Coffee Ordering Terms and Jargon Explained – What You Should Know

8 October 2021

Have you ever wanted an explanation of the coffee ordering terms and jargon surrounding coffee houses and their menus? Read on to get up to speed to make sense of what you see and hear other people as they order coffee.

Introduction – Coffee Ordering Terms

The coffee world may feel mysterious even for a regular coffee drinker. People use crazy terms to describe unique methods of preparing coffee, different types of coffee, and coffee tastes. 

It’s challenging to make sense of everything. Not knowing the proper terminology prevents you from finding the most suitable coffee for you, ordering the right drink, or even trying coffee altogether. 

Coffee wasn’t a special substance or drink when I was in my teens. It was there, and you drank it or not as you liked.

It seemed that coffee was this bitter-tasting harsh liquid that was there. Then I went to sleep and awoke to find that someone had not only taken it and turned it into these million tasty options but that we all instantly loved it.

But then it wasn’t clear what was what. And so, the menus look thoroughly incomprehensible.

So like every modern-day intelligent being, you must be able to interpret the menu on display when taking coffee. 

After scouring the coffee literature, we put together the most relevant coffee terms we feel you should know.  

Set off the coffee menu with a cup of coffee drinks in vintage style stylised drawing with chalk on a blackboard. Lettering Know your coffee. excellent vector illustration, EPS 10

In this article, we’ll ensure you know the following: –

    1. 6 Different ways coffee gets served (give you great drinking options),
    2. 3 Different ways coffee beans get roasted (provides a variety of aromas, flavours and tastes when drinking),
    3. 3 Different kinds of coffee beans (affect the experience and coffee effects)
    4. 6 Methods for brewing coffee (affect the outcome of your drink).
    5. 6 Coffee Ordering Terms (helps with making sense of the menu)

Keep reading as we define some coffee jargon and present the most helpful info you should first appreciate.

Where to get great tasting coffee in Wembley?

6 Different Ways of Service Coffee

You might have gone into a local coffee shop and become puzzled by a long menu list of various types of coffee drinks.

Below, we demystify what all these mean and how they get made.

Read on.

01- Espresso

Espresso are a concentrated form of coffee typically served in specific small, shot-sized cups. You guessed it! An espresso machine is mandatory for making espresso. 

These machines are known for pressuring near-boiling water and shooting it via ground, packed coffee beans. Do you need an efficient caffeine source to kick start your beautiful day? 

Perhaps you’re looking to get out of your afternoon slump? Espresso will do you good!

02- Cortado Coffee 

Generally, Cortados are a different form of espressos. Making a cortado requires mixing espresso with steamed warm milk (not frothy). You might have been thinking of drinking espresso, but try a cortado if its acidity puts you off! 

03- Macchiato 

Macchiatos are also commonly known as espresso macchiato or Caffe Macchiato. They’re a form of espressos containing a limited amount of foamed milk. Try a macchiato if you want an espresso with a more tempered taste! 

04- Latte

Although lattes are much similar to Cortados, they have more milk added. Cortados have equal parts milk and espresso, and lattes generally have more milk. A Latte is an excellent choice if you prefer a less acidic but tempered version of espressos!

05- Flat White

Although flat whites are quite the same as lattes, they comprise less microfoam and less milk. If you are a fan of Cortados but need to try something a little more foam, then a flat white will serve you well! 

06- Latte Macchiato 

As of now, your head might be spinning with the many different lattes and macchiato variations! As the name implies, latte macchiatos are much similar to lattes. 

However, they generally have a less delicate, less balanced and more robust espresso flavour. A latte macchiato will be a good option if you want your drink with a more real espresso taste! 

07- Cappuccino

Although they’re the same as lattes in content, cappuccinos layer the ingredients. Cappuccinos usually layer the milk above the espresso rather than evenly mix the milk with the espresso. 

Cappuccino variations often substitute milk with cream or incorporate additional flavourings such as cinnamon for spicing up the drink. Do you want to taste the espresso and milk separately? 

Perhaps you prefer sweeter versions of the traditional espresso drinks? A cappuccino would be perfect! 

08- Americano

An Americano is a coffee made and then diluted with hot water to which you then add milk, or not, to suit your taste. Many, however, enjoy it without the milk.

3 Different Kinds of Coffee Roasts

When you’re purchasing coffee beans, you will most likely have to choose between different options such as light, medium, and dark. What do these mean, and how will you determine what suits you best? 

