualität hartes weiches Wasser