Coffee cherries are the fruit of the coffee shrub.
Coffee cherries are the fruit of the coffee shrub.

Matt Holden

Cherry The fruit of the coffee shrub, green at first, red or yellow when ripe for picking.

Coffee shrub Tree of the genus Coffea. Coffee originated in the Arabian peninsula and north-east Africa; its cultivation spread to India, the Caribbean, Latin America and south-east Asia from the 17th century.

Cupping The process of tasting coffee to determine quality and flavour characteristics. Small quantities of green beans are roasted, ground and infused with hot water in cups. The coffee is tasted from a cupping spoon at various times as it cools and is given scores for characteristics on a standard form. Cupping is part of the selection of green beans at origin and at coffee brokers, and also during roasting to determine the best roast level for particular batches of beans.

Illustration: Matt Golding.
Illustration: Matt Golding.

First crack Rather like popcorn, coffee beans pop when the water inside them evaporates during roasting. First crack is the first round of popping as the beans split open. Lighter roasts of specialty beans stop about this point. At second crack the cell walls inside the beans begin to break down. Roasting to second crack produces a darker roast with more caramelised sugar flavours.

Parchment A fine, papery skin around the bean. Sometimes coffee is shipped in the parchment and sometimes it is removed in a huller before shipping.

Reposo A period up to 60 days when processed green beans are left in warehouses to "rest" and reach temperature and moisture equilibrium before shipping.

Specialty coffee Coffee made from beans grown in defined regions and processed, roasted and brewed to the highest standards.