We’ve all been there — it’s 7 a.m., and all you want is a tall drip when the person in front of you boldly states, “I’d like a decaf, triple, grande, soy, three-pump mocha, no-whip mocha.”

You’re supposed to be impressed, but really you just feel inferior.

As a former barista, I can say that one of the most difficult aspects of serving these high-maintenance drinks is that most customers don’t remember what they ordered by the time they go to pick up their drink.

So, in an effort to promote a more efficient cafe experience, here are the coffee lingo basics:

A latte = milk + espresso + syrup flavor (optional)

A mocha = milk + espresso + chocolate + whipped cream

An americano = espresso + water

An espresso macchiato = espresso + a dollop of foamed milk

How to decode a drink

Often times, the type of drink (latte, mocha, etc.) is the last thing a barista calls out. Instead, the barista starts with all of the modifications to the original beverage. The order goes:

1. Size

2. Syrup (number of pumps if different than standard and flavor)

3. Milk (if different than standard, which is usually 2 percent)

4. Custom (such as extra hot, no foam, extra foam, etc.)

5. Drink type

So, a tall, two-pump vanilla, non-fat, no-foam latte is simply that — it’s a regular latte with an added flavor (vanilla — but not too much vanilla) with non-fat milk instead of 2 percent. Oh, and they don’t want any foam.

It’s not so hard after all.

In my slideshow, I demonstrate how to make a vanilla mocha — a drink that sounds somewhat customized yet familiar.

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