How smart do you have to be to order a cup of coffee?
Seattle Times business reporter
Whenever Seattle becomes intimidated by East Coast sophistication, all it has to do is click its heels three times and think of coffee. It's one subject about which Seattle is secure to the point of smugness. We know our cappuccino from our latte.
Even Massachusetts-based Dunkin' Donuts appears threatened by Seattle-style coffee culture. "My mouth can't form these words," a befuddled chorus of coffee drinkers sings in a new TV commercial for the coffee and doughnut chain, which has no stores in Washington. "Is it French or is it Italian? Perhaps Fritalian."
A menu in the commercial (search "Fritalian" at video.google.com) features "limon au deau," "tre trois" and "café du fonce." Those are not real coffee drinks, but even some old java hands might be surprised by what's out there:
Any self-respecting Seattle coffee drinker knows these basics, you doppio.
Harmless — Decaf espresso; can be used in longer drink orders, as in, "I'd like a harmless foamless."
Foamless — Latte (espresso and milk) with no foam
Why bother — Decaf nonfat latte
Breve — Espresso with half and half
Doppio — Double shot of espresso straight up
Ristretto or short — Espresso with less water than usual, creating a thicker shot; "short" can also mean an 8-ounce drink at some coffee shops
Americano misto — Americano (espresso and hot water) with steamed milk
Wet and dry cappuccino — Both have espresso, milk and foam, but one has more milk (wet) and the other, more foam (dry). Baristas can spot an out-of-towner when he orders a foamless cappuccino, which doesn't exist in Seattle. "I tried telling [one customer] that the word cappuccino around the country has different meanings, but she shut me down," recounted Brian Fairbrother, a manager at Espresso Vivace. "I was like, 'OK, you enjoy your foamless cappuccino.' "
Learn these puppies and wow everyone in line with your coffee smarts.
Yankee dog — Americano with foam; if ordered to go, it's a Yankee Dog "on a leash."
Shot in the dark — A shot of espresso in drip coffee. Variations include red eye, speed ball, bull's eye and depth charge, as well as black eye (two shots), dead eye (three), crazy eye (four) and blind eye (five or more).
Zebra — Half hot chocolate and half white chocolate syrup. This order recently stumped Hans Riechsteiner, owner of Arosa Café on First Hill. "It's the first time in 13 years that has happened," he said. Often called a black-and-white mocha.
Cafecito or Café Cubano — Very strong, very sweet espresso. Some baristas won't make a version in which sugar is added to coffee grounds in the espresso machine, because it can gum up the machine with burnt sugar.
Café freddo — Chilled espresso, sometimes over ice and sometimes over ice cream
Espresso con panna — Espresso with whipped cream
Viennese — Cappuccino with whipped cream and sometimes honey, sugar, cream, chocolate or cinnamon
Café arequipe — Espresso with a Colombian-style caramel sauce; available at Juan Valdez coffee shops
Caffe puné — Coined at Uptown Espresso in Seattle, it's 6-ounce latte. "It means a puny latte. We came up with it and then added the accent," said owner Dow Lucurell.
Only coffee super snobs order upside-down lattes.
White Russian latte — A little something for fans of The Big Lebowski, a movie in which Jeff Bridges (a.k.a. "The Dude") partakes of white Russians or "Caucasians." Made with Kahlua and white chocolate syrups.
Funky monkey — Latte with banana and chocolate syrups. Add nut-flavored syrup and you have a chunky monkey, à la Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Gourmet s'more — The favorite coffee drink of Jeff Greiner, vice president and flavorist at Stirling Gourmet Flavors in Renton. Made with chocolate and toasted marshmallow syrups with crushed graham crackers on top. "I was able to bring out the little toasty note," Greiner said, "like if you held a marshmallow over a fire and got a little burnt crust on it."
Macchiato — Espresso with a dollop of foam — except on a Starbucks menu, which lists flavored macchiatos that are really lattes. This can cause grief at other coffeehouses. "We'll just make it, and if it's not what they want, we have to re-educate them about what [a macchiato] really is," said Jeff Babcock, owner of Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Co. and a judge at national and international barista competitions.
Upside-down latte — A latte poured in reverse order, with the milk first and the shots later. What's the point? "Exactly," Babcock said.
Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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