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The Coffee Terms You Need to Know

Don't get left behind in the cafe line.

Even if you drink a cup every single morning, it can be hard to navigate a coffee shop menu -- especially when everyone else in line is ordering in what seems to be a foreign language. Don't worry: we broke it down for you. Here are easy explanations of the terms you need to know. Or if all else fails, just do this:


Americano

Espresso and hot water, to taste -- supposedly named after American GIs who watered down European espresso to mimic a cup of drip coffee from back home.


Cappuccino

Equal parts espresso and steamed milk.


Cold brew

Coffee brewed in cold water for an extended period of time. Easy to make, and much better than watered-down coffee in ice.


Crema

The top layer of freshly made espresso, made of emulsified oils. Especially important for good latte art.


Dark roast

Coffee beans that are roasted for an extended period of time, resulting in a stronger flavor.


Doppio

Italian for "double." Two shots of espresso.


Drip

Brewing coffee by pouring water over grounds directly with a filter or device like a French press.


Espresso

Concentrated coffee, sometimes deemed too strong for uncultured Americans (see: Americano).


Fair trade

A program ensuring coffee growers are paid a minimum wage.


Frothed

Milk with air drawn in, giving it a thicker consistency.


Half Caf

Half decaffeinated coffee and half regular and fully consistent with the American compulsion to shorten the English language to mono-syllabic sounds.


Irish Coffee

Coffee mixed with brown sugar, fresh cream, and, of course, Irish whiskey.


Latte

Frothed milk poured over fresh espresso. With a bit of skill, it’s possible to create designs in the crema.


Macchiato

Either espresso topped with a spoonful of frothed milk (a Caffe Macchiato) or frothed milk with espresso poured in (a Latte Macchiato).


Mocha

Espresso with chocolate and frothed milk.


Redeye

Coffee with espresso added.


Roast

To heat coffee beans (they start off green) until they darken and create coffee flavors that can be extracted by brewing.


Skinny

Made with nonfat milk.


Trenta

This much coffee at Starbucks.

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