To coffee lovers, Seattle is something of a mecca. Home to Starbucks, Peet’s, CaffeVita, Victrola, and a host of other specialty coffee companies, it’s been a coffee destination for decades. If you’re roaming about the city, it’s impossible to walk more than a couple of blocks without bumping into an espresso bar, coffee cart, or specialty shop. Prepare yourself for a visit with a little bit of trending coffee vocabulary—you’ll sound like an aficionado.
Coffee roasters and connoisseurs alike often partake in coffee cupping. This is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. Roasters and coffee professionals do this to determine the quality of the coffee they intend to sell. In Seattle, it’s popular for specialty coffee shops to host coffee cuppings to allow their consumers the opportunity to connect with the coffee they’re drinking, and with the people who are sourcing, roasting, and brewing it.
These two phrases are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually different drinks. Unlike regular coffee, cold brew isn’t exposed to heat. It’s steeped, over time—usually 16-24 hours—in room temperature water. Iced coffee is simply hot coffee that has been cooled enough so that ice can be added to it. Cold brew is known to taste less acidic, and slightly smoother than iced coffee, while iced coffee preserves the coffee beans’ naturally occurring, complex flavors.
Single-origin coffee is coffee grown within a single known geographic region, rather than a blend of beans from various places. A single-origin coffee celebrates the individuality of a particular region, and allows the unique characteristics of its particular terroir to shine through. Coffee professionals and consumers are drawn to these coffees because they allow deeper connections to a specific time, people, and place.
Also referred to as a “manual,” a pour-over is a method of brewing coffee by hand. Water is poured over coffee grounds, seeping through a filter, and dripping into a vessel below. Enthusiasts of this brew method will tell you that it yields an extra “clean” cup of coffee—highlighting the beans’ natural flavors, and complexities.