Basic coffee terms you need to know

by | Mar 19, 2021 | coffee | 0 comments

Have you ever found yourself looking at the cafe menu and still can’t decide which one to order because you don’t know some terms there?

You are not alone, as some terms in coffee are not easy to understand, and many of us may also be unfamiliar with them.

So, in this coffee glossary, we have listed the basic coffee terms that every coffee lover should know. Let’s get started.

coffee glossary coffee terms



Americano, also known as American coffee, combines two ingredients, a glass or two of espresso and hot or cold water. When brewing a cup of this popular drink, there are two options available. It is either to first pour the shots of espresso on a cup, to add water, or the reverse.

The intensity of its flavor depends on the amount of water added. Generally, the ratio of ingredients is the same, which means that if you are making a double espresso, fill a cup with the same amount of water. Check out our guide on how the perfect americano here.



This is the first step in preparing the coffee for pouring. The process begins when freshly ground coffee releases carbon dioxide after moistening the coffee bed with hot water. Bubbles and expanding coffee grounds will soon be visible.



One of the all-time favorite espresso drinks, cappuccino, is a blend of espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth. This is typically a six-ounce beverage and often served in a large, round coffee mug.

Plus, chocolate chips and cinnamon are great additions to this popular drink that you might want to try. If you want to do this you can try our cappuccino recipe here.

Cold infusion

The term refers to the preparation of coffee by soaking the coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for about 12 hours on average.

It is also possible to extend the steeping time to ensure tasty cold brew coffee. After this process, it is served hot or cold, with an additional ingredient like a splash of milk.


The cream is a caramel or reddish-brown foam that is visible during the brewing period. Its volume and color depend on the type of beans and the roasting process.

Related post  Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso - Which is the Better

It is also an essential factor in brewing a quality and perfect cup of espresso. You have to remember this if you like this strong coffee blend.


Dark roast

It is a type of coffee bean with a strong flavor, is dark brown in color and has an oily surface. Black roasted coffees are also famous for their low acidity.

The longer the beans stay in the roaster, the more intense the taste, however. Take note of these elements to define your expectations.

Drip coffee

By name, drip coffee refers to the coffee collected as it flows out of the filter during the brewing period. This type of brewed coffee is easy to prepare using a drip coffee maker or percolator. Also, this term helps you distinguish coffee from espresso.



Espresso is the name of an intense tasting drink and uses finely ground coffee. It also refers to the brewing method and the machine used for brewing. When brewing the perfect espresso drink, grind size and brewing temperature are always considered key factors. Discover our espresso guide here.


This is the process of taking in the flavor of the coffee grounds. Besides getting it right, two things can also happen and this will affect the taste of the drink.

The first is over-extraction which results in a bitter flavor or under-extraction which could make the coffee sour. So, finding the right balance is an essential factor in making it perfect.


Flat white

Flat white is a small, frothy, milky drink like a latte, cappuccino or cortado. This popular drink weighs around 5-7 ounces and has many variations.

Sometimes this espresso drink might make you confused due to its similarity to some of the popular espresso drinks. But what is certain is that this is an espresso-based drink with steamed milk without foam or chocolate powder.


The perfect frozen drink for summer, Frappuccino, also known as Frappuccino, is the result of a mixture of crushed ice, strong-tasting coffee or espresso and milk. Flavored syrup and whipped cream on top are great for drinking.


The term refers to the making of froth or milk froth using the steam wand of an espresso machine. It takes skill to do this when sucking air into milk to make perfect froth for latte or cappuccino and other drinks with milk froth on top.


Gourmet coffee

Gourmet coffee is a specialty coffee, which is the product of Arabica beans that grow in mountainous regions with an ideal climate perfect for growing coffee. It is also known as premium coffee. With its distinctive flavor, coffee lovers love it!

Related post  What is a cappuccino? Try this frothy coffee recipe at home


Half coffee

Half Caf is the term for a coffee drink, also known as a split shot, with only half the caffeine content. It is the opposite of Red Eye since this drink is a mixture of decaffeinated and regular coffee. And to make half a coffee, the ingredients must be equal parts. It is ideal for those who cannot drink high caffeine coffee.


Iced coffee

This perfect, easy-to-prepare summer drink is a combination of espresso and chilled milk. Usually, after mixing the two main ingredients, the mixture is poured into a glass filled with ice cubes. It is also often served with chocolate syrup on top.

Irish coffee

Irish coffee is a combination of black coffee, brown sugar, and Irish whiskey with whipped cream on top. The barista serves the hot cocktail using an Irish cup of coffee. It is ideal for those who want to taste whiskey and coffee at the same time.



Latte or café latte is one of the most popular espresso-based drinks that can be made at home. This 8-ounce creamy drink served in a tall glass is the combination of a glass of espresso and steamed milk.

It also has milk froth on top and sprinkled with powdered chocolate. Some cafes or cafes also serve this drink with a double espresso.

Flavored lattes, which are popular options, are also available in most coffee shops and cafes, such as caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon. But if you wanna try doing this at home, check out our latte recipe here.

Latte Art

Latte art refers to the creative designs visible on the surface of an espresso-based drink, such as a latte or cappuccino.

Free casting and engraving are the two methods the artist uses to make latte art. And there are necessary factors to consider when making this great work of art, like a perfect shot of espresso and steamed milk.



It is a 2-3 oz espresso-based drink with a layer of milk froth on top. In Italian, this term for coffee means marked or spotted. A few macchiato drink recipes have caramel or chocolate toppings. Besides cafe macchiato, coffee shops and cafes also serve latte macchiato.


Mocha or mocha coffee is also known as mochaccino. The base of the drink is an espresso, garnished with milk foam and chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Cafes and cafes also serve white mocha. It also refers to the name of a small, irregular coffee bean from Mocha Yemen.

Related post  Coffee / water ratio to my coffee machine


Nel drip

The Nel Drip is a short term for Flannel Drip and is a form of drip coffee. The barista uses flannel filters imported from Japan to prepare this drink. After using the filters, proper cleaning is necessary. They should be hand washed and kept cool, especially when not in use.


Coffee to pour

It is a popular method of brewing coffee using a coffee maker. In this method developed in Japan, the hot water passes through the coffee grounds in a filter. It is also known as filter coffee or filter coffee. To brew a cup of coffee using this method, the brewing time takes about three minutes.

Among the methods of brewing coffee, most premium coffees prefer pouring to make coffee with complex flavors. When making coffee to pour at home, you will need a coffee maker or dripper, grinder, coffee filters, kettle, and scale.


Red eyes

Red Eye is a highly caffeinated drink known as Hammerhead or Shot in the Dark. It results from mixing one or more shots of espresso and a regular cup of coffee. Moreover, this drink has many variations and is famous for its high caffeine content.



The term lean when the barista uses skim milk to make an espresso-based drink. It can be a lean latte or any espresso coffee recipe.


The term refers to a single shot of espresso in which its main parts, such as cream, body, and heart, are visible when poured into a clear half-cup. It also refers to a coffee drink with a single shot of espresso.

Which of these terms have you recently encountered on a cafe menu?

Was this list of basic coffee terms helpful to you?

Plus, we want you to be on this list. If you would like to add other coffee related terms in this glossary, let us know!

The references

pinit fg en rect red 28

Skip to content