Glossary beginning with D

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Decaffeinated Coffee

Coffee from which caffeine has been removed, either chemically or using water filtration. A variety of methods for decaffeination exist, but all operate on the same basic principle: coffee is soaked in a liquid (water or pressurized carbon dioxide) bath and the caffeine is extracted from the liquid. See SWP, CO2 process, Ethyl Acetate.Decaffeinated beans have a much darker appearance and give off little chaff when roasting. Decafs will roast differently than regular coffees because of their altered state; in most roasting methods, they will roast faster than regular beans.

Deep Roasted

Coffee that turns from green to brown under the watchful, loving supervision of a "roast master" is called "Deep Roasted Coffee". Only a craftsperson with years of experience can truly "deep roast" a coffee.


In coffee, a defect refers to specific preparation problems with the green coffee, or a flavor problem found in the cupping process. Bad seeds in the green coffee sample are termed defects, and scored against the coffee to determine it's grade. Also, defect flavors are those found in cupping the coffee, and described by a host of unfavorable terms, such as Skunky, Dirty, Cappy, Soapy, Animal-like, Sour, etc. Roast problems can produce defect flavors, as well as poor sorting or preparation of the coffee, mistakes in transportation and storage, problems at the wet mill, bad picking of the fruit or problems going back to the tree itself.


Degassing, or resting refers to the step after home roasting a batch; coffee brewed immediately has so much C0-2 coming off it that it prevents good extraction or infusion of water. Time is often needed to allow the coffee to off-gas. Also, certain characteristics are not developed immediately after roasting, such as body. A rest of 12-24 hours is recommended, or up to 3-5 days for some espresso coffees.

Degree Of Roast

Degree of Roast simply means the roast level of a coffee, how dark it has been roasted. The longer a coffee is exposed to a constant heated environment, the darker it roasts. One part of roasting consistency is to match degree-of-roast from batch to batch, if that is desired. The second is to match the Roast Profile (AKA Roast Curve), the time-temperature relationship that was applied to the roast.


Mucilage is the fruity layer of the coffee cherry, between the outer skin and the parchment layer that surrounds the seed. In the traditional wet-process method, the mucilage is broken down by fermentation and then washed off. A forced demucilage machine does this with water and friction, such as a Penagos or Pinhalense Demucilager. The early machines were called "Aqua-pulpers" but they damaged the coffee, resulting in fruity or fermenty flavors.


The density of a coffee bean is often taken as a sign of quality, as a more dense bean will roast more evenly. The higher a coffee is grown, the more dense it is likely to be. Coffee is sorted at origin by density, with the most dense beans graded as specialty coffee.

Density Sorting

Density sorting is a step at the dry mill where coffee is run across a density table. Tilted at an angle, the table vibrates and dense coffee beans travel to the TOP or the highest side of the table, whereas less dense seeds go to the LOWER angle of the table. Less dense seeds are either outright defects, or tend to have poor cup character because they are damaged, or under-developed. The density table is often called an Oliver table, and there are inferior air-based sorters as well.


A Department is the term used in many Latin American countries for a State. For example, Huila Department is the state in the South of the country where much coffee is grown


The process of removing harmful scale buildup from a boiler. Descaling is usually accomplished by adding a commercial descaling product or citric acid to water and running this solution through a machine. Espresso machines and brewers should be descaled regularly (with the frequency depending on the hardness of water used) to maintain optimal functionality.

Direct Trade

A term used by coffee sellers to indicate that the coffee was purchased through a direct relationship with the farmer. Unlike Fair Trade and Organic certifications, Direct Trade is not an official, third-party certification.Our Direct Trade coffees are marked as "Farm Gate."

Dirty Cup

Dirty cup is a general term implying some form of taint, usually an earthy defect, but also a mixed defect of ferment, hardness, dirt, moldy flavors etc.


A doser is a mechanism, usually attached to the front of a burr grinder, for putting coffee into an espresso portafilter basket. Ground coffee sits in the doser and is pushed out and into the portafilter by the pull of a lever. Dosers are designed to push out the same amount of coffee (typically 6-7 grams) every time the lever is pulled, but, in practice, this feature only works is the doser if full of grounds, which is unlikely to happen in the case of a home user.


A grinder that ejects its grounds directly through a chute, rather than into a doser.

Drum Roaster

A roaster with a rotating drum that provides agitation to the beans, while a heating element (typically either electric or gas) provides heat. The metal drum conducts heat to the beans, so drum roasters heat beans both by convection and conduction.Drum roasters typically roast more slowly than air roasters, and impart a more rounded, less bright flavor profile.

Dry Fragrance

In the cupping procedure for tasting and scoring coffee, this is the smell of the dry, ground coffee before hot water is added. The term fragrance is used since it is normally applied to things we smell but do not consume (perfume, for example), whereas aroma is usually applied to foods and beverages.

Dry Mill

A facility that accepts dried coffee cherry and mechanically separates the coffee bean from the dried fruit and parchment layer. The facility can be highly mechanized, as in Ethiopia, or very simple, as in Yemen.

Dry Process

Dry process is a method to transform coffee from the fruit of the coffee tree to the green coffee bean, ready for export. Dry processing is the original method, and the wet process was devised later (as well as the very recent pulp natural process). It is a simple method, using less machinery and more hand labor, and has been a tradition in some growing origins for centuries. It risks tainting the coffee with defect flavors due to poor handling, drying, or ineffective hand-sorting. In dry processing the fruit is picked from the tree and dried directly in the sun or on raised screens, without peeling the skin, or any water-based sorting or fermenting. The dried coffee turns to a hard, dark brown pod, and the green seed is torn out from the skin and parchment layers in one step, or pounded out by hand. Because there is no chance to skim off floating defects, or removed under-ripes as with the wet process, most defects must be removed visually, by hand. Dry process coffees generally have more body and lower acidity than their wet process counterparts, with more rustic flavors due to the long contact between the drying fruit and the seed. They also can have more defects, taints, and lack of uniformity both in the roast and in cupping. A dry process coffee is sometimes referred to as natural coffee, full natural, or traditional dry process, or abbreviated DP.

Drying Coffee

In both dry-process and wet-process (and the other hybrid processes like pulp natural and forced demucilage) the coffee must always be dried before processing. In dry process you simply pick the coffee cherry fruit from the tree and lay it out in the sun to dry. In wet process you pulp the seed out of the fruit skin, ferment it to break down the fruity mucilage, wash it, and then dry it. Drying on raised beds is usually preferable by buyers like us, rather than on the ground or in a drying machine (a Guardiola).