Breaking down all the Barista Lingo

After many years of working in a coffee shop, I’ve found people sometimes order a drink based on terminology they’ve heard, but don’t actually understand. Unfortunately after spending $6 or more on an espresso concoction what they receive may not be what they actually want. Somewhere in the 1990s a certain coffee chain coined a few terms to describe parts of drinks that have stuck but not every customer or barista actually knows what they mean.. I’ve assembled a few of the most commonly misused terms I’ve encountered and how I define them.

WET: A way to order a cappuccino. Usually means less foam more of that silky smooth milk.

DRY: Another way to order a cappuccino. Usually means more foam, less silky milk.

SKINNY: Refers to non fat milk. Generally doesn’t mean Sugar Free…Most coffee shops default to whole milk, so ordering skinny means you’d like a reduced fat milk instead.

SHORT: Refers to the size of drink you’d like Short is usually the smallest size.

TALL/GRANDE/VENTI: Sizes of beverages, coined by a coffee company. Tall is a 12oz, Grande is a 16oz, and Venti is a 20oz.

Macchiato: A coffee beverage that is composed of espresso and foam. A caramel macchiato is a latte drink with caramel and vanilla. Traditional macchiato is a short sipping beverage.

Doppio: A Double shot of espresso usually, 2oz of volume. This is the standard measure of espresso used in most coffee shops.

However you enjoy your JOE just make sure you know what you’re ordering. With coffee prices increasing and some people paying almost $8 a day for that morning mood enhancement, understanding what you’re ordering will ensure you enjoy your beverage. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your barista for any coffee translation, it’s probably not the first time someone has asked them.