Food & DrinkOctober 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

The Coffee Translator: Barista to English

How to sound coffee–cool your next time at the counter.

A good ol’ cup–o–Joe doesn’t quite cut it anymore. From Dunkin D’s to that Italian place where all the cool kids go, coffee shops these days offer every combination of milk, water, bean and fancy jargon you can think of. So here’s our crash course in “javanese” (a mix of Italian, French and caffeine) to help you navigate the coffee shops like a pro and avoid the sneer of that snooty barista — like seriously, what is her problem?

Espresso: A favorite of coffee aficionados, espresso is a highly–concentrated coffee made by shooting water at high speed through finely ground coffee. It comes in a tiny cup but is packed with an intense burst of rich flavor. Despite common misconception, high quality espresso won’t taste bitter.

Double: A double is simply a shot of espresso times two.

Americano: As its name suggests, americano was meant for Americans who crave big gulps over dainty sips. It’s simply espresso with hot water added, amounting approximately to the strength of regular drip coffee.

Latte: The latte is the quintessential foofy coffee drink — a shot of espresso combined with steamed milk.

Cappuccino: The cappuccino is often confused with the latte. The two drinks are very similar. Both are a mix of espresso and frothed milk, but a cappuccino has less milk.

Cafe au lait: The cafe au lait is a conspicuous character — known as cafe au lait in France, caffe misto in Italy and cafe con leche in Spain, this drink is equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk.

Espresso con panna: If straight espresso is a bit much, espresso con panna offers a slightly softened option: espresso with a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Espresso macchiato: Macchiato, or “marked,” espresso is a shot of espresso with a light topping of steamed milk.

Espresso lungo: Lungo means “long” in Italian, a name fitting for this less intense espresso made by passing more water through the ground coffee.

Cafe mocha: Chocolate. Need I say more? A true mocha is made with chocolate syrup lining the bottom of the cup, topped with espresso and steamed milk.

Double: A double is simply a shot of espresso times two.

 
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