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Analytics & Measurements

Green Coffee Glossary
View All Green Coffee Glossaries.

B

British Grading System

Using letters A, B, C, and T to grade coffee based on size and quality is a hallmark of origins that were once colonized by the British Empire such as India, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Papua New Guinea.

D

Density

A measurement of the amount of coffee that can fit in a given 3-dimensional space, mathematically expressed as mass divided by volume.

Displacement Density

A way to measure density, by the amount of liquid displaced by the coffee. The coffee’s dry mass is divided by the volume change observed in the water into which it is placed.

E

European Prep (EP)

Central American coffees may use the term EP to indicate screen size (15-18), in addition to SHB or SHG to refer to the highest grade of coffee based solely on elevation.

Excelso

A physical coffee grading term used in Colombia. Excelso coffee beans are smaller than Supremo coffee beans. Unlike Supremo, Excelso screen sizes may vary slightly depending on their destination. For the US market, they include sizes 14-16.

F

Free Settled / Bulk Density

A way to measure density. In this case, a coffee’s volume is measured by filling an empty container. The coffee’s mass is divided by the volume it fills.

M

Moisture Content

The quantity of water contained in the coffee bean, commonly measured as percentage of mass.

S

Screen Size

Screen size traditionally has been measured by passing coffee through circular holes. These holes are typically measured in increments of 1/64 of an inch in diameter, so a coffee measuring screen size 16 means the coffee is 16/64” – or a quarter of an inch – across. Most screen size measurement fall between 12 and 20.

Strictly High Grown (SHG) / Strictly Hard Bean (SHB)

This refers to the highest grade of coffee based solely on elevation.

Strictly Soft (SS)

The highest sensory grade of coffee in Brazil unrelated to Strictly Hard Beans (SHB). Instead it refers to the absence of defective “hard” cups.

Supremo

A physical coffee grading term used in Colombia. Supremo coffee beans are larger than Excelso beans and are sized 17-18.

W

Water Activity

A measurement of vapor pressure or “water energy,” primarily used to predict susceptibility to microbial infection. It may also help indicate the shelf-stability of a coffee, and to a lesser degree, the ability to predict the potential rate of changes related to browning reactions like caramelization and Maillard reactions.