When you think of mornings, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For some, it's the thought of staying bed for 10 more minutes. For others, it's the anticipation of that first sip of sweet caffeine (a.k.a. "coffee"). The average American drink about 2.1 cups per day. In a year that would be over 700 cups (or roughly 12,000oz.).

Most Americans prefer drip coffee while 10% prefer specialty coffees (espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc...) according to a study in 2013. However, this percentage of specialty coffee drinkers has been increasing. We can see this steadily as more coffee shops have begun to open (check out this new one in Ypsilanti's Depot Town: Cream & Crumb), Starbucks has become more creative, and the rate of general coffee consumption this year has increased.

Looking forward to another year of coffee drinking, I think it's time we define some coffee terms that our dear corporate coffee shops have contorted over time.

Ways of brewing coffee:

Drip:

This is the standard procedure for making coffee. In this process, the grounds are placed in a filter and hot water is poured over the grounds and 'dripped' into the coffee pot. This requires a medium ground coffee.

French Press:

This is the second most common style of brewing coffee. What happens in this process is the coffee beans are ground into a coarse texture (so that they won't slip through the filter). Place the coffee grounds in the french press and then boil some water. Pour water into the canister and let the grounds stir, and water work its magic. Once the desired strength is achieved, press down the lever and your coffee is ready to go. This style of brewing lets the bean express some of the subtle flavor profiles often disguised by espresso or drip.

Aeropress:

For this process, start with wetting disassembling the unit. Place a filter in the basket and then add water to wet both the filter and basket. Assemble the unit and add the coffee and hot water to Aeropress. Once brewing is finished, take the plunger and press down. You now have an awesome cup of coffee. Check out Stumptown Roasters tutorial and more info on Aeropress.

Chemix:

This method has become a hot topic in the past year. More and more I've seen this method of brewing all over. It's relatively simple if you take out all of the measurements. Essentially, you need to wet the filter with hot water to start.

Once finished with that, place a small amount of coffee grounds into the filter and pour more hot water over. Stir this mixture with a small chopstick or something similar (don't use a toothpick because no one likes grounds in their coffee). To finish add the rest of the grounds and hot water. Let the filter do its magic and voila! A very nice cup of coffee is all yours.


Specialty Coffees:

Espresso: This stuff will get you ready for the day regardless of what you need to conquer. It's not that there is more caffeine in espresso, but rather that it is more concentrated because the grind is very course and then is pressed to fit the mechanism that twists into the machine. This is the base for all of your specialty coffees.

coffee machine GIF

Americano = Espresso + Hot Water

These are very good iced in the summertime with a little bit of cream.

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Red Eye = Espresso + Drip Coffee

This drink is for Mondays and every single other day that feels like a Monday (so, every day).

looney tunes coffee GIF

Latte = Espresso + Steamed Milk + Foam

The infamous latte art! The typical pattern we see on these drink is called a rosetta. There are a million different ways to create latte art and it takes a lot of practice. However, if the milk is steamed correctly, the foam will be thin and very silky.

coffee GIF

Mocha = Espresso + Steamed Milk + Chocolate

If you ever get the chance, try a mocha with a pump of hazelnut or peppermint. Always use good chocolate or ganache (stay away from Hershey's syrup).

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Cappuccino = Espresso + Steamed Milk + Foam

So what's the difference between this and a latte? The only real difference is the amount of foam produced from the milk from a longer period of aeration. It is best to use whole milk for cappuccinos because the more fat in the milk the better chances of the steam aerates the sugars. This results in a thick, sweet foam on top of your espresso.

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Chai Latte = Chai Tea Syrup + Steamed Milk + Foam

This is awesome for the fall season. Depending on the coffee shop you go to will depend a lot on the quality of the chai latte. Some places only use a generic syrup, but others create their own syrup from scratch (yum!). If you've ever wondered what a dirty chai is, it's pretty much the same thing with a shot of espresso added.

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Where to Find Local, Quality Coffee:

Sweetwaters Cafe

Dealer's Choice: The Napali Brew

Cross Street Coffee (previously The Ugly Mug)

Dealer's Choice: Cafe Miel

RoosRoast

Dealer's Choice: Cold Brew Bomb

Mighty Good Coffee

Dealer's Choice: Brown Sugar and Sea Salt Latte

B-24 Espresso Bar

Dealer's Choice: Espresso with brown sugar

Cultivate

Dealer's Choice: A pour over and beer

Cream & Crumb

Dealer's Choice: Dirty Chai Latte

The Electric Eye

Dealer's Choice: Latte

Zingerman Delicatessen

Dealer's Choice: Double Dirty Sheed