Coffee Terms – F


FAIRDATA – A database of suppliers maintained by the European Fair Trade Association.

FAIRT TRADE COFFEE / FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION (FairTrade Coffee; FairTrade Certification; Fairtrade Mark; Fair Trade Mark; Fair Trade Coffee Certification; Trade Fair Coffee; Fair Coffee Trade; Fair Trade Certified; Fair Trade Coffee Certification; Trade Fair Coffee; Fair Coffee Trade; Fair Trade Certified Coffee) – See Fair Trade Coffee.

FAIR TRADE FEDERATION (FTF) – See Organic and Fair Trade Organizations.


FAIR TRADE ORIGINAL – See Organic and Fair Trade Organizations.

FAIR TRADE SHOPS – Shops selling products associated with the Fair Trade movement. See Organic and Fair Trade Organizations.

FAEMA – This company name is an acronym for Fabbrica Apparecchiature Elettromeccaniche e Affini, which was founded by Carlo Ernesto Valente in Italy in 1945. Faema developed the first pump-driven espresso machine (espresso coffee maker) in 1961 and used a mechanical pump to create pressure instead of a piston lever.

During the 1950s, Faema originally produced a type of piston-lever espresso machines (with a horizontal boiler) that was fairly common at the time. Priding itself on technological innovation, Faema’s development an improved espresso machine in 1961 propelled it to the top of the industry and the company became a major producer of espresso machines.

Faema’s 1961 release of the E61 Espresso Machine broke new ground in many aspects of espresso-making. The machine was able to deliver pressurized water through its mechanical pump at just the right pressure, which is about 9 BAR. This new machine made the piston-lever design all but obsolete.

Faemas new E61 espresso machine included several new innovations such as solving the problem of running heated water through a pump by instead running cold water through the pump and then immediately sending it through a heat exchange tube through a steam boiler.

This flash-heated the water, which was then sent through the diffusion block and forced through the tamped coffee grounds to brew the espresso.

Yet another “first” accomplished by the E61 was the machine’s new grouphead kept warm by a thermosyphon circuit that sends water through the grouphead from the boiler.

The E61 solidified Faema’s place as a technological innovator, and within a few years the company was well-established as a leader in the espresso machine market.

In addition, a lever used to activate the grouphead could be partially opened to soak the coffee grounds with hot water – which then provides for a smoother process of extraction when the lever is fully opened and the espresso is brewed (extracted) with the full pressure of the espresso machine.

This new espresso machine design (e.g., the group and heat exchange boiler) quickly led to replica espresso machines being developed for the home espresso machine market, which then began to thrive in North America, Europe, and Australia. See Espresso Brewing.


FEDERATION ARTISANS DU MONDE – See Organic and Fair Trade Organizations.

FEDERATION OF COOPERATIVES OF THE VERAPACES (FEDECOVERA) – See Coffee Associations, Organizations, and Boards.

FERMENTATION – A stage in wet processing of coffee that involves removing the mucilage from the coffee beans by soaking the coffee cherry (fruit) in large water tanks where microorganisms decompose the mucilage.

FERMENTATION TANK – A tank used in the fermentation stage of wet processed (washed) coffees.

FERMENTED – A taste defect occurring during coffee processing which produces a brewed coffee that gives an unpleasant sour sensation on the tongue. This fermented quality is created by enzyme activity in the green coffee beans changing the beans’ sugars to acids during drying.

FIFO (First-In/First-Out) – Refers to the practice of properly rotating coffee stock, making sure that the oldest coffee (which was the first to be put into storage) is the first coffee that is taken out of storage to be brewed.

FILTER BASKET – A metal, perforated, bowl-shaped basket that fits within (inserts into) the portafilter of an espresso machine (espresso maker) and holds the roasted, ground coffee for brewing.

The many holes in the bottom of the filter basket allow the brewed (extracted) espresso to seep through and flow out of the spout into a demitasse or other cup.

Espresso Machines often have both a single and a double basket, or else a convertible basket that will produce either a single shot (solo shot) or a double shot (doppio).

FILTER DRIP COFFEE (Filter-Drip Coffee; Filter/Drip Coffee; Filter Drip Method; Filter-Drip Method; Filter/Drip Method) – A method of brewing coffee that involves pouring hot water over a bed of roasted, ground coffee.

The hot water flows through a bed of ground coffee, extracting the coffee beverage, which then passes through a filter of either paper, cloth, or a metal screen which separates the coffee beverage from the coffee grounds.

