A Glossary of Cappuccino and Coffee Terms


Concentrated coffee made by forcing hot, pressurized water through finely ground coffee grounds.

A shot(s) of espresso diluted with hot water.

An espresso shot combined with foamed and steamed milk roughly as follows:
1/3 Espresso
1/3 Steamed Milk
1/3 Milk Foam

Espresso with steamed milk. Means milk coffee. The foam texture on a latte is essential to the drink’s distinct look and feel. Proportions are roughly as follows:

Double Shot of Espresso
6 to 8 Ounces of Steamed Milk
A layer of foam that’s about 1 cm thick

Espresso mixed with chocolate syrup and steamed milk. Basically a chocolate latte. Some cafes make their own ganache; others use a chocolate syrup or break up chunks of chocolate.

Espresso topped with a dab of foamed steamed milk. Don’t bother with ratios. Just think of this as espresso with a spot of milk in it. Means “coffee with a spot” or “coffee with a drop”.

Espresso topped with flat steamed milk.

Flat White
Espresso with flat, steamed milk. Flat whites may be served with little-to-no foam, or with lots of dry foam. In most cafes and coffee bars, a flat white is the same thing a latte with a bit less milk.

Espresso pulled with less water for a smaller, more concentrated drink.

A cup of brewed coffee with espresso.

Ice cream (traditionally vanilla) “drowned” with a shot of espresso.



Drip Coffee
Coffee made with a filter, a press pot, a percolator or a countertop coffee maker. Flavor is extracted by contact with water not under pressure.

Cold Drip Coffee
Grounds are steeped in cold water for around 12 hours, then strained to make a concentrate. Can be cut with milk or water.

Filter Coffee
Drip coffee made with a ceramic, glass or plastic cone lined with a paper filter. Favored by professionals because it gives them control over water temperature — ideally 200 to 210 degrees. This coffee is sediment free, though some believe the filters add unwanted flavor.

French Press
Coffee made by steeping grounds with hot water in a vessel with a plunger and metal filter that pushes the grounds to the bottom. Often used in coffee bars for limited-edition coffees. Also called a press pot.

Pour-Over Coffee
Drip coffee in which the water is poured over a filter cone. Some coffee bars have pour-over setups with several cones and distinctive kettles.

Nel Drip
Short for “flannel drip,” it’s a form of drip coffee that uses flannel filters. The filters are temperamental, and must be washed by hand and kept chilled when not in use.

A cup of brewed coffee with espresso.