Cappuccino, Latte, Ristretto or Macchiato?

It used to be a coffee order was accompanied by either ‘black’ or ‘with milk’ and a number of sugars.  However, more recently and with the growing popularity of coffee, the number of different coffee styles we, the consumer, are now able to order has become too many to remember.  If this wasn’t difficult enough to remember our high street friends such as Starbucks and Costa have decided the terms small, medium and large are not good enough for their coffee menus and we now have tall, grande and venti to deal with.  The coffee ordering process has quite simply become a stressful experience. 


So this week we have decided to look at the mysterious coffee shop dialect and simplify a few of the most common terms for those who just need their morning caffine fix.


1. Espresso - Let's start with the basics. Most people know what an espresso is, but in case you needed a reminder, espresso is a coffee drink made by forcing hot, pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans. This creates a very concentrated drink, often with a layer of caramel-colored foam on top — the creme.

Espresso, however, is not a type of coffee bean or roast; while espresso is commonly made with darker roasts, it can be made with any type of coffee beans.

2. Americano - On the list of simple coffee drinks is the Americano, made by pouring a shot of espresso into a coffee cup and then adding hot water. Americanos can be made with one, two, or even three shots if you're feeling feisty. The name is said to back to WWII, when Americans ordered coffee in Italian cafes. Because they wanted coffee that was similar to what they drank back home — not the typical Italian espresso — they would have the baristas add hot water to dilute it.

3. Doppio - You could order a "double shot of espresso" but why not just go with the Italian name instead?

4. Ristretto - An espresso ristretto — literally "restricted espresso" — is essentially a "short" shot, even more concentrated than a normal espresso. Many coffee aficionados believe that this to be perfect espresso.

5. Latte - A latte is made by pouring milk into the espresso. First the espresso is poured into the coffee cup, and then warm milk is added until the cup is full.

6. Macchiato - If you are looking for a coffee drink with much less milk, you can opt for the macchiato. This is an espresso with a little bit of steamed milk — in Italian, "macchiato" means "marked," so it's an espresso marked with milk. This is good if you want the intensity of the espresso flavor, but cut just a little bit with the soft feel of milk.

7. Cappuccino - A cappuccino is in between a macchiato and a latte. It is made by pouring espresso into the coffee cup, which is then filled with steamed milk and foam. If you order a "dry" cappuccino, you will get one with more foam. The same goes for a "wet" cappuccino, which will have more milk.

8. Pour Over - Pour over is exactly what it sounds like: the coffee is made by pouring hot water over grounds. The grounds are placed in a filter in a pour over cone, and hot water is slowly poured over them. It is a simple and clean way that brings out the coffee's flavor in a very distinct way. It's also a fun one to experiment with at home.

9. Single Origin - A single origin coffee is a coffee that comes from a single place. But this phrase can be used broadly, with some brands using it to define coffee that comes from a single farm, and other defining coffee that comes from a group of farms in the same area. Some roasters focus on a single section of a single farm. Want to know more about where your coffee came from? That's what your barista is there for. Just ask!

10. Blend - At specialty coffee shops, especially places that roast their own coffee, you may have a choice of what type of coffee you would like to drink. A blend is exactly what it sounds like: a mixture of two or more coffee varieties. Roasters will make these blends depending on how the beans will be made. A blend intended for espresso may be darker than a blend intended for a pour over, for example.