Top 20 Coffee Terms to Know

“Affogato, please!”

“I’ll take a large Americano, extra hot.”

“Caramel Macchiato, for me”

You’ve been here before. Standing in line behind someone who is ordering that drink. You know, it’s the one that you don’t really understand. How can a drink be extra hot? What’s the difference between an americano and a macchiato? And why does the Barista always ask me if I want an extra shot of espresso?


We get it. Coffee isn’t always easy to understand. We’ve had the opportunity to travel and enjoy some of the best coffee in the world and at Javesca we want you to enjoy it, too. We didn’t start out knowing everything about coffee and honestly, we still don’t. But today, we want to share with you the top ten coffee terms that we believe will take you from beginner to coffee regular.

1. Espresso

    Espresso is not a type of bean or roast, it can be made with any type of coffee by forcing hot, pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans.

    2. Extra-Shot

      An extra-shot is an added shot of espresso to a drink making it stronger and more caffeinated.

      3. Latte

        A latte is made by combining milk and espresso. First, the espresso is poured into the coffee cup, and then milk is added until the cup is full. The milk is velvety in texture.

        4. Mocha

          A drink composed of espresso and steamed milk with added chocolate.

          5. Americano

            This common drink is made by pouring a shot of espresso into a coffee cup and then adding hot water.

            6. Macchiato

            Unlike some popular coffee chain drinks, the traditional macchiato is made with espresso and then topped with steamed milk.

            7. Cappuccino

              Cappuccinos are made by pouring espresso into a cup and then filling it with steamed milk and foam. If you order a "dry" cappuccino, you get more foam. The same goes for a "wet" cappuccino, which will have more milk.

              8. Frappuccino

                This term is trademarked by Starbucks but is well known other places as a blended drink. Frappuccinos consist of a coffee or cream base, blended with ice and other various ingredients, usually topped with whipped cream and sauces.

                9. Affogato

                  A scoop of ice cream (typically vanilla) with a shot of espresso on top. It’s as good as it sounds.

                  10. Cold Brew

                    It involves soaking coarsely ground beans in cold water for around 12 hours. When the coffee is steeped, the coffee grounds are filtered out. The remaining coffee concentrate is diluted with milk or water. It is then used for iced coffee.

                    11. Drip

                      This may be the most familiar coffee term! Made with a coffee maker, filter, or French press, this way of making coffee involves ground beans in a filter and pouring water over it.

                      12. Pour-over

                        Pour-over coffee is made by pouring hot water over grounds. The grounds are placed in a filter in a pour-over cone, and hot water is slowly poured over them. It is a simple and clean way that brings out the coffee's flavor.

                        13. Brewing

                          Any method of making a coffee beverage from water and roasted coffee grounds.

                          14. Blend

                            This is the term for a mixture of two or more coffee varieties.

                            15. Roast

                              This refers to heating coffee beans until they darken. Roasting develops the coffee flavors which can be extracted by brewing.

                              16. Dark Roast

                                A term used for coffee beans roasted up to or into second crack resulting in a stronger roast flavor.

                                17. Body

                                  This refers to the feel of the coffee’s texture on the palate.

                                  18. Grind

                                    The particle size of ground coffee. The recommended grind depends on brewing method.

                                    19. Direct Trade

                                      This is a new way of purchasing coffee that involved buying directly from the farmer resulting in a higher revenue for the farmer without having to pay a 3rd party organization. Very common in the specialty coffee industry.

                                      20. Single Origin

                                        A single origin coffee is a coffee that comes from a single place. This term can be used broadly, ranging from coffee sourced from a single farm to coffee that is coming from a group of farms in the same area.


                                        We hope that after reading through these terms you feel better acquainted with common coffee language! Here’s to your next coffee run!

                                        If you find this blog helpful or it has sparked an interest in coffee consider joining our Coffee 101- From Bean to Cup class. This $40 class allows members to sample different brews and learn about the intricate way coffee goes from farms to the cup in your hand.