Coffee Dictionary

Acidity: Acidity refers to the mouthfeel of coffee which corresponds to the amount of time a particular coffee’s flavors lingers on the palate. Typically, the higher the acidity, the quicker the flavor leaves the palate.

Americano: Also known as a Caffe Americano. An espresso diluted with hot water, ideal for the lactose-intolerant.

Americano Misto: An Americano with steamed milk, at least at Starbucks. Similar to a latte without the foam (a Foamless), except that steamed milk and hot water are added half-and-half (rather than just steamed milk).

A Shot in the Dark: See ‘Hammerhead’.

Black coffee: A drip brew, percolated or French press style coffee served straight, with no milk.

Barista: Trained Espresso bartender preparing specialty coffee.

Blade Grinder: This type of grinder will grind coffee by way of a spinning blade. While effective, it results in unevenly ground coffee which will yield inconsistently brewed coffee.

Blending: Blending is the art of using multiple coffee beans/roast styles to accomplish a satisfying cup. In addition to creating wonderfully unique coffee, it can sometimes allow roasters to maintain low costs and keep a consistent flavor profile.

Body: Refers to the mouthfeel of coffee on the palate corresponding to the perceived ‘weight’ of the beverage.

Burr Grinder: This type of grinder precisely crushes coffee to uniform size depending on the setting it is given. The advantage of this is consistency in the brewing.

Breve: Short for Espresso Breve. Espresso with half-n-half or semi-skimmed milk.

Café Au Lait: French style, with coffee and boiled milk poured simultaneously into a cup.

Caffe Breva: A cappuccino made with half and half milk, instead of whole milk. The theory is that the mix gives a richer, creamier flavor. You should be aware, before trying this for yourself, that half and half is much harder to foam.

Café Con Leche: 1 1/2 ounce espresso with enough steamed milk to fill an 8-ounce cup.

Caffè Amaretto: Latte with almond syrup.

Caffè Con Panna: Demitasse of espresso topped by a dollop of whipped cream. Also called an Espresso Con Panna.

Caffè Corretto: Also known an Espresso Corretto. Corretto means “corrected.” Refers to adding cognac or some other liqueur.

Caffè Creme: Also known as an Espresso Creme. 1 1/2 ounce of espresso with an ounce of heavy cream. Also referred to as a “Café Crème.”

Caffè Freddo: Chilled espresso in a glass, sometimes with ice.

Caffè Latte: Also known simply as a Latte. An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk. The most popular espresso drink. Also the default espresso: if you ask for a “double tall,” for instance, you’ll get a double tall latte.

Caffè Lungo: Same as an Americano.

Caffè Macchiatto: An espresso “marked” with a teaspoon or two of foamed milk (“macchiatto” means “marked”).

Caffè Medici: A doppio poured over chocolate syrup and orange (and sometimes lemon) peel, usually topped with whipped cream. Formerly, the Last Exit, now gone, was one of the few places in town where you could get one of these, although I’ve heard recently that you can get a Caffe Medici at the Pearl, a coffee house also located on the Ave (where else?) which has been described to me as having “the spirit of the Last Exit more than the Last Exit in its final years.”

