Glossary of Terms
Espresso served over Gelato ice cream
Espresso and hot water mixed equally, the term is thought to have come from WWII when American GI's were only familiar with drip coffee.
A coffee bean type indigenous to Ethiopia, also known as the coffee shrub of Arabia. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated. Considered to produce better coffee than the other major species but it's all down to personal taste.
A type of Espresso machine which provides the water pressure and brew volume automatically. These machines still require manual grinding dosing and tamping of the coffee.
Italian word for bartender meaning the professional operator of an espresso machine.
Bean to cup
Describes espresso machines which automatically grind the coffee beans, brew the coffee and prepare themselves for the next use, also referred to as super automatics.
A cup of drip coffee with an added espresso shot, also known as depth charge, shot in the dark, red eye, hammerhead or slingblade.
A coffee grinder using blades to chop coffee beans to a ground consistency. These grinders can never produce the accurate fine ground coffee required by Espresso machines, Burr grinders that produce an even and controllable coffee grind are required to get the best out of any machine.
The water temperature used to make the espresso, should be between 88C (190F) and 95C (205F) for optimal results.
From the moment the pump is activated until it is finished, guideline is 20-25 seconds for the optimal espresso.
The amount of water used to brew a single espresso shot, normally 30ml (1oz) to 45ml (1.5 oz)
The combination of the water diffuser, brewing group head and a portafilter. This is the brewing unit which holds coffee, takes pressurised water in and produces espresso.
A metal filter basket is loaded with 7-10g of ground coffee (12-18g for a double shot) the ground coffee is tamped into a firm puck of coffee. The portafilter or group handle holds the filter basket and is then locked into the group heads diffusion block. Pressurized water at 85 to 95 degrees and about 900kPa is forced into the group head and through the coffee puck in the portafilter producing a rich beverage, an ideal shot of espresso should take between 17 and 26 seconds to arrive unless a pre-infusion stage is used which may add up to 7 seconds.
Features two disks, one rotates which slice away at the coffee bean producing very fine particles. Produces the proper consistent fine grind of coffee for espresso machines.
A feature on bean to cup machines allowing pre ground coffee to be used bypassing the automatically ground beans. This is a convenient way of for example making a cup of Decaff rather than using the bean supply or vice versa.
A shot of espresso served in a small glass filled with condensed milk, these remain separate forming 2 layers.
Made by adding sugar to the ground coffee before brewing.
About 1/3 espresso 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 froth. Often served with a dusting of cocoa powder.
A coffee pod in a sealed capsule. Each capsule is individually sealed for a long life. The cleanest and simplest way of making espresso. Types of capsule differ across manufacturers and some restrict coffee purchase to themselves, Gaggia use the Caffitaly) system (with a full 8 gram coffee dose) that is open to any coffee maker and is available through some retail outlets ensuring a good variety of coffee and good availability
An Espresso machine where high volume and durability is required such as a café or restaurant.
Espresso with some sort of liqueur added (Corretto is the Italian word for Spiked)
Crema is the reddish brown foam which floats on top of an espresso. An essential indicator of a good espresso and considered by many to be the true sign of good coffee.
The part of an espresso machine that warms cups, espresso should be served in warm cups or due to the small volume heat loss is very rapid and there is little worse than a cold espresso! Cup warmers can be passive (heated indirectly by the boiler) or active where an electric element is normally used.
A posh word for a 3oz cup holding a shot of espresso. Many materials can be used but porcelain is often preferred for heat retention.
Two shots of espresso in one cup
The amount or dose of ground coffee used to make an espresso, typically 7-10g using 1- 1.5 Oz of water for a single shot. Dose is also used to describe the volume of water used to make the coffee. Where the espresso machine takes pre-ground coffee in a portafilter then the coffee dose is set by the amount of coffee placed in the filter basket and the description of Dosage controls refers to the water volume. Automatic dose machines allow opperators to pre set a number of coffee doses for differing coffees or differant cups. In Bean to cup machines the coffee dose and the water dose are usually separately adjustable.
Found on many grinders it releases a measured dose of coffee with a lever pull. On Gaggia MDF grinders the dose is released directly into the coffee portalfiler
Sited below the brewing group to catch any spillage, it is also used on solenoid valve machines as a drainage area for the expulsion of excess water from the portafilter once brewing is complete.
