The Secret Language of Coffee—Can you describe your coffee in 10 words (or less)?

Coffee has a language of its own. Whether it’s a long macchiato, an Americano, or a ristretto, each drink is unique.

A list of 18 coffee drinks, compiled by Webstaurant Store, depicts each drink and shows the difference that one shot of espresso, or a slightly different brewing method can make.

What's a Ristretto?

I consider myself in the know when it comes to coffee language, but I was shocked by how many coffee drinks I did not recognize in that list. For example, a ristretto sounds amazing. It is brewed in a similar method to espresso---hot, pressurized water is passed through the coffee grounds. However, only half the normal amount of water is used. Ristrettos are STRONG.

A red eye combines 6 ounces of drip-brewed coffee with a shot of espresso added, while a black eye is a doubled version of the red eye. And then there’s the breve---a cup of espresso with steamed half-and-half added.

While reading all of these coffee drink descriptions, I thought about the joy of describing coffee. So I gave myself a challenge: describe coffee in 10 words or less. I invite you to join me in this exercise.

Here are a few of my 10-word descriptions of coffee.

Nature’s berry unleashed as a dark, flowing giver of energy.

Dark fluidity bathed in antioxidants and rendered bright by creamer.
Behold that bittersweet brew, beckoning me to come on over.

Coffee culture has become increasingly complex. There are now $5,000 coffeemakers that can be used at home. Innovation in coffeemaker design and functionality (think Chemex) has advanced the scientific precision of brewing coffee at home. And then there is the Keurig, which was truly disruptive when first introduced and has since become a very much relied-upon mainstay of coffee culture.

Despite all of these things, however, the essence of coffee culture is one of simplicity. It all comes down to coffee (espresso), steamed milk, foam, community, and robust good health. Enjoy!


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