Free Shipping on Orders over: R 1’000
Nationwide Shipping From: Stage 3

The Glossary

Learn the terms. Speak the language. Become a Connoisseur.

Cigars and coffee have been around for a very, very long time. Cigars and coffee are deeply rooted in human culture. We've done our best to put together a comprehensive list of terms used in the cigar and coffee culture to help you understand and live the experience more effectively.




The Cuban word for a cigar band or ring (known in Spain as a vitola). Limited Edition Cuban Cigars have a unique anilla engraved with the year which the cigar was produced.



The foot of the cigar. Cigars' boquillas show a large variation though. For instance, Parejos present a straight cut, such as the Cohiba Robustos Cigar, whereas Double Figurados have a tapered foot, like the Cuaba Divinos Cigar.



The outside wrapper leaf of the Habano. The darker the colour of the capa the stronger the flavours of the cigar. Featuring one of the darkest capas, the Cohiba Maduro 5 Magicos Cigar is as strong in flavour as its dark coloured wrapper suggests.


The binder leaf. Selected from the largest and finest volado leaves grown on the lower part of the plant. Learn everything you need to know about capote and the rest of the parts of a cigar on our Six Parts of a Cigar post.


The tasters who daily test cigars at the factories. Cetadores are responsible for the final confirmation for the massive production of exquisite Habanos, such as the Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchills Cigar.


The template used to check the ring gauge and length of a finished cigar. Today cigar aficionados are favouring cigars that fit in large cepos, like the Cohiba Talisman Edicion Limitada 2017 Cigar.


The semi-circular blade used by the torcedores to cut tobacco leaves in the factory. Check out our visit inside the El Laguito Factory, where we got to experience the process of handmaking Habanos.


The description of a light brown coloured wrapper on a finished cigar. Very much adored by cigar aficionados for its light flavoured profile, the Quai d'Orsay Coronas Claro Cigar is wrapped using a gorgeously tanned Claro wrapper leaf.


The description of a dark brown wrapper on a finished cigar. Also Colorado Claro (mid brown) and Colorado Maduro (darker brown). The Romeo y Julieta Belicosos Cigar is encased in a rich dark brown colorado wrapper and delivers a smooth yet complex smoke.


Edición Limitada

Limited Edition. Special productions of Habanos made annually using fillers, binders and wrappers aged at least 2 years before the cigars are made. The wrappers come from the top leaves of the shade-grown (tapado) tobacco plant, which are darker in colour. Boxes can be identified by an extra black and gold seal indicating that they contain Limited Edition Habanos and the year in which they were released. Each Habano is dressed with an extra band giving the same information.



A cigar with an irregular shape pointed at one end or double-figurado pointed at both ends. The full of flavours Cuaba Salomones Cigar is formed into a double figurado format, one of the most unique and difficult formats to roll.


Literally strength. Fortaleza 1, 2, 3 and 4 are synonyms for volado, seco, ligero and medio tiempo. Have a read on our Cuban Cigars Rare Medio Tiempo Leaf article, where we reveal the truth and explain the luxury behind the leaf.



The factory workshop where cigars are made by hand. Literally the galley. On our Visit to the El Laguito Factory article, we take a peek behind the curtain as we explore the process of hand-rolling Habanos inside this prominent Galera.


Cap of the cigar. Highly skilled rollers can apply the cap with perfect symmetry and precision. Read more about the Gorro of a cigar on our article The Six Parts of a Cigar, and find out all there is to know about its quality and manufacture.

Gran Reserva

Special productions of Habanos that are released very occasionally in small quantities. The term Gran Reserva applies only to Habanos whose fillers, binders and wrappers have all been aged for at least 5 years before being rolled at the factory. They are identified by a second band on the cigars in black and gold colours, like the one on the H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva Cosecha 2011 Cigar.



The official Denominación de Origen Protegida (D.O.P.), or Protected Denomination of Origin used only to describe the most outstanding brands of cigars, like Montecristo Cigars, which are manufactured in Cuba to the most exacting standards established by the Regulatory Council, from tobaccos grown only in particular areas of the island that are also protected as Denominations of Origin. In English the word translates as Havanas, which are widely considered to be the best cigars in the world.


The waiter in a bar or restaurant skilled in the art of selecting and serving Habanos as well as recommending matches with drinks or other products like coffee, tea or even chocolate. A contest to find the world's best Habanosommelier is staged as part of the Festival del Habano each year. Read our Conversation with Habanosommelier 2017, Darius Namdar and find out about his exquisite taste on cigars.



