Learn More About Some of the Most Common Coffee & Espresso Terminology
BAR: Pressure measurement used to rate pump driven espresso machines. 9 BAR is the standard accepted pressure for properly brewing espresso, most pump driven machines are rated far in excess of this required value.
Barista: An Italian term for the person who operates the espresso brewing equipment in a cafe. Many baristas have extensive formal training and/or years of hand-on experience.
Boiler: The primary heating unit in an espresso machine that creates hot water for brewing and steam for milk frothing. Most home machines have a single boiler that is dual function, and typically made from aluminum, brass or stainless steel.
Brew Group: The part of an espresso machine where hot water enters the filter basket, including the group head, portafilter and filter basket.
Burr Coffee Grinder: This type of grinder uses two disks or “burrs” one rotates and one is fixed. As beans are fed between the disks small particles are shaved away, with the size determined by the gap between the disks. This is the most precise method of grinding coffee and highly preferred for brewing espresso.
Caffe Latte: A double-shot of espresso mixed with approximately 5 ounces of steamed milk, typically little or no foam is added to the top. Served in a large bowl type or glass cup 9-12 ounces in capacity. For flavored latte, simply add some quality coffee syrup to taste.
Caffe Mocha: Similar to a caffe latte with the addition of chocolate syrup.
Cappuccino: Traditionally prepared with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam in a small cup typically 4-6 ounces in capacity. Cappuccino can be garnished with a light sprinkle of ground chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla powder. For flavored cappuccino, simply add some quality coffee syrup to taste.
Cappuccino Thermometer: Used to measure the milk temperature when steaming, typically has a scale covering the ideal temperature range of 140 to 160 degrees F.
Crema: A golden-brown foam of emulsified oils that appears on the surface of a properly brewed espresso.
Cup Warmer: An area on an espresso machine to store and warm cups, usually on the top. Most home machine cup warmers are “passive” meaning they use heat radiated from the main boiler. Some machines feature an “active” cup warmer which uses a dedicated heating element.
Espresso: A rich, dark full bodied coffee brewed from 7g of finely ground and firmly packed coffee under 9 BAR pressure resulting in 1-1/2 ounces of beverage.
Espresso Machine: Brews coffee by forcing pressurized hot water through coffee that has been ground very fine and compacted or “tamped”, producing a thick, concentrated coffee called espresso.
Filter Basket: A bowl shaped insert with small perforated holes that fits inside an espresso machine portafilter and holds the ground coffee.
French Press: Also referred to as a “plunger pot”, ground coffee steeps in hot water in the pot then after a period of time the plunger is pressed down forcing the liquid through a fine screen and the grinds to the bottom.
Frothed Milk: Milk that has been heated and aerated with hot steam, creating a thick and frothy texture.
Frothing Pitcher: Usually made from stainless steel with a pouring spout and used to steam cold milk for making cappuccino and latte type beverages.
Knockbox: A container used to dispense the used ground coffee “puck” from an espresso machine portafilter. The knockbox contains some type of padded bar which the portafilter is knocked against to free to used coffee puck.
Moka Pot: A manual European method of brewing very strong coffee on the stovetop, also called a stovetop espresso maker. When heated steam forces water from the base up through the ground coffee under a mild pressure. The brewed coffee is generally dispensed in the pot’s carafe or in some cases right out spouts and into cups.
ESE Espresso Pod: A pre-ground and pre-packed puck of espresso coffee contained inside perforated paper. Espresso machines can only use pods if specifically designed to do so, most home machines use pods made to ESE specifications.
Portafilter: The handle on an espresso machine that holds the filter basket.
Pressurized Portafilter: This is a specialized type of portafilter used on some home machines with a built-in device that creates back pressure and increases production of crema.
Tamper: A tool that is used to press or “tamp” the find ground coffee in an espresso machine filter basket.