H

  • Hacienda – Sometimes the term Hacienda is used to imply an Estate, which would mean the farm has it’s own wet-mill. A Finca (farm) does not necessarily have a mill. Finca is not a coffee-specific term.
  • Hand Sorting – Practiced around the world, with both wet processed and dry processed coffees, hand sorting is generally the final step in the preparation of specialty coffees. Whether on conveyor belts or tables, the work of hand sorting is usually done by women at the mill just before coffee is bagged and labeled for export. Hand sorting removes any defective (small, broken, or discolored) that were not caught by the optical color sorter (if it was used). In the most sophisticated and the most basic coffee processing alike, hand sorting is crucial for controlling the quality of the cup.
  • Hard – Brazilian coffee grading has a different logic than much grading in the rest of the coffee world. Terms like “hard” and “soft” describe the flavor, not the bean itself. So “hard” refers to a harsh, astringent mouth feel, “soft” is mild and fine. Note that hard in terms of bean density signifies quality and has nothing to do with hard flavors in the cup, such as SHB grade coffee – Strictly Hard Bean – from Central America.
  • Hawaii – Ah, Hawaii… what a nice place. They grow nuts, fruit, and coffee. The coffee is expensive. It is mild (sometimes too mild) or it can be wonderful! It can be terrible and flat. The best coffees cost a lot …the worst cost way too much. So the goal with Hawaiians is to quit thinking that all Hawaiian coffee is good, and to realize that only a handful of coffees deserve the high price in terms of cup quality (you can easily argue that all deserve a high price in terms of the care and labor expended in producing them). And frankly, you must pay quite a bit for the truly great small-farm Kona. Ka’u coffee – Ka’u is the district of the big island of Hawaii just south of Kona. It does not have the clarity and sweetness of Kona – but it is an interesting cup.
  • Hectares – We use this metric term often to discuss the size of coffee farms. The hectare is a unit of area, defined as being 10000 square metres, is primarily used in the measurement of land. 1 Hectare = 10000 Square Meters = 2.471 acres
  • Herbal – A flavor descriptor in coffee reminiscent of herbs, usually meaning aromatic, savory, leafy dried herbs. Usually, more specific descriptions are given, whether is is a floral herb, or sage-like, etc. In reality, there are very different herbal notes, from grassy types, to dried vegetal, to floral, to green. It could hint at rustic qualities, it could indicate an unclean cup flavor, or it could also be a clean and refined cup quality. So it is important to look at the context the term is used within.
  • Hibrido – Hibrido means “Hybrid” in latin languages, and in Central America is used to mean Bourbon cultivar.
  • Hibrido De Timor – Hibrido de Timor is a cross between Robusta and Timor Arabica, abbreviated HdT. It was a source plant for Catimor cultivar, and has excellent resistance to the widespread fungal problem, Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR). In Indonesia it is sometimes called TimTim. It was first collected in East Timor in 1978 planted in Aceh in 1979, and in Flores 1980 where the variety is called Churia.
  • Hidey – This descriptor is somewhat reminiscent of the smell of animal hides, similar to leathery. It is not necessarily considered as a negative attribute but is generally used to describe strong notes. Hidey flavors can be found in Yemeni coffees as part of their rustic qualities, but in a clean coffee such as a Ethiopia wet-process, hidey would certainly be a defect flavor.
  • High Grow – High Grown, or HG, is the highest quality Mexican coffee designation but in Nicaragua it means 2nd quality.
  • Honduras – Honduran coffee has been absent from the top ranks of the Specialty market, but that is all changing. It has all the environmental factors on its side: soil, altitude, climate. All it’s neighbors have sophisticated coffee production: Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. But what is lacking is infrastructure, good coffee processing and transporting, capital and a distinct “name” in the consumer market. This means that even a good quality Honduran does not fetch a good price (and in fact many from Copan and Santa Barbara districts are smuggled into Guatemala and sold as such). Without a premium price for quality, the incentive for the farmer, the mill and the exporter have no incentive to incur the added expense that would realize the coffee’s potential. So Honduran coffee ends up as a good mild blender, and not as a single-origin or farm-specific coffee.
  • Honey – In coffee, honey-like sweetness is often found, but we use terms such as refined honey (highly filtered and processed) as opposed to raw honey rustic honey sweetness. This form of sweetness is largely a dynamic of roast levels and roast profiles as well.
    Honey (or its French translation “Miel”) can also refer to a pulp natural coffee.
  • Hulling – Hulling is the step at the dry mill where the green coffee bean is removed from the parchment shell. (See Wet Hulled for the Indonesia method).