You know coffee. At least, you think you do. You’ve been telling people how you like your coffee for years, but there’s a whole world out there full of tasting notes and terroir that goes way beyond common knowledge. Here’s a primer to get you beyond your morning Joe.
What to Order
You’ve long mastered the once-intimidating Italian favoured by coffee mongers. These are the new menu items you need to know.
Shots: Unleaded (decaf), single, double, triple for the extra jump, and quad for back-to-back meetings.
Cortado: The Spanish verb cortar means “to cut” espresso with a small shot size of steamed milk.
Australia Flat White: Consider this a mini cappuccino; otherwise an espresso drowned with one inch of foam.
San Francisco’s Gilbraltar: Served in a four-ounce cup, this cult coffee classic is the middle man between a short macchiato and tall latte.
Affogato: For the man with a sweet tooth; espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato.
Shakerato: Martini made with espresso, ice, and sugar.
Red Eye: Drip coffee with double-shot espresso for the jet setter that is jet lagged.
So, you’ve ordered a few drinks from Starbucks and now you think you’re an expert. But owning a Gold Reward Card doesn’t mean you’ve got the know-it-all to master the lingo. Here’re some terms to upgrade your bar talk.
Light Roast: Dark roast with zero oil added, fruity flavour profile and acidity.
Medium Roast: Roast with little to no oil and milk chocolate colour; lower acidity level with a mild taste.
Dark Roast: Excess oil gives a bitter taste to this black roast with low acidity.
Crema: Thick, velvet topcoat of espresso with chestnut colour and tiger tail pattern.
God Shot: The perfect espresso.
Body: Liquid mouthfeel and weight of the drink.
Heart: Distinctive tasting notes of the espresso.
Welcome to coffee cliff notes.
Acidity: Sharp, bright, and pleasing.
Salty or Sweet: Accentuates floral, chocolate or nutty flavours.
Sour: Under-extracted coffee brewed at a lower temperature (think sweet fruit).
Bitterness: Over-extracted coffee brewed at a higher temperature (think dark chocolate).
Finally, you’ve found a roast you want to take home. Next, you’ll need to know what grind is right for your chosen brewing method.
Whole Bean: Ungrounded coffee beans to grind at home.
Coarse: Perfect for French Press and Percolators.
Medium-Coarse: For the man with a fancy pour-over station.
Medium-Fine: Recommended for the drip drinker.
Fine: Espresso machines only.
Three Kinds of Iced Coffee
Because it’s more than adding some ice cubes.
Draft: Skip the lineup and order cold brew on tap, in a bottle, or milk carton.
Nitro Cold Brew: Infused with nitrogen, coffee gets texturized with a Guinness-like mouthfeel that’s thick, creamy with big body flavour.
Barrel-Aged: Coffee is the new beer. Now serving barrel-aged cold brew, there’s a subtle bourbon taste that’s refreshingly sweet and flavourful.