Green Coffee Beans in Burlap Sacks

Maybe you’re at a party and one of your know-it-all friends is improperly throwing around coffee jargon. Maybe you’re looking to buy a bag of beans from your local roaster but have zero idea what half of the label means. Whatever the reason, whether you’re a coffee expert or novice, there’s a ton of coffee vocabulary out there to learn. Here’s our list of common coffee farming terms you should know:


Roasted Coffee Beans in Jar

Single Lot 

  • When coffee comes from one plot of land.

Single Origin

  • When coffee is sourced from a single place.

Green Coffee

  • Unroasted coffee beans. When a coffee bean has been washed, dried and milled.

Coffee cherry

  • The iconic bean you think of when someone says coffee is actually a seed within a fruit. The fruit is called the coffee cherry that contains skin, pulp and parchment. In order to get to the bean, farmers use a variety of methods.

Wet Process/Wet Method/ Washed Coffee

  • Coffee cherries are placed in water to test for defective fruits. If the cherries float, they are taken out of the batch. The ripe cherries are then pressed against a sieve like surface that only lets the cherry seeds and some stubborn pulp attached to the seed to pass through. The beans are then kept in a fermentation tank until the pulp loosens and is washed away with water. The final step is drying the seeds either in the sun or via machine drying.

Dry Process/Unwashed

  • Cherries are dried via sun in naturally hot and dry climates like Brazil and Ethiopia. They are raked over their two week drying period to prevent mildew. Once the skin and pulp are dried, they are separated from the seed. This process produces a less acidic coffee than the wet process.

Semi Dry Process

  • The cherry bulk of the pulp is removed like the wet process, however the final stubborn bits are dried off instead of using fermentation. Once dry, the beans still need to be separated from their parchment.

Stay tuned for future posts where we’ll dive into coffee vocabulary for espresso and drip coffee!