Terminology at its “best”

I woke up this morning to a text from my brother.

Him: “Does this make sense to describe coffee this way?”


Me: “Juicy is a new buzz word people are using to describe notes that are like berry, it refers to texture usually. i have used it. Complex means nothing lololol thats like saying light or dark there are so many variables its nondescript. Kenya coffees are really tricky there are some interesting socio economic things tied to their exporting. To promote fairness with smaller farms they strip all farms, famous and not, of their name and give them a lot number. Unless importers want to take the time to cup and test every lot for auction during a certain time, and good stores do, most get frustrated and just pick so its like 2 buck chuck theres a lot of good and bad. I doubt that stuff is good, good African coffee comes in micro lots. That’s iritating they use that word.”

Him: “Nice thanks”

As if promoting words like “bold” wasn’t enough. Some semi-knowledgable “hip” barista from SB probably went to a good shop and saw them use the word “juicy” to describe coffee, went to his boss, told HQ, and they started thinking about it. No, maybe some corporate guys went out to a renowned store, started writing down all the cupping notes they used, found one that would be easy for their baristas to explain, and sent out a memo. I don’t know, don’t care. If this is a good lot, I am stoked for them and glad they are making a good attempt into artisan coffee.

“Juicy” is a pretty good descriptor I have seen tons of stores use. Great way to describe the sensation of coffee rather than straight flavor. SB roasts their coffee so dark and in such massive quantities that unless this is a special sourced or micro-roasted line, I highly doubt that it is anywhere near. Furthermore, what the h**l is “complex”? Seriously, that means absolutely nothing. So it has multiple flavors? Varying layers of flavor? Hints of this and that? Hard to look at? Is it complicated and hard to use like MS-DOS? There needs to be further description, a deeper explanation and analysis of what exactly is “complex” about the flavors, aromas, mouth feel, etc. Leaving it at complex means close to nothing. Dark v. Light, Complex, these are so sloppy and static. Discuss.

I am noticing more and more that places like SB, Pete’s, and smaller shops are jumping on the 3rd wave band wagon and using terminology or carrying good products. Just last week I went into Pete’s and saw they are carrying Hario equipment. Good for them, smart move, and great for Hario they deserve it. But terminology, it just feels like they are trying hard to create a false image, one they could never fully embody, but one that will detract from good business (if you are interested, look at my Crema article for a deeper explanation). Good luck with that.

Good job little bro-der, glad you are asking questions.


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