COFFEE CULTURE | Lost in Translation

Published in Good Taste Magazine, Cayman Islands

By Alisa Bowen

Coffee Culture | Lost in Translation

One of our writers, Alisa, giggled so hard she nearly emitted her cappuccino foam up through her nose in a coffee shop when she overheard a rushed business woman emphatically demand her order to the barista: “Give me a piping hot venti, doppio, ristretto, caffè macchiato, skinny, with wings, with room…please.” What did she just say? Did the barista get that tall order—I mean venti order? Because it was fired-off with such quick pitch, she was completely lost in translation! “Rewind, please” sheepishly muttered the café barista. (Apparently, Alisa wasn’t alone). So let’s get to the ‘skinny’ of it shall we, and translate the lingo so your next coffee ordering moment is as smooth as the chocolate syrup dripped on top of that mocha latte.

“Give me a piping hot venti, doppio, ristretto,caffè macchiato,
skinny, with wings and room, please.”


Americano: (aka Café Americano) Espresso diluted with hot water.
Americano Misto: Americano with steamed milk, similar to a latte without the foam (aka foamless), except that steamed milk and hot water are added to half-and-half (rather than just steamed milk).
Breve: (aka Espresso Breve) Espresso with half-n-half or semi-skimmed milk.
Café: The French and Spanish word for coffee.
Caffè: The Italian word for coffee.
Caffè Amaretto: Latte with almond syrup.
Caffè Con Panna: Half cup of espresso topped by a dollop of whipped cream.
Caffè Crème: Espresso and heavy cream.
Caffè Corretto: Espresso with a dash of liquor.
Caffè Freddo: Chilled espresso over ice.
Caffè Latte: Espresso with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk. (aka café au lait in French, café con leche in Spanish or simply referred to as a latte).
Caffè Lungo: Same as an Americano.
Caffè Macchiatto: Espresso “marked” with a teaspoon or two of foamed milk.
Caffè Medici: A doppio poured over chocolate syrup, orange (and sometimes lemon) peel, usually topped with whipped cream.
Caffè Mocha: Latte with chocolate.
Cake in a Cup: Double cream, double sugar.
Cappuccino: A shot of espresso with foamed milk ladled on top.
Doppio: The hip way to request a double (double espresso shot 1-2oz).
Double Double: Double cream, double sugar (aka Cake in a Cup).
Espresso Breve: Espresso with half-n-half or other semi-skimmed milk.
Espresso Macchiato: Espresso with just a dollop of steamed milk on top.
Foamless: Without foamed milk.
Frappuccino: A recipe concoction developed by Starbucks, basically an iced or chilled cappuccino.
Grande: 16oz cup.
Harmless: If you want a decaf espresso, just say you want it “harmless”.
Latteccino: A latte with more froth or a cappuccino with more milk.
Mochaccino: A cappuccino with chocolate.
No Fun: Refers to a decaf latte (aka harmless).
On a Leash: A to go cup with handles.
Ristretto: Concentrated serving of espresso, more intense flavour, boldness and less bitterness
Single: Espresso made from a single shot, approximately 1oz.
Skinny: Made with non-fat or skimmed milk.
Skinny Harmless: A non-fat, decaf latte.
Soy Latte: Latte made with soy milk (also called a Vegan Latte).
Tall: 12oz cup.
Unleaded: Decaf.
Venti: Italian word meaning 20oz drink.
Whipless: Without whipped cream.
With Legs: Cup with handles.
With Room: Space left at top of cup for either adding cream or preventing spills.
With Wings: Cup with handles.

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  • © 2012-2020 Alisa Marie Coccari All Rights Reserved

    All writing is copyright of Permission to use any such content will be both requested/granted in writing. Photography will only be used with written permission from the photographer and/or source. Alisa Marie Coccari has also been published under the nom de plume, Alisa Bowen.
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