By Ciera Miller
Have you ever gone into a Starbucks and stared at the different names for things? Like Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, Macchiato. Why do they have such fancy names and how do you say them? Why aren’t they in the same part of the menu that iced coffee is? They’re all coffee…right? Don’t worry, they’re all still coffee drinks, but they’re made with espresso instead of the way you make coffee from grounds in a coffee pot.
Let’s start with Espresso. Espresso means “pressed out” in Italian, so when you ask for an espresso, you’re asking for a steam pressed version of coffee that can be made in under a minute given the right machine. Normally, it’s pretty small because in an espresso, it’s just one shot of the coffee itself. It’s also called “short black”, if you ever want to impress anyone at a coffee shop with your detailed knowledge. You can ask for a double or more espresso as well, and they also have fun names; a double is also called a “doppio”.
If there’s a short black, is there a long black? You guessed it! A long black is also the fancy name for an Americano, which is pronounced like our country until you get to the ‘c’. Instead of American, it’s Americon + oh. Easy enough. An Americano also has only one shot of espresso in it, but it also includes hot water for about ⅔ of your cup. It gives the same effect that normal drip coffee does on your taste buds so that it tastes like a normal ol’ cup of joe, but it’s made with the steamed espresso instead of the brewed coffee grounds.
But what if you wanted pair steamed milk foam with your espresso instead of water to get a more creamy taste with the harsher taste of the espresso? Instead, you would order a Macchiato. Ignore every English language class you’ve had when trying to pronounce this for ch- doesn’t sound like ch and the ‘I’ in -ia doesn’t sound like you’re referring to yourself in the first person. Macchiato instead sounds like mock-ee-auto. A favorite amongst my friends at both the Mantor Cafe and Starbucks is the caramel macchiato because the milk foam mixed with the caramel makes the coffee taste like ice cream, and a little part of Heaven.
And how about just normal milk with your espresso, a sort of French touch? A little different and perhaps a little easier to pronounce, this blend is called a Latté. Again, don’t listen to your inherent English and say “late”. Latté is pronounced like lot-ay, so embrace your inner Fonzie and add a little ay sound at the end, and you know you want a lot of coffee to get through this exhausting Wednesday, so indicate that you want a lot by saying so. And to brighten up your day, ask for a little art in your latté. Some places will make a heart out of crema (milk foam) or a tulip, but if you ask the right barista on the right day, she might be able to make you a little cat or a little dog.
The last but certainly not the least of these Italian named coffee drinks is also sometimes decorated with coffee art. A Cappuccino is sort of the perfect mix of a Latté and a Macchiato because you get the espresso featured in both, but you get a little milk and milk foam as well. The espresso is on the bottom, and the milk is on top of that, so at first, it seems like a Latté. But then you carefully drip milk foam on top, the Macchiato’s signature, and voila! The perfect blend. But how do you say it? It’s self-explanatory until you get to the double c in the middle. So far, you have cappuh, and then (hear me out) you should think about men’s casual pants—chinos. Put them together and you get cappuhchino, another perfect blend.
These aren’t the only Italian names you’ll be finding at coffee shops, but they are some of the more popular ones. And if you think any of them sound interesting but you’re afraid to try them on their own, add some flavor to them! A mocha (moke-uh) is just a Latté with chocolate in it, and a crowd favorite like the caramel Macchiato. Vanilla always pairs well with a Cappuccino. Or you could always just grab the iced coffee you know and love as well. But at least now you know what those Italian names mean when you’re staring up at the menu at your local coffee shop, and you know how to pronounce them if you ever feel like trying them.