Tips for the coffee novice
By Laura Koenig | Echo
A calm coffee date in a relaxed atmosphere with the aroma of roasted beans drifting around you and a quality friend sitting across the table—this scenario seems ideal until you add the board of gibberish hanging behind the counter. Coffee shop menus: it’s basically a foreign language with few fluent speakers.
Never fear! Here are some popular drinks and tips to help graduate coffee novices to coffee extraordinaires . . . or at least help newbies read the board.
Nine drinks to remember:
- Espresso: high-pressure, almost-boiling water is forced through finely ground coffee, making it strong and concentrated
- Americano: espresso with hot water
- Cappuccino: espresso with a little steamed milk and a lot of foam on top
- Café au Lait: half coffee and half steamed milk
- Latte: espresso with steamed milk
- Breve: espresso with steamed half and half
- Macchiato: espresso with a mark of foam on top (Note: This is not how Starbucks creates the drink. They gives a different spin to the classic macchiato)
- Mocha: espresso, steamed milk and chocolate (basically a chocolate latte)
- Nitro Brew: coffee is stored in a keg and infused with nitrogen. It is smoother than a cold brew.
Straight from the barista:
The Jumping Bean
Sophomore Katie Klingstedt
Tips for beginners:
- Ask the barista questions and learn what’s in the drinks. You may start a cool conversation, and you’ll know exactly what you’re ordering.
- Be creative with flavors. There are some neat combos. I recommend chocolate with a fruity flavor like raspberry or banana.
- If you’re not a coffee drinker, try chai! It can be blended, hot or cold.
- If you buy coffee at a shop, drink it black so you’ll get all the flavors.
- Customers asking for a new drink after not liking the taste or understanding what they first ordered.
- Don’t act like you’re a coffee expert if you’re not. Baristas love to talk about coffee and even learn from customers!
Senior Alex Lovelace
Tips for beginners
- Don’t give up because you don’t like the first drink you try.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions—we’re happy to help as much as we can.
- Generally, advertised drinks, such as a pumpkin spice latte, are made rather sweet and will not be as strong or bitter.
- You can always ask us to add more syrup/sugar or adjust the sugar yourself!
- When people are rude or impatient.
- Wait to order water at the end of the bar after they pick up their drink.
- When we call out a drink or the customer’s name is written on it, and they still ask what it is or if it is theirs.
Fun facts from Alex
- Starbucks employees don’t actually know all of the recipes for Secret Menu drinks, but if you can tell us what is in it we can make it!
- When we make our teas and refreshers we use half tea and half water, but it does not cost any extra to ask for it without the water if you like it stronger.
- Some drinks, such as caramel or latte macchiatos, are made with the espresso shots on top to create a certain order of flavor that you taste. If you stir the drinks right away, you lose that aspect of the drink. But, of course, if you like it that way, then stir away.