One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. The word translates as "light" although it is used to describe the leaves taken from the top of the plant that are rich in flavour and usually dark in colour. The very much adored by cigar enthusiasts Ramon Allones Patagon Cigar (Ex. Cono Sur) is wrapped with an extra ligero leaf, making its aromas even more strong an intence.



Literally -ripe-. The description of a very dark brown, almost black, wrapper on a finished cigar. Cohiba Cigars has produced an entire collection crafted using Maduro leaves, Maduro 5 linea, including the popular amongst cigar aficionados, Cohiba Maduro 5 Secretos Cigar.



A cigar with straight, parallel sides. Coronas, such as the H. Upmann Half Corona Cigar, panatelas, and lonsdales are some of the most popular parejo formats.

Cigar Classifications



One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. This one describes the leaves of medium flavour taken from the middle of the plant, which contribute much to the Habano's aroma. Handmade using a blend of Seco, Volado, and Ligero tobacco leaves, the Cohiba Behike 56 Cigar is a favourite amongst all types of cigar smokers.



Filler, the blend of two, three or four different types of tobacco leaves that form the heart of a Habano and dictate its flavour. Crafted with filler leaves from the popular Vuelta Abajo region, the Montecristo No. 3 Cigar is fitting for both cigar beginners and cigar aficionados.

Tripa Corta

Short filler. Filler that is made from pieces of chopped up tobacco leaves sometimes known as picadura. One of the most desired Habanos on the market, the Quintero Panetelas Cigar, is made entirely from short-filler tobacco leaves from the most prominent tobacco plantation in Vuelta Abajo and Semi Vuelta regions.

Tripa Larga

Long filler. Filler that is made from full-length tobacco leaves. Popular for their long-filler tobacco, Vegas Robaina Cigars guarantee an excellent smoke, made specifically from high-quality tobacco leaves from the prominent Pinar del Rio region in Cuba.



Cuban tobacco farmer. Read our blog post, Alejandro Robaina: The Godfather of Cuban Tobacco and learn everything there is to know about one of the most popular vegueros.


A word with many meanings. In Cuba it refers to the size and shape of a cigar (vitola de galera factory name, vitola de salida market name) and also to a particular size of cigar in an individual packing. Some vitolas are more rare than others, like the exquisito of the Sancho Panza Gran Quixote (Ex. Belux 2018) Cigar. In Spain it means a cigar band or ring (vitolfilia cigar band collecting). To some it has an almost spiritual meaning encapsulating every aspect of their cigar of choice.


One of the tiempos or families of filler leaves. This one describes the light flavoured leaves taken from the bottom of the plant, which help the cigar to burn. Popular for producing an exceptional smoke, the Cohiba Behike 56 Cigar is hand rolled using a well-balanced combination of Seco, Ligero, and Volado leaves.




The pleasant tartness of a fine coffee, often referred to as brightness or liveliness that carries the high notes of flavor in a coffee.


A device for brewing coffee. Coffee is steeped for 10–50 seconds (depending on grind and preferred strength) and then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the tube.


Ice cream (traditionally vanilla) “drowned” with a shot of espresso.

Aged Coffee

Coffee that is held in warehouses for several years, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently. Such aging reduces acidity and increases body.

American Roast

Also known as a "City Roast," coffee beans are medium brown and offer full flavor, acidity, and varietal character; the roast style traditionally preferred in the U.S.


An espresso that is cut with very hot water to fill an American-size cup.


The earliest cultivated species of coffee tree (Coffea arabica), it accounts for 70 percent of the world's coffee and is dramatically superior in cup quality to other coffee species.


The smell that is released from freshly ground coffee (dry aroma) and from freshly brewed coffee.



A tasting term applied to a coffee for which no single characteristic overwhelms the others, yet the coffee displays sufficient complexity to be interesting.


Italian term for a skilled, experienced espresso bar operator.

Batch Roaster

A machine that roasts a given quantity or batch of coffee at a time.

Blade Grinder

A device that uses a propellor-like blade to grind coffee.


The weak flavor often found in low-grown robusta coffees. Also caused by under-extraction when too little coffee or too coarse a grind is used.


A mixture of two or more single-origin coffees.


The perceived thickness, richness, or viscosity of brewed coffee. A full-bodied coffee is one with a heavy mouthfeel.


An heirloom botanical variety of Coffea arabica, it was discovered on the island of Bourbon, now Réunion, and produces relatively low yields but is prized for its quality.