The filter drip method is often employed using an automatic drip coffee maker. Water is placed into the machine which then heats the water and drains it onto the roasted, ground coffee.

As the water seeps through the coffee grounds the water absorbs the coffee flavoring materials which give coffee its flavors and aromas. The coffee beverage then drains through a filter (usually a paper filter) and into a coffee pot.

Drip coffee is also commonly made without a machine by simply pouring hot water over the roasted, ground coffee that is placed in a filter. The water then seeps through the ground coffee, absorbing the coffee flavors and aromas. The coffee beverage then passes through the filter into the coffee cup or coffee pot.

The Filter Drip Method is also called Drip Brewing, and Drip Coffee.

FILTER HOLDER – The part of an espresso machine (espresso coffee maker) that holds the filter basket(s) which in turn hold the roasted, finely ground coffee during the brewing of the espresso.

The filter holder, also called the portafilter or groupo, contains one or more likely two spouts (out of which the espresso pours). The filter holder also usually has a handle made out of wood, plastic, or another material that doesn’t easily heat up when the espresso machine heats up.

Most filter holders look like a small cup on the end of a handle – this cup holds the ground coffee which is used to brew one or two shots of espresso. Most filter holders have two spouts so two espresso shots may be brewed simultaneously.

The design of the filter holder is such that it is very easy and relatively quick to attach (e.g., clamp) and detach (e.g., unclamp) the portafilter from the group on the espresso machine.

Filter holders may be constructed from chrome-coated brass or copper (on more expensive models) or aluminum, steel, or other heat-tolerant materials. Also see Pod Portafilter.

FILTERING METHODS – The most common filtering methods for filtering brewed coffee utilize either filter paper, cloth, or a metal screen filter.

FINE – Denotes a nice balance of acidity and body (mouthfeel); characteristic of a premium gourmet coffee. A coffee designated as fine may also may include other good, positive coffee flavor characteristics and taste/aroma sensations.

FINISH – The pleasant, lingering or quick sensation on the palate during and after swallowing brewed coffee – the sensory experience. A coffee’s finish may range from heavy and sweet to crisp and light, sometimes brief and effervescent, and other times long and flat, or perhaps acidic.

A gourmet coffee may “develop in the finish,” changing significantly from the initial flavors in your mouth when you first sip the coffee, transforming from the first impression. If a gourmet coffee has a “clean aftertaste” that is a description of its finish.

In general, the finish is a reflection of the coffee’s body, and indeed the heavier-bodied coffees (e.g., Sumatran) tend to have a much longer finish than traditionally light-bodied coffees (e.g., Mexican) Also see Aftertaste.

FIRST CRACK – This is a stage in the coffee roasting process when the coffee beans visibly expand in size as they crack, crackle, or pop. The first crack usually occurs just several minutes after the roasting begins. Light roasts are roasted only until the first crack.

FIRST-IN/FIRST-OUT (FIFO) – Refers to the practice of properly rotating coffee stock, making sure that the oldest coffee (which was the first to be put into storage) is the first coffee that is taken out of storage to be brewed.

FLAKING – The process of sending roasted, ground coffee in-between two flat rollers which then squeeze the grounds into a flat shape.

FLAT – Denotes a lack of acidity in a coffee, resulting in a dull or boring flavor/aroma. A flat coffee is generally lackluster with a limited range of vapors and gases – volatile organic compounds – which may be all but imperceptible).

The flatness of the coffee is typically created by a staling (oxidation) process occurring after roasting due to improper storage and involves the loss of the coffee beansaromatic compounds.

A flat (one-dimensional) quality may also result from the an extended holding period (e.g., the coffee sitting too long after brewing). Suggestive of cardboard. Also see Stale; Vapid.

FLAVOR – See Coffee Flavor.

FLAVOR COMPOUNDS/FLAVOR COMPONENTS – A coffee’s flavor compounds include both the inorganic as well as the organic materials which, when the roasted and ground coffee is brewed, either dissolve into the liquid or evaporate, adding to the coffee’s aromatic profile.

In both cases the flavor compounds create the coffee’s overall flavor and aroma characteristics.


FLAVORED COFFEES (Flavoured Coffees) – Roasted coffee that has, while in the whole bean stage, been sprayed, dusted, or mixed with flavoring agents (e.g., carrier oils, extracts, powders, etc.) with the goal of adding a particular flavor to the coffee.

The flavored coffee market has grown in recent years and there are now more than one hundred flavors available.

The term flavored coffee may also refer to brewed coffee with syrup added.

