Coffee Drink Glossary

A glossary of coffee and espresso related terminology.

Espresso machine pouring coffee into cups
Kathrin Ziegler/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Reading a coffee house menu can sometimes feel like reading Greek. The following coffee and espresso drink glossary will help you navigate your way through your local coffee house menu.

Café Americano: Equal parts espresso and hot water. Similar in consistency to American drip brewed coffee.

Café au Lait: One part coffee, one part steamed milk. May be served with or without milk foam.

Café Breve: A cappuccino made with half and half instead of milk.

Equal parts ​espresso, steamed half and half, and foam.

Café Latte: One part espresso, two parts steamed milk. May or may not be served with milk foam.

Café Mocha: Steamed milk, espresso, and chocolate. Can be described as a café latte with chocolate or a hot cocoa with espresso. This drink is often served topped with whipped cream.

Café Romano: A shot of espresso served with a wedge or twist of lemon.

Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. This drink contains less milk and is more concentrated than a café latte.

Crema: The thick, creamy, caramel colored foam that forms on top of a shot of espresso as it is brewed. Crema dissipates as a shot of espresso sits. Absence of crema on a shot indicates either a poorly made shot or a lack of freshness, both of which will negatively impact the flavor.

Double: Two shots of espresso or a drink made with two shots of espresso.

Espresso: A very strong, concentrated coffee made with a dark roasted bean that has been brewed using pressurized steam.

One regular shot of espresso is roughly one ounce.

Espresso Con Panna: A shot of espresso topped with whipped cream.

Foam/Froth: The foam created when milk or cream is steamed. Good foam is thick, small celled (very small bubbles) and should not dissipate easily.

Long (lungo) Shot: A shot of espresso allowed to brew longer and with more water.

A long shot is usually between 2-3 ounces in volume. During the longer extraction, more flavor compounds are extracted from the grounds giving it a slightly different flavor from a regular shot.

Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a dollop of milk foam. Macchiato means “mark” as in the espresso is marked with a dab of milk foam.

Short (ristretto) Shot: A shot of espresso allowed to brew for a shorter amount of time, yielding about 3/4 ounce of liquid. The shorter brew time restricts the compounds that are extracted from the grounds giving it a slightly different flavor from a regular shot.

Single: One shot of espresso or a drink made with one shot of espresso.

Straight: A shot of espresso served without anything added.