Coffee 101

Even the most urbane coffee drinkers can sometimes be stumped when hearing some of the esoteric coffee orders in LA. Maybe it’s time to learn once and for all, what is a flat white? With national coffee day coming up on September 29th and all the coffee options on Larchmont, it seems the time is right to get educated on the coffee lingo and what it really means. It’s also worth noting that some research suggests that there may even be health benefits associated with drinking coffee, from helping prevent diabetes to lowering the risk of liver disease.


Here are our coffee Cliffs Notes:

The real confusion really comes from all the drink modifications. So, let’s start there.

Wet: Very little foam, if any at all.

Dry: Mostly, or all foam. In the case of a latte, dry just means extra foam, but in the case of a cappuccino, it usually means all foam, no milk at all, in which case the barista scoops the foam instead of free pouring it.

Bone Dry: Extra dry.

Skinny: Skim, nonfat milk

Breve: Half and half, instead of milk.

Long or Short Pull: Refers to how long the shot is pulled, and how much water is pulled through it. The standard shot is between 18 and 25 seconds. Some people prefer a stronger short pulled, no longer than ten, twelve or fifteen seconds, and others prefer a shot pulled up to forty-five seconds, or even a minute.

Single, Double, Triple, or Quad Shot: Refers to how many shots someone wants. Single (solo), and double (doppio) are most common.

Split/Half-Caf: Half decaf, half regular.


And now for some of the lingo….

Red Eye is a dripped coffee with a single shot of espresso to break you out of that “red eye” state in the early AM.

Zebra Mocha, is a standard mocha with a mixture of white & dark chocolate.

Flat White gets its name because of the thin micro foam layer, as opposed to a thick layer in a cappuccino. This drink was actually invented back in the 70’s in Australia.

Affagato is a simple dessert coffee. It is made by placing one big scoop of vanilla ice cream within a single or double shot of espresso.

Americano is the same as a Long Black and is hot water with an espresso shot extracted on top of the hot water.

Ristretto is an espresso shot that is extracted with the same amount of coffee but half the amount of water. The end result is a more concentrated and darker espresso extraction.

Latte is an espresso based drink with steamed milk and micro-foam added to the coffee. This coffee is much sweeter than an espresso because of the steamed milk.

Latte Macchiato is the same as a latte but with a floated shot. Instead of pouring milk over the shot, you’d pull your shot into a cup of steamed milk.

Café au Lait is half drip coffee, half steamed (foamy) milk.

Irish coffee is hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream.

Piccolo Latte is a café latte made in an espresso cup. This means it has a very strong but mellowed down espresso taste thanks to the steamed milk and micro foam within it. There are two ways of making a piccolo latte, with either 1 espresso shot or 1 ristretto shot.

Mocha is a mix between a cappuccino and a hot chocolate. It is made by putting mixing chocolate powder with an espresso shot and then adding steamed milk and micro-foam into the beverage.

Long macchiato is the same as a short macchiato but with a double shot of espresso. 

Short macchiato is similar to an espresso but with a dollop of steamed milk and foam to mellow the harsh taste of an espresso.

Double espresso (aka “Doppio”) is just that, two espresso shots in one cup. 

Espresso (aka “short black”) is the foundation and the most important part to every espresso based drink. 1 Shot of espresso in an espresso cup. Espresso refers to the extraction method, invented in Italy at the turn of the century, which involves forcing highly pressurized very hot water, through much finer grinds that drip coffee, at a very precise rate. This process, if done right, allows the beans to reach full flavor potential.

Espresso Romano is a short black coffee with a twist of lemon.

Espresso con Panna is a shot of espresso topped with whipped cream.

Caffè Amaretto is a latte with almond syrup.

Caffé Con Leche is a double shot of espresso, plus about 8 oz. of hot milk.

Cappuccino is traditionally 1/3 espresso (2 oz.), 1/3 steamed milk (2 oz.), 1/3 foam (2 oz.) This makes for a pretty tiny drink, except in the US they come in 12, 16, even 20 ounces.

Gibraltar is served in a glass, 2 oz. espresso, 3 oz. foamy milk, typically under 120 degrees.

Dirty Chai is Chai latte with a shot of espresso.

It’s no surprise that our Village has so many coffee options since Americans consume 102 billion cups of coffee annually (Credit Donkey)!

Thanks to all our coffee houses on Larchmont for keeping us caffeinated!

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