Let’s break it down:

cup of coffee on wood background
cup of coffee on wood background

01- Light Roast 

Typically, Light roast coffee gets created from coffee beans that often get roasted at the temperature that makes beans pop, around 350 F. Light roast coffee contains a bit more caffeine content than medium or dark roast.

It maintains much of the initial flavour of the beans. 

02- Medium Roast 

Medium roast coffee consists of a relatively dark brown colour. As you would expect, medium roast strikes a balance between body and acidity, maintaining distinct flavours while still having a pungent taste. 

03- Dark Roast

As the name implies, dark roast coffee originates from beans with a black or dark brown colour. This type of coffee consists of a more pungent, full taste. 

When you dark roast coffee, it draws out all the original flavours, which leaves a robust and smoky tang. Dark roast coffee has slightly less caffeine compared to lighter roasts. 

Since they got roasted for longer, this draws out even more caffeine content, which leaves a lower caffeine concentration in your drink.

3 Other Types of Coffee Beans

Some other types of coffee beans that you should know include: 

01- Decaf Coffee

Decaffeinated coffee comes from coffee beans with 97% or more of their initial caffeine content drawn out through carbon dioxide or solvents.

Decaf coffee is an excellent choice if you like the coffee taste but cannot drink much (it might be later in the day, or you might be pregnant, or perhaps the caffeine’s acidity is too strong for your stomach). 

02- Speciality Coffee

Speciality Coffee is high-end coffee with an 80% or higher grade depending on the whole supply chain. What’s important is how the speciality beans get grown, when they get harvested, and how they get delivered and processed.

Usually, speciality coffee commands a premium price. So, if you’re okay with the price point and appreciate high-quality products, Speciality is your most favourable option! 

03- Fair Trade Coffee 

Fair Trade is a form of certified coffee that specifies that the coffee directly helps the farming families who cultivated the coffee beans via fair prices, sustainability best practices, and community development.

By consuming fair trade coffee, you’re helping farmers and their families towards financial empowerment, healthcare, and better education.

6 Methods for Brewing Coffee

Perhaps you want to prepare coffee at home, but you’re unsure where to begin? Below, we look into the different methods of making coffee: 


01- Brewed

It’s coffee made by taking hot water and pouring it into ground coffee beans. You may prepare brewed coffee using a percolator, a filter, or a French press.

Brewed coffee (prepared through pour over techniques) is an economical, fast, and easy method of making a robustly flavoured coffee drink. 

02- French Press.

You may use French presses as a method of brewing coffee. Generally, French presses are simple to use and affordable.

Essentially, French presses come with a plunger that usually meets a strainer. Using a French press requires measuring out and pouring in the coffee grounds, adding hot water, putting on the lid and beginning timing, slowly pressing down the plunger, and decanting the coffee.

03- Aeropress

Aeropress serves a similar role to the French press.

An Aeropress is slightly costlier but still affordable. And much like the French press, they make thick, flavoured coffee. Although they brew coffee faster and are more portable,

Aeropresses are slightly more complex to operate and make less coffee. 

04- Cold Brew

Cold Brew is a form of coffee created by soaking coarse ground coffee in water (room temperature) for at least 12 hours and then filtering out the grounds to create sediment.

In comparison to coffee, cold brew contains less bitterness and lower acidity.

Cold-brew will suit you if you need something lighter, particularly on a hotter day!

05- Instant Coffee

It’s a powdered, crystal type of coffee that allows people to prepare coffee very fast by simply adding milk or hot water to the powder.

Although its taste is suggestively less good, it’s a considerable solution for a hectic morning. 

06- Nitro Coffee

Commonly known as nitro cold brew, nitro coffee is a form of cold brew coffee consisting of nitrogen gas to have a smoother, creamier taste and texture.

6 Coffee Ordering Terms And Jargon Explained

But there’s more.

Below are some terms used when ordering coffee.

    1. Skinny – this refers to coffee made with non-fat milk
    2. Shot – a single serving size
    3. Mocha – coffee made with chocolate and milk
    4. Dry – coffee with little regular milk but made with frothed milk instead
    5. Wet – In contrast, wet refers to coffee with no shortage of milk but little foam
    6. With legs – Coffee to take away, to go.

Where to get great tasting coffee in Wembley?

Next Article in the Series: Coffee – Slavery, Conflict & Hope 

Previous Article in the Series: Quick Facts About Coffee You Probably Didn’t Know.

Finally – Coffee Ordering Terms

Hopefully, this comprehensive guide has been helpful for you to get started in the coffee ordering world.

And if you’re already a fan of drinking coffee, we hope this guide will help you become a connoisseur!

If you have any comments whatsoever, please leave them in the comments below.

Don McDonald



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