At your local coffee shop, do you ever see words that you don’t understand? For instance, what is java? Why is a cup of coffee called a cup of joe? Ordering a cup of coffee can feel like speaking another language! No worries, here are the meanings behind all the coffee words.
Synonyms of Coffee
Let’s start with the words that just refer to a simple cup of coffee. The first and most puzzling is joe. No one really knows how that got started, but some think that joe may derive from java. Java, besides referring to coffee, is also an island in Indonesia where coffee is grown. Decaf is decaffeinated coffee. An espresso is a dark roast coffee brewed with hot water and pressure.
Types of Coffee Drinks
Do you add something to your coffee? Doing so might result in a name change! Let’s start with milk. If you only put a small to moderate amount of steamed milk in your espresso, you are drinking a macchiato. A cappuccino has a lot of frothy steamed milk. If the proportion of hot milk to coffee is two to one, it’s cafe au lait. If the proportion is three to one, it’s a cafe latte. Add a little boiling water instead of milk and it’s a cafe americano. The addition of chocolate makes the drink a mocha. You can even serve coffee with ice cubes, but that one is easy—iced coffee. It usually includes cream and sugar.
Rather than small, medium, and large, some coffee shops use their own units of measurement. For example, at one popular chain the smallest drinks are called short and tall. Rather than being the largest, grande is overshadowed by the venti and trenta, which contain as much as 31 ounces of liquid.
With all the different coffee drinks, no wonder there’s a special name for the talented ones who serve it—baristas. They speak the language. Now, what kind of coffee will you order next?