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The Complete Home Brew Coffee Glossary

Walk the walk, and talk the talk.

by Maciej Kasperowicz | January 21, 2020

In order to help you make the coffee brewed in your kitchen every bit as delicious as that you might get at a shop, we’ve written a fair amount of articles on the topic of home brewing.

While those tend to go deep on one particular topic, we also figured it might be nice to put out a simple glossary of terms you might encounter both in those articles and in the home coffee world in general. Happy brewing!

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A coffee brewing method in which a machine pours water over coffee grounds and it drips through into a vessel; like a pour over but with a machine pouring instead of a human.

Blade Grinder

A coffee grinder that uses a spinning blade (like a blender), with the amount of time spent grinding determining grind size.


The escape of gasses from coffee grounds when they first come in contact with hot water; all those big bubbles at the beginning of your brew.


The textural qualities of the coffee; how it feels to drink it.

Brew Ratio

How much water compared to coffee you use, where both are measured by weight (eg. if you’re using 400 g of water and 25 g of coffee, the ratio is 16:1). Brew ratio goes a long way towards determining strength.

Burr Grinder

A coffee grinder that uses flat or conical sharp disks, with the distance between them determining grind size.

Contact Time

The amount of time the coffee grounds are touching the water, longer contact times result in more extraction.


The escape of gasses from coffee beans between roasting and brewing.


How much coffee grounds you’re going to use (usually measured in grams or ounces).


The process of getting compounds out of the coffee grounds and into a tasty brown liquid called coffee. In many ways, a synonym for brewing.


Any medium that separates the grinds from the finished coffee. The most common filter types are paper, which strain out the oils and fine particles and metal, which do not.


A type of kettle with a thin spout that starts at the bottom of the kettle and curves upward. The thin stream it creates makes accurate pouring easier, especially while making pour overs.

Grind Size

The average size of your coffee grounds. Bigger, or coarser, coffee grounds extract slower. Smaller, or finer, coffee grounds extract faster.


Getting too many compounds out of the coffee grounds, often resulting in bitter flavors.

Pour Over

A coffee brewing method in which you manually pour water over coffee grounds and it drips through into a vessel. Popular pour overs include the Chemex, Kalita Wave, Melitta Cone, and Hario V60.

Pour Pattern

The particular way you pour your water over the coffee grounds. 


1 Because different coffees have different densities, a scale is the best way to measure coffee. We also love them for measuring water because a) even water is hard to eyeball accurately and b) it’s hard to tell how much water you’ve already poured without a scale, making pour overs hard to brew.

2 Naturally occurring limestone deposits in water that can build up in your home brewer. A good reason to clean your brewer every once in a while.

S trength

The concentration of your finished coffee. It’s most closely related to brew ratio.


Getting too few flavor compounds out of the coffee grounds, often resulting in sour flavors.