DrakeMag’s Official Coffee Dictionary

Photo by Sam Fathallah

Everyone’ s addicted to coffee. It’s not hard to be hooked with caffeine on every corner. But ordering a drink can be difficult and intimidating if you’re standing in line behind a coffee connoisseur throwing around fancy terms. Here’s a little coffee lingo dictionary to help you decode what’s on those big coffee shop chalkboard menus.

The Basics:

Espresso: Popular among the Italians, but has made its move to America and serves as a base for a majority of other coffee drinks. Sure to give you the caffeine boost you need, espresso is strong and best served hot.

Cappuccino: Contains an espresso base, but is layered with steamed milk that sits atop the coffee, giving it more of a creamy taste. Best served hot on a winter date night.

Latte: Another espresso-based drink that will satisfy your sweet tooth because of the added sugar and cream. This drink can be served hot, but tastes best cold in the summer lounging next to a pool.

Americano: The weakest of all espresso based drinks. It is very watered down and best for when you want a tiny kick, but don’t want to be wired when you crawl into bed at night. Best served hot.


Macchiato: Think of it like a grown-up latte. The macchiato is an espresso-based drink with added foam milk when served hot, or added milk when cold. Can be served hot or cold, but tastes best with added caramel.

Frappuccino: This perfect-for-summer drink is trademarked by Starbucks, but can be ordered almost anywhere under different names. It’s not an espresso based drink; instead, it’s a blended combination of ice, milk, sugar, and a flavor of your choice (caramel, mocha, strawberries and crème, etc.).


Caramel: Best added to strong drinks to give a sweeter taste. Just sip quickly before it sinks and sits at the bottom of your cup.

Mocha: If you want a chocolate taste, mocha is your go-to flavor that is based on espresso. It can be made from either cocoa powder or chocolate syrup, depending on your preference.

Turbo shot: Your surefire way to pull an all-nighter. It’s a shot of espresso, or two, or as many as you need to make your coffee strong enough to get you through a bad day. The name of this varies at different coffee shops.

The Skinny: A skinny is when ingredients, mostly milk, are substituted for low fat or fat free milk. It can also mean no added sugar. Make sure to be specific on what you want.


With this list, you’ll be able to avoid any coffee confusion the next time you’re craving a fancy cup of joe.