Espresso Glossary

Glossary – Drinks

Americano:This is a type of coffee created by mixing hot water with espresso shots. The strength levels of an Americano are very much dependent on the number of shots added to it.

Barista: This is a person professionally trained to dispense espresso drinks and operate the equipment.

Caffé Au Lait: This drink is based on the French coffee drink where coffee and hot milk are poured into a cup or a bowl at the same time.

Caffè Amaretto: Sweetened latte containing almond syrup.

Caffè Freddo: Espresso that is presented in a chilled glass and sometimes served with ice.

Caffè Latte: Probably the most popular latte, consisting of an espresso served with steaming, foamed milk.

Caffè Macchiatto: An espresso that is marked with a small drop of milk. Macchiatto in Italian simply means marked.

Caffè Mocha: A latte made with chocolate.

Cappuccino: A drink consisting of even quantities of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. The serving on top can consist of cinnamon or powdery chocolate.

Crema: The crema is the wafer thin layer brown froth on top of a shot consisting of a series of bubbles. A well formed crema at the top of a shot indicates a well made drink.

Espresso: Typically this consists of a one ounce shot made from Arabic coffee. The name itself derives from the brewing method where hot water is pressed by the piston pumps through tightly ground coffee.

Frappuccino: A drink originally created by Starbucks consisting of iced cappuccino. The recipe fro the drink consists of milk, sugar and ice.

Shot: A shot equates to one shot of espresso also known as a single.

Skinny. When you request a latte with half milk then you are asking for a skinny.


Glossary – Espresso Equipment

Bar: A Bar is the unit measure for pump espresso machines. 9 Bar is the accepted pressure standard for espresso.

Beans hopper: This is the section in a coffee grinder where the beans are stored.

Boiler: The central engine of the machine that heats the water prior to pouring the espresso. The boiler can be made of steel brass, copper or aluminum.

Control Panel: The section of an espresso machine where you control the machine’s functionality, such as brewing time and the size of shots.

Cup Tray:The section where a cup is placed prior to a shot being poured.

Cup Warmer: Normally found at the top of the machine and the place where you heat a cup prior to drinking your coffee.

Drip Tray: The drip tray sits below the nozzle and catches any excess spillage.

Extraction: This is the process by which hot water is pushed through from the boiler to the ground coffee. From this point on flavours are extracted from the grounds and the coffee espresso is created.

Filter basket A bowl shaped object that needs to be positioned in the portfilter. The filter basket hold the coffee grounds. At it’s base are a series of miniature holes that allow the extracted coffee to seep through to the shot.

Froth attachment: A device that allows froth to be created from the machine’s steam.

Grinders: Grinders break the beans down into a powdery, granulated substance that allows them to pass through the machine in the most efficient manner. There are 2 main types of grinder:

  • Burr grinder: at the centre of the burr grinder are two disks: one stationary, one moving. The blades grind the beans down into a very fine, powdery substance.
  • Blade grinder: here a blade slices the beans into a suitable size.

Grouphead: the grouphead is a fixed component of an espresso machine that locks the connector to the portafilter. Hot water runs through it during the extraction process. At it’s base are a series of perforated holes that allow it to sprinkle water evenly into the coffee grounds in the portafilter basket.

Heat up Time: This relates to the amount of time a machine takes to heat up. This can range from as little as 5 minutes for smaller machines to 30 minutes for larger models. The reason for this disparity is that larger machines have larger boilers and need the extra time to prep the water.

Lever: A lever as opposed to a pump based espresso machine allows a person to push down on a piston to create the optimum pressure for a brew. These types of machines are also referred to as manual espresso machines.

Portafilter: This device attaches to the grouphead of the espresso machine. It holds a filter and attaches to a basket that carries the tamped coffee puck. It connects seamlessly with the machine’s gasket, using pressure to push water through the puck and down from spouts into the cup in the drinks tray.

Pressure gauge: The pressure gauge maintains the temperature of the boiler and the working pressure of the pump in order for you to pour the optimum brew.

Pump: The pump is used to push the water through the grouphead and load the boiler. Many of the larger machines use a rotary vane pump which is made of brass.

Semi-Auto Machines: These types of machines work on the basis that the actual shot is controlled by the machine but the brewing time is controlled manually by the Barista.

Super-automatic: Super-automatics are machines that work though the brewing process with out any human input. For example, the grinding, tamping and brewing are done with the push of a button.

Steam wand: This is the part of the machine that creates froth for the milk. It takes the form of an external pipe where steam pressure is released by the switching on and off of a knob.

Tamping: Tamping is the method by which coffee is pressed down or compacted in preparation for an espresso shot. Some machines require lighter tamping pressure than others.

Tamper: A tamper is a device that is used to press the coffee down in order to prepare for the tamping process.

Water filter. These come pre supplied with some coffee machines. Some filters can be quite basic, consisting of not much more than some mesh or mesh filter that the water must flow through before accessing the boiler. However others can be more complex, removing such impurities as chlorine from the water.

Water level gauge: The water gauge is normally found on the side of the tank. A marker will show you when you are in need of a refill.



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