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Seattle Lingo:
Coffee & Espresso

Look here for shorthand references and slang for Seattle-area espresso and coffee drinks, including Latte, Americano, Macchiato, Mocha, Cappuccino, Frappuccino, and other espresso and coffee drinks.

  • Addshot: Used by baristas when relaying an an order that requires an additional shot of espresso. "Frappuccino with an addshot," for instance, would refer to an Frappuccino with a shot of espresso added.
  • Americano: Also known as a Caffe Americano. An espresso diluted with hot water, ideal for the lactose-intolerant.
  • Americano Misto: An Americano with steamed milk, at least at Starbucks. Similar to a latte without the foam (a Foamless), except that steamed milk and hot water are added half-and-half (rather than just steamed milk).
  • Barista: Espresso bartender.
  • Breve: Short for Espresso Breve. Espresso with half-n-half or semi-skimmed milk.
  • Café Au Lait: French style, with coffee and boiled milk poured simultaneously into a cup.
  • Café Con Leche: 1 1/2 ounce espresso with enough steamed milk to fill an 8-ounce cup.
  • Caffè Amaretto: Latte with almond syrup.
  • Caffè Con Panna: Demitasse of espresso topped by a dollop of whipped cream. Also called an Espresso Con Panna.
  • Caffè Corretto: Also known an Espresso Corretto. Corretto means "corrected." Refers to adding cognac or some other liqueur.
  • Caffè Cubano: A very sweet espresso, with sugar or brown sugar added.
  • Caffè Creme: Also known as an Espresso Creme. 1 1/2 ounce of espresso with an ounce of heavy cream. Also referred to as a "Café Crème."
  • Caffè Freddo: Chilled espresso in a glass, sometimes with ice.
  • Caffè Latte: Also known simply as a Latte. An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk. The most popular espresso drink. Also the default espresso: if you ask for a "double tall," for instance, you'll get a double tall latte.
  • Caffè Lungo: Same as an Americano.
  • Caffè Macchiato: An espresso marked (or "stained") with a dollop (a teaspoon or two) of foamed milk. In Italian, "macchiato" can be translated as "marked," "stained," or "spotted". Starbucks defines a macchiato as "one shot of espresso in a demitasse topped with a small dollop of foamed milk."
  • Caffè Medici: A doppio poured over chocolate syrup and orange (and sometimes lemon) peel, usually topped with whipped cream. Formerly, the Last Exit, now gone, was one of the few places in town where you could get one of these, although I've heard recently that you can get a Caffe Medici at the Pearl, a coffee house also located on the Ave (where else?) which has been described to me as having "the spirit of the Last Exit more than the Last Exit in its final years."
  • Caffè Misto: At Starbucks, half drip coffee and half steamed milk. Misto means "mixed". Very similar, if not identical, to a Café Au Lait.
  • Caffè Mocha: Also known simply as a Mocha. A latte with chocolate. Methods of preparation can vary, some using steamed chocolate milk, others adding chocolate to a latte. One variation tops it with whipped cream, with cocoa powder as a garnish.
  • Caffè Ristretto: A short shot, but with the same amount of coffee as a full shot, just concentrated.
  • Cake in a Cup: Double cream, double sugar. Also called a Double Double.
  • Cap: Short for Cappuccino.
  • Cappuccino: A shot of straight espresso with foamed milk ladled on top.
  • Caramel: A latte with caramel syrup.
  • Caramel Macchiato: A Starbucks' specialty. For a rough recipe: Add vanilla syrup and steamed milk to a mug, top with milk foam, pour hot espresso through the foam, and then drizzle with caramel sauce.
  • Iced Caramel Macchiato: Also invented at Starbucks. Same as above, except with cold (not steamed) milk, and the espresso poured through small ice cubes (not foam). Can optionally be topped with whipped cream. For more exact instructions from someone who used to make them, see: The Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.
  • COD: Coffee of the Day, at least at Starbucks.
  • Cher Sugar: With Equal.
