Coffee Terms

Coffee Terms

Bill McClure

Walking in a coffee shop to order a simple cup of coffee and hearing someone ordering a skinny, venti macchiato with a double shot is enough to give some people pause and make them wonder if they have stepped into another galaxy. In some ways popular coffee terminology is much like speaking a foreign language. Ordering a black coffee is simply not part of the terminology one hears in coffee shops today.

Some of the most popular coffee terms and their meanings are included here to help ease the ordering of a large, espresso drink with two extra shots of espresso and a small amount of non-fat milk.
  • Sizes: Tall, Smallest size, usually 12 oz., comes with one shot of espresso.
  • Grande: Medium sized, usually 16 oz., comes with two shots of espresso.
  • Viente or Vente: Large sized, usually 20 oz., comes with two shots of espresso.
  • Shot: a one ounce portion.
  • Double Shot or Doppio: Adds two shots of espresso to the ordered drink.
  • Triple shot: Adds three shots of espresso to the ordered drink.
  • Quad: Adds four shots of espresso to the ordered drink.

Drinks and other Terms Cappuccino:

Espresso with steamed milk and a lot of foam on top. Cappuccinos are stronger than latte and the number of espresso shots depends on the size ordered.
  • American: A strong espresso drink made from espresso and hot water, nothing more.
  • Espresso: A very highly concentrated shot of coffee that is often the basis for the coffee drinks in coffee shops although some people do drink them straight up. Espresso is very rich with a lingering flavor and aroma; they are topped with a natural creme that is formed during the brewing process.
  • Flavor shot: Syrup like flavoring that can be added to coffee and other drinks; it also comes in sugar free versions.
  • Latte: Espresso with more steamed milk than foam, not as strong as cappuccino.
  • Skinny: Non-fat and/or sugar free.
  • Espresso Con Panna: A serving of espresso with a small serving of whipped cream on top.
  • Espresso Macchiato: A serving of espresso with a small amount of milk foam.
  • Double dry short: Double shot of espresso in a small cup with no foam on top.

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