Coffee has been around for a long time, try since the 11th Century in Ethiopia, but there are still words that people get wrong…
Yes, it’s fast but it’s not an express coffee. Espresso (3 s’s) comes from the Italian word for “pressed out,” meaning the hot water is pressed through the coffee. When you call it an expresso, the barista will likely roll their eyes at you.
Just because it’s in a cup doesn’t mean it’s a cuppocino. The word actually comes from the Capuchin monks in Italy. You know, the guys with the cool hoods? That’s what it means: a “hooded coffee”.
This is most commonly misused when describing beans. “These coffee beans aren’t very strong in flavour.” There’s no such thing as strong coffee beans – it’s the actual brew that will be strong or not. To make a strong coffee you simply add more… coffee. Most people mean “full bodied” when they say the coffee beans are very strong tasting, meaning they have a full and thick flavour on the tongue.
If you order a latte in Australia or America you will get a shot of espresso with steamed milk, but most people don’t realise that we’ve just butchered the word for convenience. So to avoid embarrassment when travelling, if you go into a cafe in Italy and order a Latte, you will get a plain old glass of milk. Latte means milk, latte macchiato means espresso with milk. We got you!
You don’t really want a hot coffee, unless you prefer the fine tasting notes of skin and blood… But we’re guessing you don’t. If extremely hot water is used in coffee brewing, it will burn the coffee and taste terrible. What you actually want is a coffee at about 65 degrees, that’s the sweet spot for flavours, and that’s what most baristas will give you anyway…
So armed with this knowledge, go forth with confidence in your coffee orders!