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Unlocking the Mysteries of Coffee Shop Jargon: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Coffee Shop Jargon

Coffee culture has grown exponentially over the years, and with it comes a unique vocabulary that may be hard to understand for a newbie. This article aims to help unravel some of the most commonly used coffee shop jargon, making it easier for patrons to order their preferred pick-me-up without any confusion.

Definitions of Coffee Shop Jargon

Coffee shops come with their own set of unique terms and definitions, especially when it comes to foreign-sounding names of drinks and menu items. Here are a few definitions for some commonly used terms:


Espresso: A concentrated shot of coffee brewed by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely ground coffee beans. 2.


Espresso with steamed milk and a small amount of frothed milk on top. 3.


Espresso with equal parts steamed milk and frothed milk on top. 4.

Macchiato (espresso and milk):

Espresso with a small dollop of steamed milk or milk foam on top. 5.


Espresso added to hot water, making a milder and more diluted drink.

Flavor Preferences

Ready to order your coffee but not sure what to ask for? Here’s a rundown of the most popular flavor preferences:


Black Coffee: If you prefer your coffee with no cream, milk, or sugar, then you’re a fan of black coffee. A good cup of black coffee is made with premium coffee beans, often single-origin and high grown, offering a nuanced and full-bodied experience.

2. Coffee with Milk or Cream Only: Some folks like a bit of dairy in their coffee, and that’s where espresso-based beverages come in.

These drinks are made with espresso and steamed milk, meaning the milk has been heated and foamed to add a creamy texture without adding any sugar. Some popular espresso drinks include lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos.

3. Coffee with Cream and Sugar: For those with a sweet tooth, sweet coffee drinks are a must-try.

These drinks often come with a range of flavored syrups that can be added to your espresso-based beverage, with a popular choice being the caramel macchiato – a delicious concoction of espresso, caramel syrup, steamed milk, and a dollop of foam on top.

Types of Coffee Roasts

Roasting coffee beans is an art that can take years to master. The roast level defines how dark or light a coffee bean is.

Here are the most common types of coffee roasts:


Light Roast: The lightest roast of all, light roast coffee is roasted to just before the first crack of the coffee bean.

Light roast coffee beans often have a lighter body, higher acidity levels, and more fruity or floral notes. 2.

Medium Roast: Medium roast coffee is roasted to the first crack of the coffee bean. It has a balanced acidity level, crisp finish, and toasted notes.


Dark Roast: Dark roast coffee is roasted beyond the first crack of the coffee bean.

It has a fuller body, lower acidity, and more smoky or burnt flavors. 4.

French Roast: French roast is roasted beyond the second crack of the coffee bean. It has a smoky taste and rich flavor, with minimal acidity levels.

5. Italian Roast: Italian roast coffee is roasted to the second crack of the coffee bean.

It has a sweet and smoky flavor profile with minimal acidity levels, making it a great choice for an afternoon pick-me-up. Types of Drinks (Coffee &


The world of coffee and espresso is full of exciting drink options, and it can be hard to choose what to try first.

Here are some of the most popular coffee and espresso drinks to add to your must-try list:

1. Latte: A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk, with a small amount of frothed milk on top.

2. Macchiato:

Macchiatos come in two variations: espresso and milk or caramel macchiato.

Espresso and milk macchiatos are made with a small dollop of steamed milk on top, while caramel macchiatos are made with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and a caramel drizzle on top. 3.

Americano: An americano comes with a double shot of espresso and hot water, creating a milder and more diluted drink. 4.

Long Black: A long black is similar to an americano, but with hot water added after the espresso shot, creating a fuller and stronger coffee flavor. 5.

Flat White: A flat white is made with espresso and steamed milk, but with a velvety, microfoamed texture that creates a smooth and delicious drink. In conclusion, coffee culture can be overwhelming for a newcomer, but there’s no need to feel intimidated! By using this guide to understand the jargon, roast types, and drink options, you’ll be better equipped to order your perfect cup of coffee with ease.

Types of Coffee Roasts

Coffee roasts are a fascinating field that is often overlooked by coffee enthusiasts who get lost in the many confusing terminologies and endless debates. The truth is that understanding the different types of coffee roasts can help you choose the best coffee for your taste buds.

Below are the most common types of coffee roasts:

Light Roast

Light roast coffee is roasted to a temperature just before the first crack of the coffee bean, where the beans reach a pale to medium brown color. Lighter roast coffees often have a higher acidity level, making for a bright and clean taste.

Thanks to their delicate flavor, light roasts are perfect for single-origin coffee, where you can savor the unique flavor profiles of each coffee origin. Light roast coffee is often associated with fruity, floral, and herbal tasting notes, which is why it is especially recommended for coffee lovers looking for a bright and vibrant coffee taste.

When brewed correctly, light roast coffee can make for a smooth and complex coffee experience.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee is roasted to a temperature that is just at the start of the second crack of the coffee bean, giving the beans a medium brown color. Medium roast coffees are a staple in coffee shops everywhere, thanks to their well-rounded flavor.

