When we decided to take on a second edition of our Café Encyclopedia, we knew it would be a tedious challenge: producing a printed resource guide in a digital age is a bit absurd—a sentiment acknowledged in 2012 when we debuted our first edition. But as we also acknowledged, internet discussion boards and blogs are prone to error, leading to misunderstanding and confusion. A printed guide benefits from thorough research, referencing, and fact-checking, along with added points for style (shout-out to our amazing art director, Cynthia Meadors).
This edition features an updated list of terms to reflect industry growth (e.g. all things related to manual brewing) as well as an array of columns, illustrations, and tables to zoom in on topics foundational to coffee and tea. We looked to books, trusted websites, magazine articles, research studies, and our network of industry peers to help us compile and fact-check the terms and information found within.
In developing this issue, we aimed to reach a consensus for definitions, but frequently encountered dissenting opinions. This reflects the relative youth of our industries: Compared to other agricultural industries, tea and coffee are very young in research-based practice standards. We don’t all agree on definitions because there are many pathways to success when it comes to processing, roasting, and brewing. Every piece of equipment will perform best under a slightly different set of conditions, and every professional will find success in a slightly different set of processes.
This encyclopedia is not meant to be the end point for all coffee- or tea-related queries. Rather, the Café Encyclopedia is meant to serve as a reliable and comprehensive quick-reference guide that answers a question in the most basic terms, then points to recommended resources for in-depth understanding.
So, take this guide as a starting point. Let it inspire discussion, exploration, and learning. Mark it up, keep it in your training lab, share it with a friend. We’ll return to our regular format next month. In the meantime, we hope you seize the opportunity to learn something new.
—Ellie Bradley is Fresh Cup’s editor.