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September 29, 2023

Coffee lingo demystified

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Story and photos: Vivienne Pearson

You know a latte from a short black. You’ve maybe heard that coffee is green before it is roasted. But have you heard of cascara? How about a bullet-proof coffee?

Coffee lingo has become so complex that you could dedicate an entire dictionary to it. We haven’t got that much space, so here’s a quick and dirty guide to some of the newer and more interesting terms around.

Cherry – the fruit of a coffee plant is called a cherry. Green when unripe and bright red when ripe, each cherry has two little coffee beans snuggled up inside. You can eat a coffee cherry – the taste is an odd mix between fruit and coffee. I don’t know anyone who would sit up to a bowlful though.

Green bean – once the two little beans from inside the cherry are unwrapped from their protective layers, they are known as green bean. Their green is much more muted than the brightness of an unripe cherry – more of a greeny-grey. The beans are then dried before being roasted and ground.

Cascara – a ‘tea’ made from the actual cherry flesh (which is usually thrown away). Prepared hot or cold, cascara is sweet and has a surprisingly pleasant zing.

Bullet-proof coffee – a shot
of espresso coffee with a dollop of butter and a dash of oil (coconut is one option). I have to contain my gag reflex just thinking about it but others attribute to it a myriad of health benefits.

Magic – sharp-eyed readers will remember this from a recent article about coffee at farmers markets. For the less dedicated, magic is a double-shot ristretto (a ‘restricted’ espresso, where only the first part of the shot is used) topped with three-quarters of the usual milk volume. It is an increasingly common order in coffee-centric places such as Melbourne but is creeping into the local scene.

Almond milk – remember that great ad where the milk bar owner wearily runs through the myriad of milk options available? Well,
almond milk adds yet another option to the full cream / skinny / soy conundrum. Made by soaking, blending and straining almonds, its presence in cafes is on the rise, thanks to the nutty flavour complementing both coffee and chai. Expect to pay extra though – almonds are more expensive to milk than cows.

Happy caffeine drinking!


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  1. Hi Vivienne, Great post !!

    I really like the Idea of a “Coffee lingo” and I think most of the concepts in yours are highly accurate but have to tell you that I think the “Bullet-proof coffee” one it’s inaccurate because you did not mention 2 important features of this kind of “coffee”:

    1) The origin of the coffee: It has to be Mycotoxins Free (Clean Coffee)
    2) An the characteristics of the butter : It has to be form grass-fed cows

    You can find more info about it here http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/bulletproof-coffee/

    Additionally, I would like to share with you this post http://www.coffeereview.com/coffee-glossary/ It is a very good Coffee Glossary that you can use for inspiration in the future.

    I hope you find my suggestions useful.




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