Fun Basics: Coffee Jargon Explained

Thursday, 25 February, 2021

Something fun for the initiates into this crazy world of coffee. To be taken with a hefty pinch of salt...



What you think it is :)   
A handy weapon to clonk anyone over the head with, who might happen to want something from you before you’ve made your first coffee of the day.

What it actually is!  
It’s a portable filter! The instrument that take the coffee grinds from the grinder to the espresso machine and through which the coffee is filtered! A single spout portafilter has one spout and a shallow basket for one shot of espresso and a double spout portafilter has two spouts and a deeper basket, enough for two shots of espresso aka a “double espresso”. 

The classic, single-spout portafilter.

Naked filter

What you think it is :) 

A more risqué version of the above, possibly used for the same reason, especially when you’re making coffee in the nude, and someone might happen to want something from you before you’ve made your first coffee of the day.

What it actually is! 

It’s a portafilter without the spout on! Commonly used to show-off how a beautifully pulled espresso fills all the areas of basket before dripping through honey-like into the cup. Bellissimo!

Naked portafilter. Yum!

Blind filter

What you think it is :)  

When you’ve used the above weapon to clonk someone over the head (like your spouse for example), you’re still nude, haven’t had coffee yet and only then realise that your in-laws stayed over and that your mother-in-law has been sitting in the kitchen watching you this whole time. Blind bru! (Leave no witnesses!)

What it actually is!   
This basket without any holes in it used for putting detergent in and backflushing the espresso machine. You fit it into the portafilter in place of the filter basket to achieve a healthy and happy espresso machine!  

Blind filter. Don't forget to put your regular filter basket back in!


What you think it is :) 

When you’ve used the blind filter to backflush and forgot to change it back and then the next morning wonder why your shot is taken so long to pull. A real blonding moment.  

What it actually is!  
Blonding describes the color change of an espresso shot being pulled as it changes from dark brown to more of a tiger-striping and then a very light, uniform-colored pale blond at the end of the pull, signaling the right time to end the extraction.

Blonding shows when to stop the shot (or perhaps that next time you stop a few seconds earlier! That shot is done!)


What you think it is :) 

After clonking someone over the head (you might have killed your spouse) and then removing all witnesses (mother-in-law) you may be thinking about grounds. Grounds for divorce, grounds for litigation, grounds for arrest.  

What it actually is!  
Grounds are the finely ground coffee particles that go into the portafilter from the grinder. What was once coffee beans,  is now coffee grounds. They are still called grounds after they have been disposed of into the knock box.

Coffee rounds going in, puck coming out!


What you think it is :)

After being arrested by the police for assault with a coffee weapon and on charges of getting rid of Granny,  the Cops will most likely throw you into the Knock-Box. Bad things happen in jail….like the inmates only get instant coffee.

What it actually is!  
It's the place you knock the used grounds into. These grounds are now known as a “Puck” because it looks like an ice-hockey puck. If you've pulled the shot right, the puck stays in one piece even after being indelicately knocked into a box.



What you think it is :)   

Some people mistakenly call espresso “expresso”, which is actually not a term at all, but when you’re standing in front of the judge pleading your innocence for assault and kidnapping, you might need a lawyer to expresso your side of the story and get you out of the knock box and back home. 

What it actually is!  

A bad word for a good thing. If you hear someone say “expresso” you are allowed to gently correct them by saying the well known coffee phrase “There’s no x in espresso!” Then clonk them over the head with a portafilter.

Former SA Champ Craig Charity...says it how it is!

Tiger striping

What you think it is :) 

After celebrating your release from jail, you might go on a bender with you mates to celebrate your freedom, like the guys in the Hangover did. If you find an albino tiger in your house the next day, you might want to paint some stripes on him to make him look like a normal, well adjusted tiger. This is not recommended and highly dangerous, unless you’ve had 3 double espressos.

What it actually is! 

An extremely well pulled shot of espresso has distinct lines in the creama which indicates the rich texture and colours of a magnificently pulled shot.    

There's a tiger in the kitchen!

"Tiger striping" shows the beautiful texture and viscosity of a well pulled shot of espresso.

*No Tigers, Grannys, Mothers-in-law or Spouses were harmed in the making of this article.

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