  • Crema: The tan-colored foam that forms on top of an espresso shot, as a result of the brewing process. The crema is composed of minuscule air bubbles composed of espresso film and forms a "cap" that protects the espresso proper from being exposed to the air.
  • Creme Frappuccino: At Starbucks, essentially a Frappuccino without the coffee (and thus with no caffeine). A variation is a Vanilla Creme Frappuccino, which has vanilla syrup added.
  • Demitasse: Small cup for serving espresso straight, no chaser.
  • Doppio: The hip way to request a double.
  • Double: An espresso made from a double shot, approximately 1 1/2 - 2 ounces.
  • Double Cup: An espresso served in two cups, just in case one cup might be too hot to handle.
  • Double Double: Double cream, double sugar.
  • Doubleshot: A canned espresso drink made by Starbucks. Differs from a bottled Frappuccino in that it is made with real espresso and isn't loaded with sugar.
  • Drip: A regular coffee.
  • Dry: Sans steamed milk (just foamed milk).
  • Espresso: Approximately a one-ounce shot of espresso made from Arabica beans, as opposed to Robusta beans, which are used in making regular coffee. Arabica beans, by the way, have about half the caffeine of Robusta beans. The word comes from the brewing method -- hot water is pressed by means of a piston or pump through finely ground, firmly packed, finely ground, dark-roasted coffee.
  • Espresso Breve: Espresso with half-n-half or other semi-skimmed milk.
  • Espresso Lungo: This one uses a long pull, to squeeze the max from the bean. Some think it gives a stronger brew, others just a more bitter one.
  • Espresso Macchiato: Espresso with just a dollop of steamed milk on top.
  • Espresso Ristretto: A shorter or "restricted" pull. Creates a thicker drink.
  • Espresso Romano: An espresso with a twist of lemon. Don't ask for one in Rome, however - seems to be a purely American thing.
  • Foamless: Sans foamed milk.
  • Frappuccino: A blended coffee drink (made in a blender) developed and sold by Starbucks, combining coffee, milk, sugar, ice, and other miscellaneous ingredients (all of Starbucks' blended drinks contain sugar, by the way). Various recipes for this are floating around the Web (the actual recipe is a secret). Starbucks has also come out with a bottled version. If what you want is an iced espresso, then don't order a Frappuccino, which is made from regular coffee, not espresso. The Frapp part of the name comes from the word frappé in French, which can refer to a beverage, usually a liqueur, poured over shaved ice.
  • Frap: Based on Starbucks' Frappuccino coffee drink. When used loosely, really refers to any iced coffee or espresso drink.
  • Frap Rush: When fraps are ordered in bunches, usually right after the local high school has let out.
  • Grande: 16-ounce cup.
  • Granita: Latte with frozen milk.
  • Gutless Wonder: A Skinny Harmless (or Why Bother). Was spoken in a Frasier episode, I'm told, so could just be a scriptwriter's invention.
  • Half-Caf: Half decaf.
  • Harmless: If you want a decaf espresso, just say you want it "harmless."
  • Latte: The default espresso. Ask for a "half-caf," for instance, and you'll get a half-decaf latte. Short for Caffè Latte. An espresso made with steamed milk, topped by foamed milk.
  • Latte Puné: A mini-latte with a full shot of espresso. Only served at the Uptown Espresso, I believe.
  • Latteccino: A latte with more froth or a cappuccino with more milk (take your pick).
  • Macchiato: Short for Caffè Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato.
  • Milker: See Poor Man's Latte.
  • Mocha: Short for Cafe Mocha.
  • Mocha Frap: Short for Mocha Frappuccino, which is a Starbucks coffee drink -- they refer to it as a blended coffee drink (made in a blender), by the way, rather than simply an iced mocha.
  • Mochaccino: A cappuccino with chocolate. Note: Not a Mocha Frappucino.
  • Nico: A breve with orange syrup and cinnamon.
  • No Fun: I'd originally understood this to refer to a decaf, non-fat latte (also called a skinny harmless or a why bother). Recently, however, I've been told that it refers to a decaf latte (or a harmless).