The salty sensation caused by excessive heat when coffee has been left on the warming element too long after brewing, e.g., truck-stop coffee.

Burr Grinder

Coffee grinder with two adjustable shredding discs or burrs, preferred over the blade grinder for its precision.

Burr Grinder

 Coffee drink combining one-third drip-brewed coffee with two-thirds hot, frothed milk.


Café au Lait

 Coffee drink combining one-third drip-brewed coffee with two-thirds hot, frothed milk.


An odorless, bitter compound responsible for coffee's stimulating effects.


An espresso drink created with one serving of espresso topped with steamed milk and froth.


Flakes of the innermost skin (silverskin) of the coffee fruit clings to green coffee after processing and loosens during roasting.


The classic hourglass-shaped filter coffee brewer. Chemex filters are denser than other paper filters, and many believe that this creates a sweeter, well-balanced cup of coffee.


The fruit of the coffee tree. Each cherry contains two coffee beans or one "peaberry."


A term used to describe coffee with no discernible defects in its flavor.

Clever Coffee Dripper

A filter cone with a stopper allows coffee to steep before dripping to extract more flavor.

Clover Brewer

A high-tech, high-end, single-cup brewing machine.

Cold-Water Method

Coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for ten to twenty hours, then strained to create a concentrate for iced coffee.


A term describing coffees whose flavors layer pleasurably, giving the impression of depth and resonance.


Spanish term for an espresso topped with a small amount of flat steamed milk.


Thick, caramel-colored foam that covers the surface of an espresso.


Coffee that has had at least 97% of its caffeine removed is classified as decaffeinated.


A process used by professionals to sample and evaluate coffees. Ground coffee is placed into cups, water is poured over the grounds, and the liquid is tasted.


Dark Roast

Coffee beans roasted to a medium-dark color and beyond; coffee oils appear on the surface of the beans and varietal flavors are muted.


A natural process in which recently roasted coffee releases three times its volume as carbon dioxide gas, protecting coffee from the staling effect of oxygen for several days.


A double espresso.


Spring-loaded device on specialized espresso grinders that dispenses single servings of ground coffee.

Drip Method

Brewing method that allows hot water to settle through a bed of ground coffee.

Dry / Natural Process

Coffee processed by removing the husk or fruit after the coffee fruit has been dried. When done carefully, dry-processed coffee can be fruity and complex.



A taste characteristic found primarily in coffees from Sumatra and Sulawesi in which wet coffee has come into contact with earth during drying.

Espresso Roast

Term for coffee taken to a medium-dark roast where acidity diminishes and bittersweet flavors emerge, also known as a Full-City or Viennese Roast.


A brewing method in which hot water is forced under pressure through a compressed bed of finely ground coffee; typically less than 2 ounces of espresso is produced.


Using water that is "just off the boil" (195-205° F) to draw flavor from coffee grounds. Coffee can be under extracted and taste weak or over extracted and taste bitter.


Fair-Trade Coffee

Coffee purchased from farmers at a "fair" price as defined by international agencies.

Filter Method

Any method in which water filters through a bed of ground coffee. It also describes drip method brewers using a paper filter to separate grounds from brewed coffee.


The sensory experience of coffee just as it is swallowed.


Flavor is what distinguishes the sensory experience of coffee once its acidity, body, and aroma have been described.

French Press

Also known as a press pot or plunger pot, coffee grounds are steeped with water. A strainer plate is pushed down to separate the brewed coffee from the spent grounds.

French Roast

Beans become very dark brown in color with an oily surface; acidity and varietal qualities fade; bittersweet notes dominate.

Full-City Roast

Coffee taken to a medium-dark roast which produces some oil on the bean surface; varietal qualities mellow, body and sweetness increase, acidity diminishes.


Green Coffee

Term used for unroasted coffee beans.


The fixture protruding from the front of most espresso machines into which the portafilter and filter clamp.


Hard Bean

Coffee grown at altitudes of 4,000 to 4,500 feet. The higher altitudes and lower temperatures produce a slower-maturing fruit and a harder, less porous bean.


Arabica coffee grown at altitudes of 3,000 feet and beyond are generally superior in taste quality to coffee grown downslope.


Removal of the coffee bean’s skin, called parchment, just prior to sorting.


Italian Roast

is generally roasted dark brown in color and is rich and bittersweet in flavor, but the color may range to nearly black and the flavor to nearly burned.



A serving of espresso combined with nearly three time as much steamed milk topped with froth.



