Coffee Maker Glossary of Terms UK

If like me you love your coffee, then you may be familiar with many of the popular coffee words. However there are probably some terms you may never have heard of. As some wise people have said coffee has a language all its own.
Just below we have included many of the popular and not so popular coffee words and phrases. By the time you have finished reading this, you will know more about coffee, than many other people.
coffee glossary of terms

Auto Frother

This is a device that automatically froths milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Many coffee machines come with these already built in to them.

You can also buy these as a stand alone device. However, you would normally only see these in coffee bars, cafes and restaurants. 

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

This is a popular choice of coffee machine that automatically heats water and then filters it through the coffee. These types of machine are more popular in the USA, than they are in the UK.

Automatic Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker

Now these are a very popular choice in the UK. These are an espresso machine that feature controllable and programmable coffee dosing. There are many brands and many models of these on the UK market.

Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

These are the high end type of coffee machine. These deliver a fully automated coffee making process. Machines with a bean to cup capability will do everything, from grinding the beans to filling a cup with coffee. They are also typically the most expensive option for a home brewing coffee maker.

Click Here to Read All About the Best Bean to Cup Coffee Makers


In the simplest of terms, this is the steam machine located inside the better types of coffee makers. Machines with larger boilers usually are more powerful and produce more hot water for beverages. The boiler element is the actual electric element that heats the water inside the boiler in electric espresso coffee makers.


This is an Italian espresso based beverage. A cappuccino is made by making an espresso shot. Milk is then "frothed." That is normally done by using the steam wand that is part of any espresso machine. It creates a foam which is approximately twice the volume of the original milk. Some cafes and bars will also sprinkle a chocolate powder on top.

Cappuccino Coffee Makers

Some people refer to espresso machines as cappuccino machines. It is a slight technical difference in that a cappuccino is made from an espresso base. The cappuccino is the made with frothed milk from a wand. So in essence a cappuccino machine is an espresso machine with a steam wand

Cup Warmer

This can refer to one of two things. On filter coffee machines for example this is where the jug can be placed, to help keep the coffee warm. However it can also refer to the metal portion on the top of espresso coffee maker where cups are placed for warming.


This is a technical terms that refers to either the number of grams of coffee per cup, or the amount of brewed coffee per cup.

Drip Tray

This is the place on the coffee machine, where the coffee cup or jug sits for filling. The purpose is to catch any drips coming from a spout and avoid them falling on to your worktop. This of course should be cleaned on a regular basis.


This is a classic Italian black coffee which came along many years before speciality coffees. This is a rich black coffee and is the foundation for many coffees we see today, such as the Americano, Mocha, Latte and hundreds of others.

Filter Basket

This is usually a metal filter where the coffee grounds are placed for brewing. This can be used with or without paper filters to make a delicious brew.

Filtered Method

This brewing method remains popular in the UK. This is a coffee brewing process where a filter is used to separate the coffee from the water.

Click Here to See the Best Filter Coffee Makers

French Press

Also referred to as the plunger pot. A cylindrical coffee maker in which ground coffee is steeped then filtered. Coffee grounds are pushed to the bottom of the pot with the plunger. Coffee stays in the top of the pot.

Click Here to Read All About the Best French Presses

cheap french press

Fully Automatic Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker

Also known as Bean to Cup Coffee Machines. These are coffee makers which automatically manage the brewing process from coffee bean to fresh cup of coffee.

Grind & Grinders

This is the process of preparing coffee beans for coffee brewing. You can buy manual grinders, blade grinders and the better burr grinders, which allow you to grind coffee beans, for your preferred brewing method.

Click Here to Read About Burr Coffee Grinders

Click Here to Read About Blade Coffee Grinders

Click Here to Read About Manual Coffee Grinders

blade coffee grinder


This is the portion of the espresso coffee maker that actually brews coffee.

Group Handle

This is the portion of espresso coffee maker that holds the filter basket that the ground coffee goes into.

Heat Exchanger

This is not on all coffee machines, For those that do have it, this heats the water for coffee without taking water from the boiler.


This is the part of the grinder, or the coffee machine that holds the coffee beans, before they are ground.

Iced Coffee

This is such a popular drink now. These were made popular and trendy by the large coffee store chains.

Find out more about those by clicking here

Knock-out Box

This is a tough container that you can use to knock the used coffee grounds from the group handle.


This is a very popular coffee drink. It is usually made with one quarter coffee (espresso), three quarters of steamed, hot milk with little froth.

Low Acid Coffee

A number of people prefer what is called low acid coffee.

You can read about low acid coffee by clicking here

Milk Frothing Jugs

Many people use these to froth up their milk from the wand on their coffee machines

Click Here to see the Best Milk Frothing Jugs


This is a coffee that is made from espresso, chocolate and milk.

Click Here to see the Best Milk Frothing Jugs

Moka Pot

This is a classic Italian espresso-maker used on top of the stove.


This is  now considered an old fashioned way of making coffee. However, many people love the strong rich taste, myself included. This is basically a coffee maker that continuously runs water through the coffee grounds to make coffee.


These are also referred to as discs or capsules, depending on which brand of pod coffee machine you have. The actual pod is a self-contained, single serving unit of ready to use coffee.

Click Here to Read About Pod Coffee Machines

Pour/Pour Speed/Pour Time

These terms are inter used and they refer to the amount of time required to pour coffee from group into cup. Should be 25 to 30 seconds for a good quality espresso.


This is simply the name of the device that moves water through the coffee maker. It is usually measured in watts of power.


Coffee beans are roasted to give them their flavour and taste. There are many types of roast.

You can read this article about the best roasts for coffee

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker

These are coffee machines that do not have any preset dosing capabilities.

Single Cup Coffee Systems

These are now becoming very popular for people living alone, or a home where perhaps only one person drinks coffee. These machines make coffee directly into a travel cup. It is really handy for those who want a cup of coffee in the morning without paying the big prices at coffee shops.

Click Here to See the Best Single Cup Coffee Systems

Steam Arm/Wand

Two different names for the metal tube that delivers steam to froth milk. You can buy these as a single unit. More commonly they are found n the side of the better quality coffee espresso machines.

Super Automatic Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker

These are the very high end, often commercial coffee machines. They automatically manage the coffee brewing process from coffee bean to fresh cup of coffee. They will also have a range of other features such as a water filter.


A coffee tamper is used to press ground coffee into filter basket. These come in a range of styles and can be either flat or concave.

Click Here to Read About the Best Coffee Tampers

best coffee tamper

Tamping Mats

These are the mats used to tamp coffee. As tampers are quite hard, these help protect the work surface during the tamping process.

Silicone Rubber Coffee Espresso Tamping Mat

Traditional Espresso Coffee Maker

This refers to the majority of coffee makers on the UK market today. Essentially it is any type of coffee machine that is not a bean to cup automated model, a pod model, a filter model, stove top, vacuum or pour over.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

This refers to an unusual method for making coffee. These machines use a vacuum process to make coffee.

Click Here to Read About the Best Vacuum Coffee Makers

Bodum Pebo 8-Cup Vacuum Coffee Maker

Water Filter

These remove and contaminants from your water supply for better tasting coffee.  The water font is the small nozzle used to dispense water from the machine boiler.

Water Softener

If fitted this helps filter lime and minerals from water, preventing build up of scales in the coffee maker. This is a must have for anyone using hard water. Normally this is done using a water filter jug before adding to your coffee machine.

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