FLAVOR OILS – The volatile essence of the coffee bean. Coffee oils develop in the coffee beans during the roasting process. Also called Coffeol; Oil; Coffee Oil; Volatile Oils; Essential Oils.

FLAVOR PROFILE – A coffee’s overall flavor qualities including body, aroma, acidity, sweetness/bitterness, and finish/aftertaste. Also important is whether there are any flavor defects/off-tastes.

FLO – See Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International.

FLORAL – Pleasing aroma/flavor suggestive of the slight fragrance of blossoming flowers such as jasmine, nettles, honeysuckle and dandelion. This floral quality is usually associated with an intense green or fruity aroma, and doesn’t normally exhibit a high intensity on its own.

FLUID BED ROASTER – A type of coffee roasting machine which agitates and roasts the green coffee beans using a column of hot air. Similar to how a popcorn popper works, the Fluid Bed Roaster is also called a Sivetz Roaster after Michael Sivetz who invented it.

FOAM (Foamed Milk) – See Steaming and Frothing Milk; Espresso Drink Recipes.

FOLGERS COFFEE COMPANY – See Coffee Companies.

FOREIGN – Describes a variety of taste faults (e.g., moldy, rubbery) caused by contamination of the coffee beans.

FOUL – Flavor defects that create a rank, fermented taste or other strongly unpleasant tastes such as oniony or hidey.

FRAGILE – A taste or an aroma that is easily broken up and lost (e.g., by other taste or aroma sensations).

FRAGRANCE – The smell created by the coffee’s vapors and gases – the volatile organic compounds – which are released from the coffee beans during grinding and then inhaled as aromatic compounds through the nose, contacting the nasal membrane.

Among cuppers (professional coffee tasters) the term fragrance refers specifically to the smell of the roasted and ground coffee before brewing, while the term aroma refers to the smells emitted by the coffee after brewing. Also see Sniffing.

FRAGRANT – Denotes coffee with a significant aroma, which may be sweetly spicy or sweetly floral.

FRAIJANES PLATEAU – This coffee growing region in Guatemala is located in the mountainous area north of Lake Amatitlan. These mountains surround the Valley of Ermita where Guatemala City is located.

Coffee is grown at elevations from 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet above sea level where the temperature averages about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) all year around with rainfall of about 1,500 mm each year and a relative humidity of about 60%.

The mineral-laden soil of the Fraijanes Plateau, which is high in potassium, has been enriched by the recent ash deposits from the volcanic activity of Volcan de Pacaya. The soil quality is said to produce a cup with an excellent body.

The ideal soil and climate of the Fraijanes Plateau produce premium Strictly Hard Bean grade Guatemala Coffee, which is the highest-rated coffee bean in the Guatemala coffee grading system.

Coffees of the Fraijanes Plateau exhibit a full body and distinct acidity as well as a soft aroma, and are comparable to Guatemala Antigua Coffee. Also see Guatemala Coffee.

FREEZE-DRIED COFFEE (Freeze Dried Coffee) – See Freeze-Dried Coffee.

FRENCH MISSION BOURBON COFFEE – The French Mission Bourbon coffee plants were first cultivated in about 1897 in East Africa by French Missionaries, leading to the French Mission Bourbon coffee plant varietal.

Like Typica, Bourbon produces an excellent brewed coffee known for its smooth and mild flavors (often sweet and nutty) with a light to medium body, low acidity, and a very pleasant aroma.

The Bourbon varietal originated after the French first planted the parent stock in 1708 in Bourbon (now Reunion Island), which is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The coffee plant then underwent a slight mutation, creating the Bourbon varietal.

Bourbon coffee plants grow in a shape less conical than Typica and have more secondary branches, which grow closer together off the main coffee plant stem and at less of an angle than Typica branches. Bourbon coffee plants grow best at elevations between 3,500 and 6,500 feet.

The broad leaves of the Bourbon coffee plant varietal have wavy borders and the fruits (cherry) are very dense compared to many other varietals, and also relatively small. The cherry ripen rather quickly and fall off the plant fairly easily, making the plants vulnerable to wind and weather. Also see Brazil Bourbon Santos Coffee.

FRENCH PRESS – See French Press Coffee

FRENCH ROAST – This dark roast, which is also called Spanish Roast or Heavy Roast, is darker than an American Roast and almost as dark as Espresso Roast.

The color of a French Roast may vary from dark brown to almost black with flavors that range from burned to rich and bittersweet. The stop temperature of a French Roast – a very dark roast – is from 460 to 465 degrees Fahrenheit. Also see Dark Roast; Roasting Coffee.

