E

  • E61 – A classic espresso group-head design, originally invented by Faema and used on a variety of machines. The E61 is easily identified by its pre-infusion chamber located just behind the portafilter and by its small external lever used for activating the brew cycle.
  • Earthy – Sumatra coffees can have a positive earthy flavor, sometimes described as “wet earth” or “humus” or “forest” flavors. But Earthy is a flavor term with some ambivalence, used positively in some cases, negatively in others. Usually, if we use the term dirty, groundy or swampy, we are implying a negative earth flavor, but earthy itself in Indonesia coffees is a positive assertion. Earthy in a Central America wet-process coffee is NOT a positive term though, since it is out of character, and does not fit the flavor profile
  • Ecuador – Coffee has a long history in Ecuador: it was introduced in the early 19th century and became its main export in the early 20th century. But coffee from Ecuador has never been included in the list of Specialty Coffee origins, mostly because of poor harvesting and processing practices. As other Ecuadorian exports (banana, oil, shrimp) exceeded coffee in export importance, hope that the quality of the coffee would improved became less. They managed to continue to ship low grade arabica and robusta coffees, finding a market among the istitutional and commecial roasters of the U.S. and Europe who are more concerned with price than cup quality. But coffee employed about 15% of the rural population.
  • Effervescent – While coffee is not a carbonated beverage, at times a combination of factors (brightness/acidity with a light mouthfeel) can make the coffee dance on the palate. I use the term effervescent to describe this light and lively sensation.
  • El Salvador – El Salvador coffee had an undeservingly poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality in an unstable political climate. Unfortunately, agriculture is the first to suffer in revolution, since it requires years to rebuild a farm if it is neglected. In El Salvador the coffee trade, like the government in general, was controlled by a ruling elite … a handful of wealthy families that operated many farms. El Salvador had tended towards the right politically, and the smaller coffee farmer and coffee workers fared poorly in this climate.
    Available are incredible small coffee farmer offerings. Colleagues have purchased the following and these are their findings ‘Salvadors –drop dead quality, great acidity, refinement and depth. Last year it was the incredible Organic Los Naranjos. Then we had the Santa Ritas and Salaverrias. Good stuff. Then the real bombshell coffee: the Cup of Excellence lot from the San Francisco farm. After that, our Organic Santa Adelaida lots, and our Pacamara Cup of Excellence coffees. This truly represents the pinnacle of high grown Salvadors’.
  • Emulsion – In coffee, “emulsion” typically refers to the suspension of coffee oils in water. While brewed coffee is primarily an extraction, espresso is both an extraction and an emulsion because it occurs under pressure.
  • Endothermic – A term applied to chemical reactions, referring to a reaction that absorbs heat. Most parts of the coffee roasting process are endothermic.
  • Environment Temperature – The temperature of the roasting environment determines the specific types of chemical reactions that occur. There is a window of temperatures that produce favorable reactions for the ideal cup characteristics. Temperature values outside of this window have a negative effect on quintessential cup quality. Even within the window values, different temperatures will change the character of the cup, giving the roaster the latitude to develop a personality or style desired, or to tame the rough signature of certain coffees while still optimizing relative quality. System Energy: At any given environment temperature, the amount of energy (BTU) and the roasting system’s transfer efficiency will determine the rate at which the specific chemistry will occur. Higher levels of both energy and transfer efficiency will cause the reactions to progress more quickly. There is a window of reaction rates that will optimize cup quality. This is called the Best Reaction Ratio
  • Erpsig – Erpsig is German for pea-like; cooked bean, pea, or lentil sensation. It is called Peasy, but related to earthy, mushroom, groundy defect flavors, not to leguminous flavors.
  • Espresso – In its most stripped-down, basic form, this is a working definition for espresso: A small coffee beverage, about 20 ml, prepared on an espresso machine where pressurized hot water extracted through compressed coffee. A smaller version where extraction is restricted is called a Ristretto
  • Espresso Standard Blends – When we maintain an Espresso Standard blend, like Espresso Monkey Blend, we have to find new lots to maintain the flavors of the blend as the coffee crops change. That can be a tough job, to optimize the blend and, at the same time, to maintain the “spirit of the blend” … its original intent. There will be shifts in the blend, inevitably.
  • Estate – A “coffee estate” is used to imply a farm that has it’s own processing facility, a wet-mill. In Spanish this is called an Hacienda. A Finca (farm) does not necessarily have a mill. (And Finca is not a coffee-specific term). In a strict sense an Estate would have both a wet mill and dry mill, meaning they prepare coffee from the tree all the way to ready-to-export green coffee in jute bags. Estate coffee is not necessarily better than any other type, except that they have the possibility of controlling quality all through the process.
  • Esters – An ester is an often fragrant organic or partially organic compound formed by the reaction between an acid (including amino acids) and an alcohol. They play a smaller role in coffee aromatics than Ketones and Aldehydes, but can be distinct fruit flavor contributors.
  • Ethiopia – Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that coffee arabica grew wild. Coffee is “Bun” or “Buna” in Ethiopia, so Coffee Bean is quite possibly a poor anglicized interpretation of “Kaffa Bun”. Coffea Arabica was also found in the Harar region quite early, either brought from the Kaffa forests or found closer by. It is entirely possible that slaves taken from the forests chewed coffee berry and spread it into the Harar region, through which the Muslim slave trade route passed.
    Ethiopian coffees are available from some regions as dry-processed, from some regions as washed, and from Sidamo as both! The difference between the cup profiles of the natural dry-processed vs. the washed is profound. Washed Sidamo, Yirgacheffee and Limmu have lighter body and less earthy / wild tastes in the cup as their dry-processed kinfolk.
  • Ethyl Acetate – A chemical decaffeination process, but one using a mild type with low toxicity. It sometimes imparts fruity flavors to the coffee. This is a “direct contact method” of decaffeination since the solvent chemical that washes out the caffeine comes into contact with the coffee. Since Ethyl Acetate can be naturally derived from fruits and vegetables, it is considered benign.
  • European Preparation – European Preparation indicates that additional hand sorting has been performed on the coffee at the mill after optical sorting. The terms is used in central and south America. I suppose it originated because certain European buyers required the extra sorting, and this then became a standard and a selling point. “Hmm, those Europeans know their coffee, I’ll get the preparation they like.” What is funny is that the absence of the term does not mean that hand sorting is lacking, since many many coffees have high levels of hand sorting but there is no indication of that in the name. European prep does not necessarily mean the cup is better or worse than a coffee without this term applied.
  • Excelsa – Coffea Excelsa is a distinct Species in the Genus Coffea, and has Robusta-like form. It can be confused with Robusta and Liberica because of it’s form, and robusta-like cup. Not to be confused with the Colombian coffee grade Excelso, which is unrelated. The correct scientific name is Coffea Dewertii.
  • Excelso – A Colombian coffee grade referring to screen size of 15-16. In the traditional bulk Arabica business, Excelso is a step below the large bean Supremo grade, which indicates screen size 17-18.
  • Exothermic – A term applied to chemical reactions, referring to a reaction that releases energy. A classic example is burning. Most parts of the coffee roasting process are endothermic, but first crack is exothermic.
  • Extraction – Refers to the process of infusing coffee with hot water. Hot water releases or “extracts” the flavor from the roasted, ground coffee.