A standard of coffee capsules used in Gaggia coffee machines
Easy Serving Espresso a standard for coffee pods 44mm in size. New double pods are now available for double shot espresso, (requires a special filter basket)
A concentrated coffee beverage made by putting high pressure water (around 9 atmospheres) through fine ground coffee. The defining characteristics of espresso are a thicker consistency due to the higher amount of dissolved solids and a crema, a reddish brown foam on the surface. Espresso is chemically complex with around twice the caffeine content of regular coffee.
The act of forcing the water through the coffee to "extract" the oils, flavours and others from the coffee.
A metal perforated basket used to hold the ground coffee puck, these may be in different sizes for single or double shot, or to make multiple cups at the same time
About 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, however the milk is prepared differently to a Latte with the volumised milk at the top folded into the lower layers leaving only a very thin layer of froth at the top.
The coarseness of the ground coffee. The grind is important as if too coarse the water will pass too freely through the puck reducing the brew time and leaving the essential flavours of the espresso behind. If too fine the water will not be able to pass through the coffee resulting in a longer brew time and an over brewing of the coffee.
A box or drawer used to knock out the used coffee puck from the portafilter and contain the used grinds ready for disposal. Normally has a rubber or wooden bar to knock against.
About 1/3/ espresso and 2/3 steamed milk with a layer of foamed milk about 1cm thick on the top. A latte can be distinguished between a cappuccino and a flat white by the proportion of milk to froth.
Almost the reverse of a macchiato itself, this is foamed milk with just a little espresso in it.
A type of espresso machine where the water pressure is generated by a manually operated lever pushing on a piston. Also called Manual Machines and Piston machines. These machines require a level of practice to provide the pressure required to make an Espresso.
A double shot of espresso pulled into hot water. The order here is important the hot water goes in first or the crema is destroyed and may burn the espresso.
About double the amount of water is used to brew the espresso yielding a higher volume but a weaker taste.
An Espresso with a tiny amount (about a teaspoon) of foamed milk.
See Lever Machines
The steam wand can come with attachments to make them quicker and easier to use, most machines include the Pannerello which draws in air to make frothing simpler
A device that aids the production of milk froth using the steaming wand. These draw air through small holes and mix it with the milk to froth it.
Pre-ground pre tamped coffee in a paper capsule (espresso in a teabag). Made to a standard sizes these are a simple clean way to produce espresso.
Portable filter - the removable handle and filter basket holder which is filled with the ground coffee. This locks on to the brewing groups head to brew.
Where the coffee puck is moistened with heated water for a few seconds before the brewing process begins.
Implies a machine for the high end consumer which incorporates features normally found on commercial or professional machines. These are normally suitable for light commercial usage.
The packed coffee in the filter basket.
Pulling a shot
Making a shot of espresso, originally all espresso machines were lever operated.
Espresso machines where the required water pressure is provided by an electric pump.
Prepared with 0.75oz of water (rather than the 1 to 1.5 oz water for a regular Espresso). A true Ristretto will require adjustment to grinder settings to achieve the 20 to 25 second brew time to reach the proper result.
The description of the coffee beans after roasting, any coffee bean may be used to make espresso. Relates to the colour of the beans after roasting hence dark roast, light roast etc.
A coffee bean type originally from western Africa. Considered inferior to Arabica but easier to care for and so is cheaper to produce. Used in espresso blend to promote the formation of crema and for higher caffeine content.
Semi Automatic machines
A machine where the pressure is automatically controlled but the operator determines the length of the brewing time. These machines still require manual grinding dosing and tamping of the coffee.
A half sized Long Black, a single espresso pulled into a little hot water.
A single brewed espresso.
Normally found on professional machines it diverts excess water at the end of the brewing process to the drip tray leaving a much drier coffee puck to knock out so less cleaning
A manual control knob operating a valve to release steam from the boiler. Used to control the steam used to froth and steam milk or release water or steam for tea.
Super Automatic machine
See Bean to Cup Machine
The device used for tamping down the coffee in the filter.
The process of compressing the ground coffee in preparation for brewing an espresso. Along with the grind the tamping pressure controls the water flow through the puck.
Describes how good an espresso machine is at maintaining an even temperature from the boiler to the group head.
A machine in which two boilers are used. One for coffee production operating at 88 to 96C and the other to produce steam for the frothing of milk. The use of a single boiler makes for a less expensive machine but causes a slight delay in the process change from coffee production to steaming whilst the temperature rises or falls to the required level. The twin boiler therefore reduces the delay between the two processes.
Or dispersion screen part of the brewing group which ensures the water is spread evenly across the coffee puck ensuring complete and even saturation.
The water tank or container used to feed the boiler to brew espresso and feed any steaming devices on machines that include a separate steaming ability
See Brew Volume