Have you ever gone into a coffee shop and stared at the gigantic menu of fine print wishing they would just write it in plain English? Well, I hope I can help! How about a crash course in Italian & French? If that sounds like too much work, we’ll just stick to the latte lingo for now. You’ll be ordering that tall mocha breve con panna in no time.

First, the basics, most espresso beverages have a base of milk. Most of the espresso beverages that we serve have a milk base. “Latte” is whole milk in Italian. Half & half is known as “breve”. Heavy cream is “creme” while adding whip cream is spoken as “con panna”. Making a drink “dry” means only foamed milk with no liquid. And don’t forget the “almond or soy latte” which uses one of these instead of whole milk.

Espresso macchiato made with half and half.

Then you add the espresso or caffe. One shot is equal to one ounce and usually served in a small cup known as a demitasse cup, which is French for half-cup. An espresso macchiato is the shot of espresso with foam on top, and espresso crème or caffe creme is espresso with an ounce of heavy cream.

Whether it be a shot of espresso or a shot of a flavored syrup, one shot is one ounce. In a short (small) drink, there will usually be one shot of espresso. A tall (medium) would have two shots of espresso, which is called a double or doppio. The large size would contain a triple or three shots. And for the daring, a quad would be four shots.

  • caffe latte is steamed whole milk and espresso with a topping of foam
  • caffe breve would be steamed half and half with espresso, very rich. It is okay to leave off caffe (i.e. I’ll have a latte) because they assume you are not asking for just a cup of steamed milk, but need some caffeine to get you going!
  • A chocolate based espresso drink is known as a mocha or better yet, a mocha caffe latte.
  • cappuccino is usually 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, and 1/3 foam
  • dry cappuccino is made with espresso and foam only
  • Caffe au lait is drip brewed coffee with steamed milk
  • An Americano is an espresso with hot water; similar to drip coffee, but with a little different flavor
  • A skinny drink means no fat or skim milk is used to save a few calories
  • Most coffee shops also cold brew coffee, which is coffee that is brewed with cold water over 12-18 hours period

Some common additions and subtractions are con panna, with whip cream. No foam is just as it sounds because a normal latte will have foam at the top, which some people do not enjoy. Half-caf, one shot regular and one-shot decaf. Decaf, all shots are decaf. With room is to leave room at the top for milk or cream. Add a shot of (insert flavored syrup), can be for any flavored syrup such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut.

Now, let’s put it all together. Start with the size, then you can specify iced (if you don’t, they will assume hot), then the drink, and finally any additions/subtractions. Okay, so we could order a tall latte con panna – translation – a medium cup of steamed whole milk, two shots of espresso, with whip cream. Short dry cappuccino is the small cappuccino with only foam. And now – my current favorite drink – a medium, iced, skinny latte with Sugar Free Vanilla & sprinkle of cinnamon.

So, remember to enjoy life, one cup at a time.

This post is adopted from an article written by STEFANIE SPENCER on INeedCoffee.com

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