FRESH/FRESHNESS – Describes a vibrant aroma/fragrance; typical of freshly harvested and roasted premium gourmet coffee. The flavor of a fresh coffee is likely distinct and vivid, with positive characteristics showing through in the taste and aromatic highlights.

These highly pleasing qualities of a fresh coffee are created by the coffee’s volatile organic compounds including sulfur, which evoke a strong sensation when they enter the nasal passage and come into contact with the olfactory membranes.

The retention of a coffee’s taste and aromatic characteristics is affected by the proper packaging as well as how long ago the coffee was roasted and how the coffee was stored.

FRESHCUP – See Coffee Websites.

FROTH/FROTHED MILK – Milk that has been rendered thick, creamy and foamy through a process of steaming/aerating using the steam wand on an espresso machine (espresso maker) for use in preparing an espresso-based specialty coffee drink (espresso drink). See Steaming and Frothing Milk; Foam; Espresso Drink Recipes.

FROTHING KNOB (Froth Knob) – The knob on an espresso machine that is used by the operator (e.g., the barista) to control the amount of steam pressure released from the steaming wand, which is usually used for steaming milk for use in an espressobased specialty coffee drink (espresso drink).

The steam knob controls the steam valve which releases the steam built up in the internal boiler or thermoblock of the espresso machine.

FROTHING MILK/FROTH – See Steaming and Frothing Milk; Espresso Drink Recipes.

FROTHING PITCHER – A stainless steel pitcher that typically holds at least 12 ounces of milk and is used (e.g., by a barista) for steaming/aerating milk to create frothed milk and foam for an espresso-based specialty coffee drink (espresso drink). A frothing pitcher typically has a pour spout. A frothing pitcher is also called a steaming pitcher or milk warming pitcher (milk warmer). Also see Steaming and Frothing Milk; Foam; Espresso Drink Recipes.

FROTHING TIP – The perforated tip at the end of the steam wand. This tip usually has from one to four holes which are either straight or angled. These tiny holes create jets of hot steam that emit into the milk to heat it while also agitating and aerating the milk (injecting air) to create a creamy and velvety, rich-textured steamed milk and high-quality foam that merges with the espresso drink to create a harmony of flavors. Also see Steaming and Frothing Milk; Foam; Espresso Drink Recipes.

FRUIT – See Coffee Cherry.

FRUITY – A coffee flavor characteristic or aromatic sensation suggesting various fruits such as currants, cherries, berries, citrus, etc. This fruity characteristic may be either tangy or sweet and is always accompanied by some degree of acidity.

This fruity characteristic is due to highly volatile aldehydes as well as esters that are present in the aroma of the coffee.

A desirable fruity quality is found in many Arabica premium gourmet coffees, and is usually detected either as a berry-like dry sensation, or as a citrusy, sweet sensation.

Though the fruity characteristic is usually positive (desirable) quality, it may also indicate that the coffee beans have been over-fermented (over-ripened)

FTF – See Fair Trade Federation.

FULL – Denotes a premium gourmet coffee with a strong character that excels in the basic coffee flavor characteristics/taste sensations, body (including mouthfeel), and acidity.

Full is also used as an intensity descriptor of the coffee’s bouquet, or nose reflecting the presence of at least moderately strong volatile organic compounds, the vapors and gases such as sulfur that evoke a strong sensation when they enter enter the nasal passages and contact the olfactory membranes.

FULL-CITY ROAST (Full City Roast) – This light, dark roast is darker than an American Roast though lighter than espresso level roasts such as Espresso Roast, French Roast, or Italian Roast. A Viennese Roast is a Medium-Dark Roast that denotes a stop temperature of about 440 to 445 degrees Fahrenheit.

A Full-City Roast is also called a Viennese Roast, Light French Roast, or Light Espresso Roast. Though a Full-City Roast will be less acidic than an American Roast the darker roast may also mask some of the coffee’s original flavors.

The Full-City Roast is one of the most common roasts for specialty coffees. Also called North Italian Roast, particularly when it is used in espresso blends. Also see Medium-Dark Roast; Roasting Coffee.

FULL ROAST – See Medium-Dark Roast.

FUTURES MARKET – Robusta Futures are handled by the London Futures Exchange while the New York Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange handles Arabica Futures. The Futures Market is the primary marketplace for international Coffee Futures Contracts trading.

FUTURES PRICE – In regards to coffee, the futures price is established on the floor of the futures exchange, and is the price level set for standard quality coffee shipments.

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