Caffè Mocha: Also known simply as a Mocha. A latte with chocolate. Methods of preparation can vary, some using steamed chocolate milk, others adding chocolate to a latte. One variation tops it with whipped cream, with cocoa powder as a garnish.
Caffè Ristretto: A short shot, but with the same amount of coffee as a full shot, just concentrated.
Cake in a Cup: Double cream, double sugar. Also called a Double Double.
Cappuccino: A shot of straight espresso with foamed milk ladled on top.
Caramel: A latte with caramel syrup.
Cher Sugar: With Equal.
Crema: The tan-colored foam that forms on top of an espresso shot, as a result of the brewing process. The crema is composed of minuscule air bubbles composed of espresso film and forms a “cap” that protects the espresso proper from being exposed to the air.
Demitasse: Small cup for serving espresso straight, no chaser.
Doppio: The hip way to request a double.
Double: An espresso made from a double shot, approximately 1 1/2 – 2 ounces.
Double Cup: An espresso served in two cups, just in case one cup might be too hot to handle.
Double Double: Double cream, double sugar.
Double, or Double Shot: Just as it sounds, this is two shots of espresso mixed in with the regular amount of additional ingredients. So, for example, if you were going to make a double hammerhead, you would put two shots of espresso into a coffee cup, and fill it with the drip blend, rather than the
usual single espresso shot.
Drip: A regular coffee.
Dry: Sans steamed milk (just foamed milk).
Espresso: Approximately a one-ounce shot of espresso made from Arabica beans, as opposed to Robusta beans, which are used in making regular coffee. Arabica beans, by the way, have about half the caffeine of Robusta beans. The word comes from the brewing method — hot water is pressed by means of a piston or pump through finely ground, firmly packed coffee.
Espresso Breve: Espresso with half-n-half or other semi-skimmed milk.
Espresso Con Panna: Your basic standard espresso with a shot of whipped cream on top.
Espresso Lungo: This one uses a long pull, to squeeze the max from the bean. Some think it gives a stronger brew, others just a more bitter one.
Espresso Macchiato: Espresso with just a dollop of steamed milk on top.
Espresso Ristretto: A shorter or “restricted” pull. Creates a thicker drink.
Foamless: Sans foamed milk.
Frappe: A big favorite in parts of Europe and Latin America, especially during the summer months. Originally a cold espresso, it has more recently been prepared putting 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee with sugar, water and ice. The brew is placed in a long glass with ice, and milk if you like, turning it into a big coffee milkshake.
Frappuccino: A concoction developed by Starbucks, basically an iced or chilled cappuccino. Various recipes for this are floating around the Web (the actual recipe is a secret). Starbucks has also come out with a bottled version. From what I’ve been able to gather, it is coffee beverage made out of either espresso or regular coffee, milk, sugar, ice, and other miscellaneous optional ingredients. The bottled version may be served chilled (no ice). Also called a Frap (or Frappe).
French Roast: Darkly roasted coffee with high amounts of oil on the surface of the bean
Grande: 16-ounce cup.
Granita: Latte with frozen milk.
Greek Coffee: See Turkish Coffee.
Green Beans: Coffee which has made it to all levels of processing except the actual roasting. Green Beans will store well for years without loss in quality.
Half-Caf: Half decaf.
Hammerhead: A real caffeine fix, this drink consists of a shot of espresso in a regular-sized coffee cup, which is then filled with drip coffee. Also known as a Shot in the Dark, although many cafes rename the drink further to suit their own needs.
Harmless: If you want a decaf espresso, just say you want it “harmless.”
Iced coffee: A regular coffee served with ice, and sometimes milk and sugar.
Indian (Madras) filter coffee: A common brew in the south of India, Indian filter coffee is made from rough ground, dark-roasted coffee Arabica or Peaberry beans. It’s drip-brewed for several hours in a traditional metal coffee filter before being served. The ratio of coffee to milk is
usually 3:1.
Instant coffee (or soluble coffee): These grounds have usually been freeze-dried and turned into soluble powder or coffee granules. Basically, instant coffee is for those that prefer speed and convenience over quality. Though some prefer instant coffee to the real thing, there’s just no accounting for
Irish coffee: A coffee spiked with Irish whiskey, with cream on top. An alcoholic beverage that’s best kept clear of the kids, but warms you up plenty on a cold winter night.
Java Jacket: Device used to wrap around paper coffee cups to prevent you from burning your hand on the thin cup.
Kaldi: Legend has it that this goat herder discovered coffee. He was led to it by noticing his goats frolicking around a particular tree.
