Coffee jargons to know on World Coffee Day: What's a chemex, V60, or 'Magic'?

Coffee jargons to know on World Coffee Day: What's a chemex, V60, or 'Magic'?

Barista speak

Text: Janice Sim

It's World Coffee Day. With the third wave of coffee grinding its firm stance in Singapore, you might have already discovered a deeper, more profound appreciation of a trusty pourover (despite the longer waiting time), apart from rekindling with a cup of robust kopi whenever you can.

For those who still don't, you might feel a tad annoyance just by hearing the exchanges and terminologies that go on in a swanky coffee shop. Add to that, a dash of curiosity to what these jargons mean. So here's a rough breakdown of what they really are — use it for the better — whether for self-improvement or name-dropping it just to throw off your coffee snob of a friend.

It's a pourover glass coffee apparatus, that produces filter coffee manually. A filter paper goes on it, followed by beans that have already been grinded. Hot water is slowly poured in a circular motion, until coffee is percolated at the bottom. Brewing coffee on the Chemex results in a slower process, with a richer cup of coffee.

Ross Friends Chemex

It looks a little like the Chemex, but the V60 is a product from Hario, a Japanese glassware company. Filter papers are thinner than the ones used on the Chemex, with a slight difference in the coffee produced as well.

Short for restricted espresso. Instead of the full shot from the espresso machine, a ristretto only consists of the first half of the shot of the coffee. In this, there's less water used — hence resulting in a more concentrated, and purer shot.

Those who love ristrettos, would by default, love a magic. Essentially, a double ristretto with steamed milk poured over.

Magic coffee

Single origin
Coffee that's sourced from one single producer or a single farm. They tend to be more expensive and sought after than blended coffees.

A mix of two or more single-origin coffees.

Definitely not the macchiato you should expect to see at Starbucks. If you're in the right place, your order should come in a an espresso that's marked with a dash of milk. In Italian, "macchiato" means stained.

It's foam, but not milk foam. It is a dark tan layer formed on the surface of a espresso shot that's been freshly pulled. Baristas usually use it as a benchmark to gauge if their coffee is caliberated right.


It's used to describe how the coffee feels in your mouth — just like mouthfeel — leading up to terms like heavy-bodied or medium-bodied.

Some coffees are more tangy than others. For those, you can drop 'acidic' into the feedback.

Peruse our list of cafes that serve good coffee in Singapore.