Espresso Coffee Lingo and Glossary

Espresso Coffee Lingo and Glossary
Category: Barista Skills and Techniques
Comments: 2 [Read/Post]
Synopsis: If you've ever lined up at a Starbucks, you might have wondered what the person in front of you just ordered. We collected some of the most common lingo.

Espresso Glossary and Lingo


Please note that terms can mean different things in different places.  Many are used only in particular coffee shop chains so if you go to a different shop than usual, the staff might call your drink something else and they might not even know what you're talking about, so be prepared to describe it if necessary.


·     Americano:   Also known as Caffe Americano.  This is a shot of espresso diluted with hot water, for those who find straight espresso too strong.

·     Americano Misto:   An Americano with steamed milk, at least at Starbucks.  Similar to a latte without the foam (a Foamless), except that steamed milk and hot water are added half-and-half, rather than just steamed milk.

·     Barista:   Trained espresso bartender preparing specialty coffee.

·     Breve:   Short for Espresso Breve.  Espresso with half-n-half or semi-skimmed milk.

·     Café Au Lait:   French style, with coffee and boiled milk poured simultaneously into a cup.

·     Café Con Leche:   1.5 ounce espresso with enough steamed milk to fill an 8-ounce cup.

·     Caffe Amaretto:   Latte with almond syrup.

·     Caffe Con Panna:   Demitasse of espresso topped by a dollop of whipped cream.  Also called an Espresso Con Panna.

·     Caffe Corretto:   Also known as an Espresso Corretto.  Corretto means "corrected" and this refers to adding cognac or some other liqueur.

·     Café Crème:   Usually a regular cup of coffee, brewed under pressure like an espresso so topped with crema.  May also in some places refer to 1.5 ounces of espresso with an ounce of heavy cream (also called an Espresso Crème).

·     Caffe Freddo:   Chilled espresso in a glass, sometimes with ice.

·     Caffe Latte:   Also known simply as a Latte.  An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk.  The most popular espresso drink.  Also the default espresso in some places: if you ask for a "double tall", for instance, you'll get a double tall latte.

·     Caffe Lungo:   Sometimes the same as an Americano.  Sometimes refers to brewing more water through the shot of espresso instead of diluting it afterward.

·     Caffe Macchiatto:   An espresso "marked" with a teaspoon or two of foamed milk.  ("Macchiatto" means "marked".)

·     Caffe Medici:   A doppio poured over chocolate syrup and orange (sometimes lemon) peel, usually topped with whipped cream.

·     Caffe Mocha:   Also known simply as a Mocha.  A latte with chocolate.  Methods of preparation can vary, some using steamed chocolate milk, others adding chocolate to a latte.  One variation tops it with whipped cream, with cocoa powder as a garnish.

·     Caffe Ristretto:   A short espresso shot, but with the same amount of coffee as a full shot, just more concentrated.

·     Cake in a Cup:   Double cream, double sugar.  Also called a Double Double.

·     Cappuccino:   A shot of straight espresso with foamed milk on top.

·     Caramel:   A latte with caramel syrup.

·     Cher Sugar:   With Equal

·     Crema:   The tan-coloured foam that forms on top of an espresso shot, as a result of the brewing process.  The crema is composed of minuscule air bubbles composed of espresso film and forms a "cap" that protects the espresso proper from being exposed to the air.

·     Demitasse:   Small cup for serving espresso straight.

·     Doppio:   The hip way to request a double shot.

·     Double:   An espresso made from a double shot, approximately 1.5 - 2 ounces.

·     Double Cup:   An espresso (or any hot beverage) served in two cups, just in case one cup might be too hot to handle.

·     Double Double:   Double cream, double sugar.

·     Drip:   A regular coffee.

·     Dry: Without steamed milk (just foamed milk).

·     Espresso:   Approximately a one-ounce shot of coffee brewed under pressure.

·     Espresso Breve:   Espresso with half-n-half or other semi-skimmed milk.

·     Espresso Lungo:   This is espresso made with a long pull, to squeeze the max from the bean.  Some think it gives a stronger brew, others just a more bitter one (though that depends on the skill of the barista).

·     Espresso Macchiato:   Espresso with just a dollop of steamed milk on top.

·     Espresso Ristretto:   A shorter or "restricted" pull that creates a more concentrated drink.

·     Foamless:   Without foamed milk.

·     Frappuccino:   A concoction developed by Starbucks, basically an iced or chilled cappuccino.  Various recipes for this are floating around the internet (the actual recipe is a secret).  Starbucks has also come out with a bottled version.  It appears to be a beverage made out of either espresso or regular coffee, milk, sugar, ice, and other miscellaneous optional ingredients.  The bottled version may be served chilled (no ice).  Also called a Frap (or Frappe). 

·     Grande:   16-ounce cup.

·     Granita:   Latte with frozen milk.

·     Half-caf:   Half regular, half decaf.

·     Harmless:   If you want a decaf espresso, just say you want it "harmless".

·     Latte:   An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk.

·     Latte Pune:   A mini-latte with a full shot of espresso.

·     Latteccino:   A latte with more froth or a cappuccino with more milk (take your pick, it's the same thing).

·     Macchiatto:    Means "marked".  Typically a shot of espresso marked with a dollop of foamed milk.

·     Mochaccino:   A cappuccino with chocolate.

·     Nive:   A breve with orange syrup and cinnamon.

·     No Fun:   Typically refers to a decaf latte.

·     On A Leash:   To go, with handles.

·     Quad:   Four shots of espresso.

·     Short: 8-ounce cup.

·     Shot:   Equivalent to a single espresso, about 1 ounce.  A double would be two shots.

·     Shot In The Dark:   A regular coffee with a shot of espresso in it.  Also called a Speed Ball or Red Eye.

·     Single:   A single shot of espresso.

·     Skinny:   If you want a latte made with non-fat or skim milk, just say you want it "skinny".

·     Skinny Harmless:   A non-fat, decaf latte.  Also called a Why Bother.

·     Soy Latte:   A latte made with soy milk instead of dairy milk.  May also be referred to as a Vegan Latte.

·     Speed Ball:   A cup of regular coffee with a shot of espresso.

·     Tall:   12-ounce cup.

·     Thunder Thighs:   Supposedly, a double-tall mocha made with whole milk and topped with extra whipped cream.

·     Triple:   Three shots, for those for whom a double just doesn't offer enough of a jolt.

·     Unleaded:   Decaf.

·     Venti: A 20oz. cup at Starbucks.

·     Wet:   Without foamed milk (steamed milk only).

·     Whipless:   Without whipped cream.

·     Why Bother:   A decaf, non-fat (or skim milk) latte, or skinny harmless.

·     With Legs:   A cup with handles.

·     With Room:   With space left at the top of the cup for either adding cream or preventing spills.

·     With Wings:   A cup with handles.

·     Without:   Without foam.

Comments on Espresso Coffee Lingo and Glossary

Siren93 14/03/2014 19:15
Actually, Starbucks uses pour over for their caffé mistos now.
W.C. 23/01/2011 21:10
This is the best glossary I've seen online.

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