Kopi Tubruk: An Indonesian-style coffee that is very similar to Turkish and Greek in that it’s very thick, but the coarse coffee grounds are actually boiled together with a solid piece of sugar. The islands of Java and Bali tend to drink this brew.
Latte: The default espresso. Ask for a “half-caf,” for instance, and you’ll get half-decaf latte. Short for Caffe Latte. An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk.
Latte Puné: A mini-latte with a full shot of espresso. Only served at the Uptown Espresso, I believe.
Latteccino: A latte with more froth or a cappuccino with more milk (take your pick).
Lungo: Italian for long. Used to describe method of pulling a shot of espresso. Results in more ounces of the beverage.
Macchiato: Short for Caffè Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato.
Melya: A coffee mixed with 1 teaspoon of unsweetened powdered cocoa and drizzled honey. Sometimes served with cream.
Mocha: Short for Cafe Mocha.
Mochaccino: A cappuccino with chocolate.
Nico: A breve with orange syrup and cinnamon.
No Fun: I’d originally understood this to refer to a decaf, non-fat latte (also called a skinny harmless or a why bother). Recently, however, I’ve been told that it refers to a decaf latte (or a harmless).
Oliang/Oleng: A stronger version of Thai coffee, Oliang is a blend of coffee and other ingredients such as corn, soy beans, and sesame seeds. Traditionally brewed with a “tung tom kah fe”, or a metal ring with a handle and a muslin-like cloth bag
On a Leash: To go, with handles.
Pull: 1.The act of preparing espresso. 2. Part of espresso machine which includes the filter basket and the handle.
Quad: Four shots, a double-double, in other words.
Rice Dream Latte: A latte made with Rice Dream, instead of milk.
Ristretto: Short for Espresso Ristretto.
Second Crack: Point in the roasting process where steam builds up in the bean and oils begin to come to the surface. At this stage, ‘tipping’ occurs and little black chips come off the bean.
Shade Grown: Organic method of growing coffee which is good for the environment and good for the coffee. It employs the use of growing trees which provide natural habitats for birds. The birds, in turn, eat the insects and this eliminates the need for pesticides. See Primer on Shade Grown Coffee.
Short: 8-ounce cup.
Shot: Equivalent to a single. A double would be two shots.
Shot in the Dark: A regular coffee with a shot of espresso in it. Also called a Speed Ball. I’ve also been told that in L.A. this is called a Red Eye, but have no idea if that term is used in Seattle or not. Apparently, this is also referred to in some quarters as a Bellman, Boilerhouse, Depth Charge, and Cafe M.F., although I have no idea whether any of these terms are used locally in the Seattle area or not.
Single: An espresso made from a single shot, approximately 3/4 – 1 ounce.
Skinny: If you want a latte made with non-fat or skim milk, just say you want it “skinny.”
Skinny Harmless: A non-fat, decaf latte. Also called a Why Bother.
Soy Latte: A latte made with soy milk, instead of milk. I’ve been told this is also sometimes referred to as a Vegan Latte.
Speed Ball: A cup of regular coffee with espresso. Obviously taken from the drug-slang term for a shot of heroin mixed with cocaine.
Tall: 12-ounce cup.
Tamp: Action of packing espresso into the espresso pull.
Tamper: Device used for packing espresso uniformly into the ‘pull’.
Thunder Thighs: Supposedly, a double-tall mocha made with whole milk and topped with extra whipped cream.
Triple: Three shots, for those for whom a double just doesn’t offer enough of a jolt.
Turkish Coffee (also known as Greek Coffee): Made by boiling finely ground coffee and water together to form a muddy, thick coffee mix. In fact, the strongest Turkish coffee can almost keep a spoon standing upright. It’s often made in what’s known as an Ibrik, a long-handled, open, brass or copper pot. It is then poured, unfiltered, into tiny Demitasse cups, with the fine grounds included. It’s then left to settle for a while before serving, with sugar and spices often added to the cup.
Unleaded: Decaf.
Venti: A 20 oz. cup at Starbucks, apparently (taller than a tall, I guess).
Viennesse Roast: Very dark roasted coffee with high amounts of oil on the surface of the bean.
Vietnamese style coffee: A drink made by dripping hot water though a metal mesh, with the intense brew then poured over ice and sweetened, condensed milk. This process uses a lot more coffee grounds and is thus a lot slower than most kinds of brewing.
Wet: Sans foamed milk (steamed milk only).
Whipless: Sans whipped cream.
White coffee: A black coffee with milk added.
Why Bother: A decaf, non-fat (or skim milk) latte, or skinny harmless.
With Legs: A cup with handles.
With Room: With space left at top of cup for either adding cream or preventing spills (while driving 70 mph down the freeway with a latte between one’s legs!).
With Wings: A cup with handles.
Without: Sans foam.