Providing a balance between the sweetness and acidity levels, medium roasts are perfect for drip-brew coffee. Medium roast coffee can provide a wide variety of flavors that can range from nutty to chocolatey and slightly fruity.

This coffee roast is quite popular due to its versatility in brewing, making it an easily accessible coffee flavor for both novice and experienced coffee drinkers.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee is roasted beyond the second crack of the coffee bean, giving the beans a dark brown, almost black color. Dark roast coffee has a distinct flavor due to the beans’ oils caramelizing and imparting an intense taste.

Dark roast coffees are perfect for those that love strong coffee flavor and a bit of acidity. When you sip on dark roast coffee, you can expect a bold flavor associated with smoky or burnt notes.

Because of its bold flavor, this roast is perfect for iced coffee lovers who enjoy the bitter flavor profile. French/Italian/

Espresso Roast

French, Italian, and

Espresso roast coffee beans are roasted to a point where they become dark and oily.

French roast coffee is typically roasted to darker than the second crack of the coffee bean, while both Italian and

Espresso roasts are roasted to a dark brown color. These roast profiles are often used to create espresso – the coffee base for many popular drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.

These roasts provide bold and strong flavors to create bold espresso shots.

Espresso roast coffees provide a smoky, rich flavor that can leave a subtle burnt aftertaste, making it perfect for those looking for a robust coffee flavor.

Types of Drinks (Coffee &


Now that we have broken down the different types of coffee roasts, let’s explore some of the most common types of drinks that use these roasts as their base. You might recognize some of these classic coffee and espresso drinks as your go-to order.

Regular Coffee

When you order regular coffee, you are typically served with drip-brewed coffee using a house blend that varies depending on the coffee shop. It tends to have a medium roast flavor profile and is often brewed to highlight the coffee’s unique flavor notes.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is typically brewed with medium roast coffee to balance the bitterness, with the addition of ice to create a refreshing and brisk beverage. You can add milk, cream, or flavored syrups to the mix to customize your iced coffee experience.

Cold-Brewed Coffee

Cold-brewed coffee is an expensive, premium coffee beverage. It provides a deep, rich taste without the harshness of hot brewed coffee.

Cold brewing typically involves steeping the coffee grounds overnight in cold water, allowing the coffee to extract at a slower pace. The result is a smooth, full-bodied cup of coffee that can be enjoyed neat or with your preferred milk or cream.


Espresso is the basis for many coffee drinks and is enjoyed by coffee enthusiasts worldwide. It is made using finely ground coffee that is packed into a portafilter and extracted with a machine that delivers pressurized hot water through the coffee.

Espresso typically has a bold, robust flavor that is enjoyed in small shots or mixed with other ingredients to create coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos.


Lattes are a coffee drink made with a double shot of espresso and topped up with steamed milk, along with a small amount of milk foam. You can customize your latte by adding syrups, caramel, mocha, pumpkin, or vanilla.


Macchiatos typically come in two preparations, i.e., with steamed milk and flavored syrups. The basic espresso and steamed milk macchiato typically has a dollop of steamed milk on top of the espresso shot, while flavored syrups include caramel, mocha, and cinnamon.


Frappe is a blended beverage made with a mixture of coffee, milk, water, and ice.

Frappes are a perfect drink for summer as they are sweet, refreshing, and perfect for hot weather.


Cappuccinos are an espresso drink made using a focused shot of espresso topped up with steamed milk and finished with a dash of cocoa. It is a traditional coffee that provides a perfect balance of espresso, milk, and cocoa.

Americano/Long Black

Americano is an espresso shot diluted with nearly boiling water, while Long Black is a double-shot of espresso poured over hot water. It is a traditional coffee made with an espresso machine and is perfect for those who prefer a milder coffee taste.

Flat White

Flat White is a traditional espresso drink made using a double-shot of espresso and topped up with steamed milk, resulting in a balanced coffee and dairy flavor profile. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a traditional, smooth, and creamy coffee experience.

In conclusion, coffee is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed in many ways, thanks to the different roast types and drink options. From the light and bright flavor of a single-origin light roast to the robust and bold taste of a dark-roasted coffee, there is a coffee option for every coffee lover.

The different types of coffee drinks also give you endless drink options, allowing you to enjoy this universal beverage in different ways. In conclusion, understanding coffee shop jargon and the different types of coffee roasts and drinks is essential for any coffee lover.

By familiarizing ourselves with these terms, we can confidently order our preferred cup of coffee and explore new flavors. From light roasts with their delicate and fruity notes to dark roasts with their bold and smoky flavors, there is a coffee roast for every taste.

And with a wide range of coffee and espresso drinks to choose from, such as lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos, we can indulge in a variety of flavors and textures. So, the next time you step into a coffee shop, feel empowered as you navigate the menu and enjoy your favorite cup of joe.

Cheers to the world of coffee and the wonderful experiences it has to offer!

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