Know Your Joe

Lynda Calimano of offers thoughts on the best coffees around.


Know Your Joe

So many options for coffee, so little time!

-Lynda Calimano, and

CoffeeWhen did deciding what type of coffee to drink become so complicated? Shade grown or high altitude? Regular or decaf? House blend or Sumatran? Whole beans or ground? French roast or breakfast blend? And, if you want milk in your coffee … there’s now another group of questions to be answered … skim, one percent, two percent, whole milk, half and half, or soy?

Today’s coffee choices are as endless as the possibilities. To help make sense of it all, here are some simple definitions to use when getting to “know your joe.”

Black coffee: brewed, percolated or French press-style coffee served without milk.

Café Americano: A single shot of espresso with hot water added.

Café au Lait: French for “coffee with milk” it is prepared with equal parts scalded milk and coffee.

Café Breva: A cappuccino made with half and half, instead of whole milk.

Café Latte: A single shot of espresso mixed with steamed (not frothed) milk. The ratio of milk to coffee is 3:1.

Café con Leche: Spanish for “coffee with milk” it is similar to the French café au lait and the Italian caffè e latte. It is strong or bold coffee (sometimes espresso) mixed with scalded milk in approximately a 1:1 ratio.

Café Macchiato: A shot of espresso with steamed milk. The ratio of coffee to milk is approximately 4:1.

Cappuccino: Espresso topped with frothed milk. Usually garnished with cocoa powder or cinnamon.

Espresso: Dark, strong coffee made from finely ground dark-roast coffee beans (often called Italian roast).

Espresso Con Panna: Espresso with a shot of whipped cream on top.

Flavored Coffee: Flavorings like hazelnut or vanilla are added as flavored oils after roasting or as syrup into brewed coffee. Served any way you like it.

Frappe: Cold espresso blended with milk, ice, and sometimes sugar – similar to a milkshake.

Iced coffee: A regular coffee served with ice, can be served with milk and sugar.

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