A Dummy’sGuide to Ordering Coffee
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 15:10
It is the savior toward finishing a 10-page paper that’s due the next day that you haven’t started. It is the elixir that keeps you from dozing and drooling during your 8 a.m. class.
It helps get you through an all-nighter when studying for a test. It is an effective and casual way to ask someone you like out without being too serious.
Coffee: the best nondrug out there for college students, or humanity for that matter.
However, unless you aren’t a coffee-drinking connoisseur, you don’t own a coffee pot or you don’t drink home-brewed coffee, the process for ordering a coffee at a coffee shop can be daunting. It may even require just as much thought process as actually writing your paper or building up the nerve to ask out your crush.
Once you enter the coffee shop, you find yourself standing in front of experienced baristas, all clad in aprons and wide-rimmed glasses, asking what you’d like to order.
The gigantic menu with what seems to have thousands of different coffee options is staring you in the face and laughing at you. Trying to read as quickly as possible, all of the names and descriptions begin sounding and looking the same.
Flustered, you order the last thing you read, which may not have been what you originally wanted in the first place. But because you are unaware of the options out there and the differences between a latte, mocha or cappuccino, for instance, you are stuck sipping a drink that is too sweet or not sweet enough.
Therefore, here is a list of popular coffee shop drinks and the differences between them. That way, you won’t make a fool of yourself when you try ordering a “mocha latte” and the barista ends up asking which one you’d like: a mocha or a latte.
Espresso is a very small amount of coffee that is very strong and packed with caffeine. Generally speaking, a single espresso shot consists of roughly one fluid ounce but contains just as much caffeine as a full cup of coffee. Most of the time if you are ordering a latte or a mocha, a small-sized cup will contain one espresso shot, a medium will have two shots and a large will consist of three shots. However, this will vary depending on the coffee shop, so ask the barista how many shots come in the different sizes available.
A latte is simply espresso, steamed milk and a tiny bit of milk foam on the top. It is common, however, to add a syrup flavor to give your drink added sweetness. When ordering a latte, don’t ask for chocolate syrup -- this will turn it into a mocha, which is the next drink on the list.
A mocha consists of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup and milk foam. Some coffee shops substitute the foam on the top of the drink with whipped cream. Mochas can also be made with different types of chocolate, such as white, milk or dark chocolate. As with the latte, additional syrups may be added to the drink to make it a specialty mocha instead of a plain mocha. Also, you may also see the word “Borgia” on a menu, but don’t worry: It’s just a fancy name for a mocha with an extra shot of espresso.
Don’t order a cappuccino thinking it will turn out like the cappuccinos you find at a gas station. A real cappuccino consists of a single or double shot of espresso, a tiny bit of steamed milk – not nearly as much as would go with a latte -- and milk foam. That’s it. It usually doesn’t come with any flavoring – this is a drink for the plain espresso lover.
Café au lait or mocha au lait
Unless you know French, the words “au lait” will be utterly confusing. The phrase translated literally means “coffee with milk.” Therefore, if you order a café au lait, you will more than likely be ordering equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. If you order a mocha au lait, it is the same as a café au lait except it is made with steamed chocolate milk.