Let’s meet for coffee, she says. Sounds like a great idea, right? But the tin of your granny’s favourite instant coffee from the back of the cupboard is not going to make the cut. You need to impress her, or you may not get another chance.
So, it’s off to Google maps to find the best place in town. You immediately get tongue tied the second the menu comes up. But, come on guys, we will never admit we have no clue what most of the items on a coffee shop menu actually are. How many times have you sipped on the most revolting cup of bitter coffee, purely because you didn’t know what you were ordering, and were just too embarrassed to ask?
Yes, this happened to me too, but it doesn’t have to happen again. Here is your “how to” guide to getting coffee right.
Normally brewed coffee without any additives like milk, sugar or flavouring. Really not for beginners. You must have a palate for coffee to enjoy it black.
Brewed with a darker roasted coffee bean, ground finely and brewed at a very high pressure. This results in the strongest, most concentrated brew possible. Served as a single shot or doppio i.e. double shot. It is served lukewarm and accompanied by a glass of cold water. Down this in as few sips as possible and take moderate sips of cold water. Single or doppio, this will leave you bouncing off the walls and is bitter on the tongue. There is no faking this one. Everyone in the coffee shop will know it’s your first time.
Latte (pronounced “La tey”) because the last thing you want to do is pronounce the names wrong – rookie mistake. This is a single shot of espresso topped with steamed milk.
Like a latte but topped with an additional layer of milk foam. So, that’s espresso (single or doppio), steamed milk and foam. This is the go-to cup. You can’t go wrong with this one. Well, unless you are lactose intolerant, and if that’s the case, then stay away from this one as your night out will be very short lived.
As the name suggests, this is the style of coffee adopted by Americans. This may look like a regular cup of black, but it’s actually not. This is an espresso topped with hot water. Although they look the same, an Americano has a very distinct taste due to the dark roast used in the espresso.
This is a single shot espresso topped with milk foam, the safer option to have if you are a beginner and need the boost of an espresso. The foam layer will minimise the strong taste of the espresso, making it easier on the tongue.
For the purist, this is an abomination, but for the choc-a-holic, this is a dream come true. This starts with a shot of espresso, layered with hot chocolate, and topped with steamed milk. It has a very rich taste and will satisfy that sweet tooth!
With these basics, you should be able to navigate safely through the evening without making a fool of yourself.
Lookout for part 2 coming soon to give you the leading edge…