Espresso Yourself

Standing in line at the café. Waiting your turn to order while checking your phone every minute, calculating how much time you have to get to class if you ordered your coffee right now. And then the person in front of you steps up to the counter and says, “I’ll have a venti five-shot, half-calf, no-foam vanilla latte at 120 degrees.”

They’re kidding right? So pretentious. Do they even know what any of what they just asked for means? After you tack on the extra time it’ll take the barista to make your drink because of the insane order ahead of you, you start to ask, “I wonder if that combination tastes good.” But then you walk up to counter and the idea of ordering beyond your typical iced coffee freaks you out because what even is a doppio anyway?

Navigating the world of coffee can be overwhelming, as the options go way beyond just decaf and regular. Valley broke down the several types of espresso drinks, so keep scrolling for a little caffeine vocabulary lesson…

Espresso: A shot of caffeine.

Café Americano: If you’re the type of person that drinks their coffee nearly black, this is the choice for you. This is a “no frills” order, consisting of only shots of espresso that are poured over hot water, leaving a thin layer of crema— aka foam— on top. This is pretty much a watered down version of espresso.

Café Latte: If you’re new to the scene of espresso drinks, a latte would be worth trying. Consisting of mostly milk, one shot of espresso and topped off with foam, this drink has a frothy consistency without the overpowering taste of the espresso.

Flat White: Two shots of espresso with micro-foamed milk creates a wonderfully creamy, smooth texture.

Cappuccino: Espresso, light layer of steamed milk, topped with foam. It’s not as creamy as a flat white, instead, it has an airy texture. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top for a spicy, warm enhancer.

Mocha: Chocolate lovers this one is for you! If you’re looking to try something sweet, opt for this espresso, chocolate, and steamed milk combination.

Macchiato: A shot or two of espresso topped off with a dot of foam at the center. Definitely on the stronger side of the espresso spectrum, as there is less milk than you would find in a latte or cappuccino.

Doppio: Meaning “two” in Italian which means you should expect two shots of espresso. Having a high level of caffeine, this order is sure to keep you energized for quite some time.

Ristretto: This is a highly concentrated shot of espresso. This drink is definitely not for the faint of heart.

If you’re still unsure about what an espresso drink will taste like or which combinations are popular, ask the barista! They make dozens of drinks a day and are sure to have the knowledge you need to help make ordering out of your comfort zone a little less stressful.