  • No Whip: No whip cream. See also Whipless.
  • On a Leash: To go, with handles.
  • Poor Man's Latte: An iced Americano, with half ice and no water, to which then enough half-n-half is added from the condiment bar to fill up the cup. The point is that with an iced latte the milk or dairy isn't prepared (steamed or frothed), but simply added straight. By adding half-n-half which is freely available at the condiment bar, you can save $1 to $1.50 from what you'll be charged if you have the Barista do it for you. Be forewarned, however, that some baristas take extreme umbrage at being gamed by customers this way (while others may just wink and nod) and other customers might not appreciate finding the condiment bar's half-n-half receptacle emptied out after a "milker" has come through. Also, if enough people do this it will simply result in the increased inconvenience of having to ask for your half-n-half from behind the counter. Also called a Ghetto Latte, inappropriately I think (in my experience, it is the people with money, not those without, who're the greatest skinflints).
  • Quad: Four shots, a double-double, in other words.
  • Rice Dream Latte: A latte made with Rice Dream, instead of milk.
  • Ristretto: Short for Espresso Ristretto.
  • Shock It: Add a few ice cubes to a hot coffee or espresso drink to cool it down to a more immediately drinkable temperature.
  • Short: 8-ounce cup. Called a "short" because it is shorter than a tall. Be careful asking for a "regular" -- you might get a tall.
  • Short and Dry: What to ask for if you want to minimize the amount of milk relative to coffee in a latte or cappuccino.
  • Shot: Equivalent to a single. A double would be two shots.
  • Shot in the Dark: A regular coffee with a shot of espresso in it. Also called a Speed Ball. I've also been told that in L.A. this is called a Red Eye, but have no idea if that term is used in Seattle or not. Apparently, this is also referred to in some quarters as a Bellman, Boilerhouse, Depth Charge, and Cafe M.F., although I have no idea whether any of these terms are used locally in the Seattle area or not.
  • Single: An espresso made from a single shot, approximately 3/4 - 1 ounce.
  • Skinny: If you want a latte made with nonfat or skim milk, just say you want it "skinny."
  • Skinny Harmless: A non-fat, decaf latte. Also called a Why Bother.
  • Soy Latte: A latte made with soy milk, instead of milk. I've been told this is also sometimes referred to as a Vegan Latte.
  • Speed Ball: A cup of regular coffee with espresso. Obviously taken from the drug-slang term for a shot of heroin mixed with cocaine.
  • Tall: 12-ounce cup.
  • Thunder Thighs: Supposedly, a double-tall mocha made with whole milk and topped with extra whipped cream.
  • Triple: Three shots, for those for whom a double just doesn't offer enough of a jolt.
  • Unleaded: Decaf.
  • Vanilla Steamer: At Starbucks, was steamed milk with vanilla syrup. Has been replaced by a Vanilla Creme, which is the same, but with whipped cream on top.
  • Venti: A 20 oz. cup at Starbucks, apparently (taller than a tall, I guess), unless you're ordering a cold drink, in which case it is a 24 oz. cup (to allow extra room for ice, I presume).
  • Wet: Sans foamed milk (steamed milk only).
  • Whipless: Sans whipped cream.
  • White Mocha: At Starbucks, a mocha made with white chocolate.
  • Why Bother: A decaf, non-fat (or skim milk) latte, or skinny harmless.
  • With Legs: A cup with handles.
  • With Room: With space left at top of cup for either adding cream or preventing spills (while driving 70 mph down the freeway with a latte between one's legs!).
  • With Wings: A cup with handles.
  • Without: Sans foam.
  • Zebra: A half regular mocha, half white mocha, at Starbucks -- apparently not available at all stores.

The terms listed here range from the frequently to the seldomly used. Non-Nortwesterners should use these terms (in the vain hope of fitting in) only at the risk of being greeted by frequent blank stares. While some terms are known by virtually all Northwesterners, and actually spoken by many, others are known only to some or a few, while spoken by even fewer. However, if you hear one said, armed with this lexicon, you'll know what is meant.

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