Coffee Crackdown

by Ellie Rockoff

Have you ever found yourself standing in line at your local coffee shop, overwhelmed by the array of choices? Trust me, we’ve all been there. There seems to be endless choices of nondescript names that often come without explanation. Our goal is to explain classic coffee orders that you’ll see anywhere you go, so that the next time you order, you won’t be caught in  confusion.

Classic Black

Starting with hot coffees, the most basic option is classic black. This is the most basic form of coffee, as it lacks any additives such as cream or sugar. If you prefer to customize your coffee yourself, order it black so you can have as much sugar or cream as you like.


Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee that can be consumed on its own or as a base for other drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos. Espressos are intended to be drunk quickly, hence the name. It is the perfect drink for the afternoon or after meals because it is small and lacks milk. If you’re looking for even more of a jolt, you can get a doppio, which is a double shot espresso.


An Americano is an espresso diluted in hot water. It is similar in taste and portion size to black coffee.


Lattes are composed of one (or more, if you’re feeling extra tired) shot of espresso and steamed milk with light foam. Steamed milk is heated, while foam is aerated to be light, fluffy, and more  voluminous than steamed milk. 

Flat White

This is an Australian drink that is espresso and steamed milk. Important to note though, it is not a latte because there is a more equal balance between coffee and milk, accompanied by a stronger taste.


A cortado is similar to a latte, as it is more steamed milk than foam. Cortados differ from lattes because they are equal parts espresso and steamed milk, rather than more parts milk than espresso.


Cappuccinos are similar to lattes, except that they are mostly foam rather than steamed milk. This drink is Italian, and it is commonly known that cappuccinos should not be consumed after 11am, due to the heaviness of this milky drink (Cappuccinos).


A macchiato is an espresso-based drink which is defined by its small amount of foam on top. This drink is different from lattes and cappuccinos because it only has foam, no steamed milk.

If there weren’t enough hot drinks to sort out, here are all the classic cold drinks, for hot days or warm drink haters.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is just as basic as hot black coffee, as it is the same blend, just cooled and served with ice (pro tip: Try iced coffee with coffee ice cubes, so your drink does not get watered down when the ice cubes melt). In its simplest form it is served black, but cream and sugar can be added.

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffees are made by steeping beans from anywhere from 6-36 hours. This drink is brewed cold from beginning to end, while iced coffee is hot coffee that is eventually cooled.


Nitro is the elevated version of cold brew because it has the addition of nitrogen bubbles. The bubbles give the coffee a frothy, beer-like consistency. Most times they are served out of a tap, another feature that makes it similar to beer.

Happy ordering!

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