A serving of espresso "stained" or topped off with a small quantity of hot, frothed milk.

Machine Drying

After coffee beans have been defruited, they are dried in machines with rotating drums or cascading slides. The other option is to dry the beans on open patios.

Micro Lot

Coffee from a single farm or from a specific part of the coffee farm.


Espresso combined with chocolate syrup and steamed milk.


Dry-processed, single-origin coffee from India deliberately exposed to monsoon winds in open warehouses with the aim to increase body and reduce acidity.



Coffee roasted soon after harvest when the beans are at their freshest and brightest.



Coffee that has been certified by a third-party agency as having been grown and processed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or similar chemicals.



A thin skin that covers wet-processed coffee beans after the coffee cherries have been skinned, the pulp removed, and the beans dried.


A more traditional alternative to machine drying, patio drying exposes depulped coffee beans to the sun's heat by spreading and raking them in thin layers on open patios.


A small, round bean formed when only one seed, rather than the usual two, develops at the heart of the coffee fruit.

Piston Machine

An espresso machine that uses a piston operated by a lever to force brewing water at high pressure through a compacted bed of ground coffee.


In espresso brewing, a metal object with a plastic handle that holds the coffee filter and clamps onto the group.

Pour-Over Coffee

A method of drip coffee in which water is poured in a thin, steady, slow stream over a filter cone filled with ground coffee. One cup of coffee requires three minutes to brew.


Spent coffee from a portafilter or a Clover brewer.


Espresso shots are “pulled.” The term is a holdover from the time that machines were only lever-operated. One pull produces either a single or a double shot of espresso.


Process of removing the outermost skin of the coffee cherry or fruit.

Pum Machine

Process of removing the outermost skin of the coffee cherry or fruit.



Defective coffee beans that fail to roast properly, remaining pale-colored.



A cup of brewed coffee with espresso.


Espresso pulled short, containing less water, for a more concentrated drink.


Unpalatable green beans are heated to create complex flavors that are extracted during brewing.


A low-growing, high-yield coffee tree, producing full-bodied but bland coffee of inferior quality and higher caffeine than Arabica. Used in cheap blends and instant coffee.


Seasonal Coffee

Coffee beans ripen at different times of the year in different regions and are available from specialty coffee roasters and in coffeehouses for limited times.

Shade Grown

Also known as "Bird Friendly," coffee is grown under the shade canopy of native trees which reduces the need for pesticide since birds act as natural insect control agents.


A single serving of espresso, generally 1 to no more than 2 ounces.


The thin, innermost skin of the coffee fruit which clings to dried coffee beans until it is either polished or floats free during roasting, becoming what is known as chaff.

Single-Origin Coffee

Unblended coffee from a single country, region, and crop.

Siphon Pot

Also known as a Vacuum Pot, this brewer steeps coffee grounds in an upper globe and draws brewed coffee into a lower globe by way of a partial vacuum.


After beans are dried, they are hulled and sorted at a mill. The best coffees are sorted by: size for even roasting, density (the denser the more flavorful), and defects.

Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee is distinguished by the quality of its raw material and represents 10% of all coffee grown worldwide. Of that amount, only 1-2 percent qualify as superlative.

Strictly Hard Bean

The highest grade designation based on growing altitude in some Central American countries.



In espresso brewing, the small, pestle-like device with a round, flat end used to distribute and compress ground coffee inside the filter basket.

Terroir (tare-wahr)

From the French word "terre," meaning land, it denotes the influence of geography, geology, and climate on a coffee's unique taste qualities.


A high-tech, single-cup coffee brewer recently introduced on the market.


A botanical variety of Coffea arabia, var. typica is one of the oldest and most traditional coffee varieties. Some of the best Latin American coffees are from typica stock.



A term to describe a single predominant botanical variety of coffee tree, such as var. bourbon or var. typica. Often incorrectly used in the coffee world as denoting origin.

Varietal Character

A tasting or cupping term to describe positive characteristics that distinguish one coffee from those grown in other regions, representing a "taste of the place" in the cup.

Viennese Roast

Also known as a Full-City or Espresso Roast.


Wet Processed / Washed Coffee

This process removes the skin and pulp from the bean while the coffee fruit is still fresh. Most of the world's coffees are processed in this manner.



What makes each Cigar and Coffee unique.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


Contact +

Support +

** Copa Habana does not sell tobacco products to persons under the legal smoking age in South Africa.

2020 © Copa Habana — The Finest Imported Cigars & Coffees
mastercard visa bank payment rave by flutterwave