Coffee Lingo: How to Talk to Your Barista

Standing at the coffee counter of your local coffee shop can be daunting if you are not well versed in the plethora of possibilities your barista can create for you. While the terminology can vary a bit by region or from one cafe to another, a little coffee lingo knowledge can go a long way. So before you head to your next coffee date, read our simple guide on how to talk to your barista.

Tip #1: All black coffee is not created equal.

  • Espresso – A subset of coffee brewed under high pressure using an espresso machine. Espresso needs to be consumed quickly, while hot, to enjoy at full flavor.
  • Americano – Same espresso with water added. Americano is a good choice if you prefer a milder coffee flavor.
  • Ristretto – Some say the shorter the extraction time, the sweeter the expresso. Ristretto extraction is the same amount of coffee as espresso but extracted for a shorter period and has less water, so the coffee is more concentrated.
  • Doppio (aka Extra Shot) – If you are really working hard to get the energy going, ask for an extra shot of espresso in any drink to amp up the caffeine. 
  • Red Eye – A cup of regular drip coffee with a shot of espresso added.

Tip #2: Milder coffee is possible with the correct lingo.

  • Cafe Latte – An Italian term for coffee with milk. 
  • Cappuccino – Espresso with milk and extra milk foam. Add cinnamon or nutmeg to the top for added flavor.
  • Flat White – Espresso with milk and a small amount of foam.
  • Cubano, served in a demitasse, double shot of espresso poured over raw sugar for a strong sweet taste of goodness. Add milk for the mini- super concentrated, sweet version of a latte.  
  • Macchiato – Espresso with a dollop of milk foam that gives the espresso a slight sweetness.

Tip #3: Satisfy your sweet tooth with coffee!

  • Cafe Mocha – Espresso with milk and chocolate sauce. 
  • Flavored Syrups – Coffee houses have a fun assortment of syrups (even low calorie/zero sugar ones!) for you to add to your coffee for a twist on the traditional flavor.

Tip #4: Cold coffee options for hot days.

  • Blended coffee – The possibilities are endless to get your coffee fix on a hot day! Mix your favorite flavor from our selection, and we can blend with ice- like magic.
  • Cold Brew – Coffee brewed overnight for a minimum of 12 hours using cold filtered water and refrigeration. We match our extraction time with the right coffee to make some of the strongest and most delicious cold brews in Houston. 

Tip #5: Baristas love to talk coffee!

Don’t be afraid to tell the barista a little about what you like to find your perfect drink. Listing drinks or flavors you enjoy will help your barista concoct something special just for you. Trust us; baristas love to be asked for their expertise and share their favorites!

EQ Heights is a social house. We serve great coffee, teas, and sweet and savory treats in a welcoming atmosphere where people can connect with friends. Local groups and educators are encouraged to contact us about hosting meetings and seminars at EQ Heights. Visit our website for more information and view our calendar of events.


Coffee Lingo: How to Talk to Your Barista