Glossary beginning with U

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.



Umami is a Japanese word meaning savory, a "deliciousness" factor deriving specifically from detection of the natural amino acid, glutamic acid, or glutamates common in meats, cheese, broth, stock, and other protein-heavy foods. The action of umami receptors explains why foods treated with monosodium glutamate (MSG) often taste "heartier". In coffee, savory relates to specific brothy, food-like character and can conflict with other basic flavors such as sweet, but is not undesirable. It can be found in Indonesia coffees, but has appeared favorably in Colombias we have stocked as well.


A general negative description of dirty or hard flavors in a coffee that should have none. These are flavors without positive qualities, that distract from the cup. Also simply called "off"


Under-developed refers to roast problems, usually too-light roasts. If a coffee is not roasted until the reactions responsible for the audible First Crack are completed, there will be astringent and un-sweet flavors (high trigonelline levels) and a grainy roast taste.


USDA is The United States Department of Agriculture, that inspects coffee shipments and sets guidelines for importation. It is also an Indonesian cultivar of Ethiopian heritage that was part of varietal tests in the 1950's.