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What’ll It Be? A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Coffee Drinks

Whether you like it with milk and sugar, lots of foam, on ice or extra caffeinated, one thing is for sure—we all love our coffee.  And most of us take coffee a very specific way.  From the most simple (straight and black) to the most complicated (half skinny, half 1% milk extra hot Americano with an extra shot and whipped cream), there seems to be no end to the ways in which we can order our coffee.

But let’s pretend for a moment that we are all coffee novices.  We approach The Roasterie Café counter, take a look at the menu and see a foreign language: Americano?  Mocha?  Cappuccino?  Latte?  What are all of these crazy words? To help you set everything straight, take a look at the guide below—it’s our coffee guide for beginners!


A latte, in a nutshell, means “coffee milk”.  This type of drinks is made with espresso and steamed milk.

Learn how to make your own latte here.


A mocha is based on espresso and hot milk (usually steamed).  The thing that makes a mocha so special, however, is the addition of cocoa powder, chocolate syrup or any other type of chocolaty addition.


A cappuccino is an Italian coffee beverage that is prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam.


Decaf coffee is a beverage that contains no (or very little) caffeine. Decaffeination involved removing caffeine from coffee beans through a variety of different techniques.


Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Expect a thick consistency, a high concentration of caffeine and perhaps a bit of crema (a creamy, oily texture found at the top of espresso).


An Americano is a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso.  An Americano is similar to drip coffee, but does have a very distinct flavor profile (strength of an Americano depends on the number of shots of espresso that is added to the water).


All coffee types mentioned above can be served chilled, too.  Iced lattes and iced mochas are very popular types of coffee to drink in the summer.  Most often, these drinks are prepared by using cold milk instead of steamed milk.

In addition to these coffee orders, your favorite cup of Joe could also be:
  • Nonfat: Made with skim or nonfat milk.
  • Half-caf: Made with half regular coffee and half decaffeinated coffee.
  • Extra shot: Made with an extra shot of espresso (more caffeine).
  • Irish: Made with Irish whiskey, sugar and oftentimes whipped cream.
  • Soy: Made with soy milk for lactose intolerant or dieters (other types of milk such as almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk can also be used in coffee beverages).
Take a look at the full coffee family, courtesy of Buzzfeed: Click here.