Coffee used to be simple affair. Kettle on, coffee in, splash of Arla Cravendale milk – finito. But with so many concoctions on offer, with evermore exotic names, knowing what to ask for when you get to the front of the queue can be a minefield.
To make sure you get your perfect cup, we’re here to crack the coffee code. It’s not as confusing as it first seems, as the main difference is the coffee to milk ratio.
Become fluent in café lingo with our coffee menu guide, so you can order your favourite cup of joe no matter where you are in the world.
Also known as …
- Caffe Americano (Italy)
- Long black (Australia/New Zealand)
This is a coffee without any milk at all – so essentially, Americano is just a fancy name for a black coffee. There is a story behind it though. In the Second World War when American soldiers were in Europe, many of them watered-down their black coffee to make it taste like the coffee from home – and so the Americano was born
Strong and short, this coffee-shot isn’t for the faint hearted. Designed for when you need a caffeine boost, espressos are most popular in Italy where coffee drinkers order at the bar, drink and will be on their way again in under ten minutes
Take a closer look at the colour of the foam layer on top - the darker it is, the stronger the espresso.
Three is the magic number for this cafe favourite – cappuccinos are one third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third foamed milk. They’re stronger than a latte, with a fluffy foam topping made from whole milk . Dust with chocolate sprinkles or a little cinnamon to make it extra sweet.
The cortado is a strong espresso shot topped with hot, foamy milk. This is a short Spanish favourite, a sweeter version of the classic espresso, and perfect when you need a quick boost of energy. It’s like a cappuccino shot – the perfect morning pick-me-up when the intensity of the espresso can feel too much.
Also known as …
- Caffe latté (Italy)
- Café au lait (France)
- Café con leche (Spain)
It’s long, sweet and milky – but every latte starts with a strong shot of espresso. Then add lashings of steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top, creating a long coffee that’s perfect for sipping when you’re catching up with friends. Lattes are naturally sweet-tasting thanks to all that creamy milk, but you can up the sweetness even more with popular syrup flavourings like caramel and vanilla.
Tip: If you order a latte in Italy, you’ll just end up with a large cup of steamed milk. For the coffee you love, ask for a ‘caffe latté.
Brewed up in Australia, the flat white is a smaller version of a latte and one of the most popular ‘it’ coffees on the scene. With more coffee and less milk, it’s stronger tasting and less sweet than a traditional latte. The coffee beans are topped with a layer of steamed milk, known as microfoam, giving it the distinctive silky texture.
Part chocolate, part coffee and topped with delicious foamy milk, a mocha is a sweet take on a tasty cup of coffee. Created in the USA, the blend of espresso, hot chocolate and milk is a real treat. Top yours with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles for even more sweetness.
Like a baby latte, a piccolo is a smooth shot of espresso blended with smooth, steamed milk. It’s similar to a Cortado and a Macchiato but has a smoother texture, with the added milk hitting that sweet spot.
A macchiato is a single shot of espresso with a drop of foamed milk on top. It’s basically the Italian version of the Cortado. It takes its name from the Italian word for stained (as the coffee has been stained with a little milk), allowing the rich espresso flavours to filter through for a stronger taste.
Don’t be phased by the complex coffee menu – with our decoded list of delicious brews, ordering your perfect cup of coffee just got a whole lot easier. Why not whip up some of your own creations at home when you follow our recipes?