Glossary Of Coffee Terms

The acronym for Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales, the three most famous coffees from Colombia. They are often marketed together to simplify large coffee contracts.

One of the best coffees from Columbia.

A class of distinguished coffees from Venezuela.

Pronounced MAH-rah-goh-SHZEE-peh, this Arabica coffee is distinguished by its extremely large, porous beans. It was first discovered in Maragogipe, Brazil, and is now cultivated all over the world.

One of the best coffees from Nicaragua.

Also known as Matari, this coffee is one of the best...


Glossary Of Coffee Terms

Is one of several types of coffee beverages made with hot milk. The term is from the Italian "caffè e latte" (commonly "caffè latte"), for "coffee and milk," analogous to the French "café au lait." As the term has come to be used in the United States since approximately 1985, a latte consists of one or two shots of espresso and about three times as much hot milk, topped with a small amount of milk froth. A latte has more milk than a cappuccino, and has a weaker, milkier taste. Lattes should be prepared by pouring milk and coffee simultaneously, from either side of the drinking vessel, which ideally should be a tall, ceramic mug.

Latte Macchiato
Hot milk froth with a...



A Hawaiian coffee that is less expensive than Kona. The beans are small, but larger than peaberries.

Kenya AA
The AA signifies the best grade from Kenya. Grown on plateaus over 6,000 feet above sea level, there is no finer coffee grown on earth. This is a meticously prepared coffee famous for its rich full body, strong pleasant acidity, floral fragrant aroma and a winery aftertaste with overtones of berries and citrus fruit.

A rich, full-bodied coffee with wine-like acidity, noted for its consistent quality and availability. The "AA" grade in Kenya is reserved for the largest beans of the crop.



Glossary Of Coffee Terms

Jamaica Blue Mountain
One of the most respected coffees in the world from the Blue Mountain District of Jamaica. Grown on estates at over 3,000 feet, this premium coffee is full-bodied, rich in flavor, and has a sophisticated, smooth acidity.

Jamaica High Mountain
This coffee is grown in the mountains of Jamaica and exported under the name of High Mountain Supreme or Blue Mountain Valley. Both are excellent coffees, although less distinguished than true Jamaica Blue Mountain.

Jamaican Style
A blend of Jamaica Blue Mountain and other coffees that tries to simulate the richness of Jamaica Blue Mountain at lower cost.


The Coffee Industry Commodity Chain

Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee is an extremely powerful commodity, reigning as the world's most heavily traded product, behind petroleum, and the largest food import of the United States. The global commodity chain for coffee involves a string of producers, middlemen, exporters, importers, roasters, and retailers before reaching the consumer.

Coffee is a vital source of export for many of the developing countries that grow it. Some 20 million families in 50 countries now work directly in the cultivation of coffee; an estimated 11 million hectares of the world's farmland are dedicated to coffee cultivation. Arabica and Robusta are the two principle species of coffee harvested today. Approximately 70% of the world's production is...

How Coffee Prices Are Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee prices are set according to the New York "C" Contract market. The price of coffee fluctuates wildly in this speculative economy, generally hovering around fifty cents per pound.

Most coffee is traded by speculators in New York, who trade approximately 8-10 times the amount of actual coffee produced each year. The single most influential factor in world coffee prices is the weather in Brazil. Droughts and frosts portend shortages of coffee and the price increases.

Specialty coffee is often imported at a negotiated price over the C market, which is considered a 'quality premium'. Most of those premiums never reach the coffee farmer, but rather stay in the hands of the exporter. This creates a...


Glossary Of Coffee Terms

Also called Indian Mysore, and Mysore Straight. Indian coffee from the State of Karnataka (formerly Mysore). Indian coffee at its best is rich and subtle, with moderate body and acidity.

Indian Filter Coffee
Particularly common in the south of the country, is made by adding milk to a coffee decoction prepared by the drip brew method.

Indian Monsooned Malabar
An extremely low-acid, complex-flavored bean, created by leaving Mysore beans out in open-roof silos during the Indian monsoon season. The term monsooned is also be used to describe other types of beans similarly processed.

General geographic reference that...

The Role of Coffee in the U S Economy

Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee is the US's largest food import and second most valuable commodity only after oil. According to the International Coffee Organization, the US imported 2.72 billion pounds of coffee from September 2001 to September 2002.

The US primarily purchases coffee from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Vietnam. The U.S. also buys coffee from Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, Uganda, Thailand, Nicaragua, India, and Papua New Guinea.

In the U.S. alone, over 130 million consumers are coffee drinkers. In recent years, new cafés have been opening at an explosive rate, making specialty coffee mainstream and increasing profit margins for specialty coffee roasters and...


Glossary Of Coffee Terms

Haitian Coffee
The best coffees from Haiti are low-acid, medium-bodied, and rich in flavor.

Hard Coffee
This is a trade term for low-quality coffee, as opposed to mild coffee.

Hard Bean
Coffees grown at altitudes above 3,000 feet are described as hard bean; above 4,500 feet is referred to as strictly hard bean. The higher altitudes and lower temperatures produce a slower maturing fruit and a harder, less porous bean.

The best of the Ethiopian dry-processed, or natural, coffees. Also known as Harar, Harer, Mocha Harrar, and Moka Harar.

One of the best coffees from Costa Rica.


The Role of Coffee in the Global Economy

Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee is the world's second most valuable traded commodity, behind only petroleum. There are approximately 25 million farmers and coffee workers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee around the world.

Coffee was traditionally developed as a colonial cash crop, planted by serfs or wage laborers in tropical climates on large plantations of landowners for sale in colonial countries. Coffee producers, like most agricultural workers around the world, are kept in a cycle of poverty and debt by the current global economy designed to exploit cheap labor and keep consumer prices low.

An estimated 11 million hectares of the world's farmland are dedicated to coffee cultivation. The largest producer and...