A GLOSSARY OF TERMS

A GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 

As you may have noticed from reading the Total Espresso Buying Guide, the art of making the perfect “shot” of espresso has its own jargon. Here is a glossary of some of the most commonly used terms.  

 

            ESPRESSO TERM                                                       DEFINITION
Bar of Pressure A Bar is a measurement of steam pressure that is pushed through the coffee grinds. Pump-driven espresso machines are rated by the number of bars of pressure. High pressure is needed to produce full-flavored espresso. Typically 9 Bar is the standard accepted pressure, however high-end machines are rated well above that (15-18 Bar). Note: 1 bar of pressure is equivalent to 14.5 pounds per square inch (psi).
Barista Male or female bartender who operates the espresso machine. Many baristas have formal training and years of experience.
Boiler The primary heating unit in an espresso machine that heats the water for coffee brewing and milk frothing.
Brew Group Espresso machine area where hot water enters the filter basket.
Burr Coffee Grinder A type of grinder that uses two disks or “burrs”. One remains stationary and the other rotates. As coffee beans enter the disks, small particles are shaved away. The size of the particles is determined by the distance between the disks. This is the preferred method for preparing coffee beans for espresso.
Caffe Latte A double shot of espresso mixed with about 5 ounces of steamed milk.
Caffe Mocha A caffe latte with chocolate syrup added.
Cappuccino Typically prepared with equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam in a 4-6 ounce cup. The drink can be garnished with a light sprinkling of ground chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla powder.
cc A cubic centimeter is a measure of area. Espresso machine boiler sizes are sometimes expressed in cc or milliliter (ml) for liquid capacity. 100 ml (or 100 cc) is equivalent to 3.4 fluid ounces.
Crema A golden foam of emulsified oils that appears on the surface of a freshly brewed shot of espresso. It helps to retain the flavors and aromas of the espresso. It can only be achieved with a pump-driven machine.
Espresso A coffee beverage and a brewing method. The Italian Espresso National Institute defines all the parameters which go into making a certified Italian espresso; including the portion of ground coffee: 7 grams of finely ground and firmly packed coffee; Exit temperature of water from the unit: 86-90 degrees C; Entry water pressure: 8-10 Bar; Percolation time: 20-30 seconds; Volume in cup, including crema: 2.25-2.75 ml.
Extraction The extraction process forces hot water into the boiler and through the grounds to “extract” a combination of flavors and oils that produce the ideal shot of espresso.
Filter Basket A bowl-shaped insert with small perforations that holds coffee grounds. The perforations allow the brewed espresso to filter through to the cup.
French Press A pot in which ground coffee steeps in hot water and after a period of time, the plunger is pressed down forcing the liquid through a fine screen and the grinds to the bottom.
Froth Froth is created when cold milk is heated and aerated with hot steam, creating a thick and foamy-like texture that can be poured and will float atop an espresso for use in cappuccino and latte beverages.
Grinder A machine that finely chops coffee beans to grounds.
Hopper A place to hold coffee beans inside a grinder.
Housing This is the main body of an espresso machine.
Knockbox A container with a padded bar which is used to dispense the used coffee grounds from the espresso machine portafilter.
Moka Pot Also known as a macchinetta (literally "small machine"), is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee.
Piston A mechanism for forcing high-pressure water through the coffee grounds, activated by a lever or a spring.
Pod A self-contained, pre-ground, pre-pressed disk of ground coffee. They are usually inside a perforated paper filter.
Portafilter The handle of an espresso machine that holds the filter basket containing the ground coffee.
Steam Wand An external pipe that is used to froth and steam milk as well as heat espresso cups. The steam knob is controlled by a knob that opens and closes the steam valve inside the machine.
Tamping The act of pressing and compacting a bed of loose, finely ground coffee in preparation for brewing. A tamp is the tool used to press the coffee in an espresso machine filter basket.
Thermostat The act of pressing and compacting a bed of loose, finely ground coffee in preparation for brewing. A tamp is the tool used to press the coffee in an espresso machine filter basket.