July 20, 2010
Are coffee drinks confusing you? Try this simple glossary

By Allen Pierleoni

Something as theoretically simple as coffee has taken on confusing proportions. While it's still possible to order a simple cup o' joe, the list of coffee-drink options has become nearly overwhelming - especially for newcomers.

To make matters easier is Bill McClure, CEO of, a clearinghouse of mail-order coffee products and related items.

"Most people understand the basic drinks like coffee and iced coffee," he said. "But when it comes to the lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and mochas, things can get a little confusing."

To help coffee-lovers, McClure offers his "Coffee Talk Glossary":

- Espresso: a strong, heavily caffeinated single or double shot made with hot water and finely ground beans.
- Americano: a shot of espresso mixed with hot water.
- Latte: combines espresso with steamed milk; topped with a little bit of foam.
- Cappuccino: stronger than a latte; combines espresso with a little steamed milk and is topped with a lot of foam.
- Caramel macchiato: a vanilla latte with more foam and less vanilla, with a little bit of caramel sauce drizzled on top of the foam.
- Frappuccino: starts with a sweet coffee that's blended with ice.
- Café mocha: espresso and chocolate syrup with steamed milk and whipped cream.

"Starbucks' customers will be familiar with these terms used in reference to drink size," McClure said:
- Short: At 8 ounces, this is the smallest size, available only on request.
- Tall: At 12 ounces, it's considered the "small" drink.
- Grande: "Medium" is 16 ounces.
- Venti: 20 ounces of hot or 24 ounces of cold.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

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