Coffee 101

I am a person who spends a lot of time in line at coffee shops. I am also a person who knows what she wants; “strong skinny cappuccino, take away, please.” While I can order and pay in less than thirty-five seconds, there are so many pretentious sods walking around the city with their ‘small, half-strength, soy vanilla latte with two Splendas’ and weird caffeinated sugar- syrups masquerading as coffee covered in whipped cream and sprinkles.



I am a coffee snob, who was raised by a coffee snob who was raised by…well actually the line ends there, but you can bet your arse my kids with be mainlining coffee before they’re even onto mashed peas. Now, as said coffee snob (with a Barista certification and mad latte-art skills) I feel that it is my solemn duty to teach you all how to order coffee like you respect both it and yourself.

The completely acceptable, standard coffees:
Flat white
Long Black
Short Black

For the sake of many of my friendships, the lines are blurred on chai. If you’re not just being a hipster, and you genuinely like miscellaneous spices mucking up the status quo then by all means, be gross and order chai. I’m only judging you a little bit.

Any of these drinks are fine. You order a long black in the morning to have with your bagel on the train? Fantastic. Have a lovely day. If you’re someone who treats coffee the way I treated year seven chemistry, then we have some serious issues (other than the minor scar from a Bunsen burner).

Here’s where most people start getting it wrong:

Skim Milk– Some people are health conscious and order skim milk. That’s cool. Props for respecting your cholesterol while working to prevent osteoporosis. Others, like myself, find whole milk too sweet. That’s a little weird, but still fine. If, however, you are one of ‘those people’ who orders a skinny latte and then proceeds to eat a slab of Mars Bar Cheesecake and chain smoke out the front, then you’re a fool. You saved yourself fifteen calories and shortened your life expectancy by six years. Genius.

Decaffeinated coffee- This is an oxymoron and you’re an oxy-idiot. Firstly, have you ever tasted decaf coffee? It tastes like sadness feels. I had a mug of decaf once and I swear with every sip I could hear it crying, wishing it could be caffeinated like all the other cool coffee beans. Besides, if you’re drinking decaf it’s for some stupid reason like you ‘don’t want to be awake all night,’ so don’t drink coffee, just drink milk and stop being annoying.

Macchiato- I need someone to explain to me the thought process behind a macchiato. It’s basically a long black with ‘just a drop of milk.’ Why? What does that singular drop of milk really achieve? Either drink it black or get a latte. Don’t be so fussy.

Syrup- Yes, a latte contains milk. No, that does not make it a milkshake. Adding a shot of caramel or hazelnut is like going up to the Mona Lisa and saying ‘Wow. She’s perfect. Let’s just add some Crayola number 11 for fun.’ If you’ve got a sweet tooth, drink juice and let the big kids drink coffee. I’m sorry to say it gentleman, but this rule is particularly relevant to you. You know that hot barista you’ve been checking out for five minutes? As soon as you say ‘half-strength vanilla latte’ she will immediately see Chris Colfer standing in front of her (NB: he’s that guy from Glee, the show you’re too manly to watch).

Mocha- I feel the same way about mocha as I feel about syrup. Chocolate and coffee should be a combination reserved for desserts. If you need something sweet to cut through the bitter taste of the coffee, then you don’t really want it. Just get a hot chocolate. Chances are the sugar will be enough to get you pinging off the walls anyway.

Frappuccino- Grow up. A) the word is stupid. B) so are you.

Extra shot(s)- I like a double shot every now and then as a pick-me-up. For shift-workers, parents of small children and vegans who can’t stay awake because they are iron and fun deficient, an extra shot is literally life-saving. But (guys, I’m sorry to pick on you again but I’m really still talking to you) ordering an extra-hot triple espresso does not make you look manly or tough. It makes you look like your eyes are rolling in two different directions and you’ve been awake since the Millennium.

“Expresso”- I’m sorry, you want what? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my teeth gnashing together at that made up word you and your friends keep using. Unfortunately NOWHERE IN THE WORLD serves ‘expresso’ but I can make you an espresso if you’d like. It’s very similar.

While we’re on the topic of made-up words, a ‘cup-accino’ is not a coffee in a cup in the same way that a ‘mug-accino’ is not a coffee in a mug. What you’re after is a cappuccino. A big one is just called a Large. I know; your tiny mind is blown, but take slow deep breaths and the dizziness will go away soon.

Finally, I come to you, the poor souls who have reached a point in their life where there is more coffee in their veins than blood. You are the fools who will take coffee in any form; you’ll drink it, shoot it, snort it, or inject it straight into your eyeballs if need be. You may be slightly insane and your heart beat sounds more like a jazz riff than a steady rhythm but hey, you’re among great people and I’m sure I’ll be joining the club soon. We’ll get jackets. The kind with removable elbow-patches so we can attach the IV coffee bags without taking them off.

– by Blaire Gillies

P.S. A mate sent me this link once when I was having this rant to him in café. If you’re one of these people and you ever want to meet up, let’s not go for coffee. Ever.

3 thoughts on “Coffee 101

  1. I also shudder when I hear people order “an expresso”. I mean, I commend you for loving and appreciating coffee so much that you want it straight up, full bodied and all – that’s commitment right there. But, let’s sound this one out together though yeah, “es-press-o”!

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