Walk into Starbucks or any other high-end coffee shops and you might be intimated on what to order. There are a lot of options with names that look like they are straight out of Rome. Hopefully this article will give you a better idea of what all those fancy names mean the next time you stop for some java.

Espresso is extremely versatile especially in Europe in terms of how it is served. Espresso is made by finely grounding dark roasted coffee beans and then pulling heated pressurized water through the grounds (this action is called a pull). The fine grounds and short duration that they are in contact with the water produce a very strong tasting beverage. Here are some of the basic espresso drinks you will see in the U.S.

Espresso Shot – 1 oz. pull through the espresso machine.

Double Espresso – 2 oz. pull through the espresso machine.

Americano – standard espresso shot with about 7 oz. of water added to it to lighten the intensity.

Espresso Ristretto – is a shorter pull producing only about 0.75 oz. of espresso. This makes the espresso even more intense.

Some more common espresso styles in Europe are as follows:

Café Lungo – A long pull, even more than a double shot. This long pull produces weaker espresso.

Espresso Romano – single shot espresso served with a lemon slice.

Breve – single shot of espresso with half and half added. This can sometimes be found in the States, or you can just request half and half at the shop.

Cafe Macchiato: a single shot of espresso with 4 oz. of steamed milk added.

Cappuccinos and Lattes are plays with steamed milk and espresso. The only thing that makes them different is the ratios. 

Cappuccino – made with equal parts steamed milk, frothed milk and espresso.  Cappuccinos are often very inconsistent in taste from one shop to the next. This is because sometimes a coffee shop will add more milk, especially when a larger size is ordered, throwing off the ratios.

 Dry Cappuccino – there is no steamed milk added to this and general a less amount of foam is added as well.

Latte – espresso with steamed milk only. The ratio is general 3 parts milk to one part espresso. 

Mocha – is simply either a cappuccino or latte with chocolate syrup added to it. 

Now for all of you who prefer coffee over espresso the following drinks are for you.

Black coffee – standard drip coffee or done in a French press. A French press uses a iron mesh filter rather than a paper filter. This allows more of the oils in the coffee bean to get into the coffee adding flavor. 

Café au Lait or Café con Leche – a ratio of 1:1 coffee to scalded milk.  Milk is scalded by heating it to 180 degrees. It is said to change the consistency of the milk.

Remember you can get most drinks served cold. Iced coffee and lattes are very popular as well as frappes.

Frappe or Frappacino – is espresso added to ice, sugar and milk to create a slushie style drink. This is very popular in the summer months.

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion many people find when entering a fancy coffee shop. Thanks for reading.