I have been asked by some of my friends to share my extreme love for coffee and explain how exactly to order a coffee, and what that “grande iced caramel macchiato with an extra shot” really is. Since Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee companies, I am going to keep my drink references with Starbucks in mind. So to start, I think we should go through the basics, of the many types of coffee you could order.

1. Drip coffee

This is the simplest drink on the menu. It is a hot drink made from coffee beans. At Starbucks, there are three main types of coffee. A blonde roast, a medium roast, and a dark roast. The difference is the amount of time the coffee beans are “roasted.” This changes the flavor of each coffee bean. For example, when you burn food, you cooked it for a longer period of time and the flavor changed because of the extra time. So to order a coffee you first need to pick a size tall (small), grande (medium), or venti (large), and then pick what type of coffee you would like. Blonde roasts tend to be lighter, and when you get to dark roasts they have bolder flavors. So you could say a “grande blonde roast.” If you want cream (milk takes away some of the coffee flavor), then you say a “grande blonde roast with cream.”

2. Iced coffee

To order an iced coffee, you would say a “grande iced coffee,” or a “grande iced coffee with cream.” To order iced coffee you do not specify the roast because there is only one. However, you could add a flavoring, for example, caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, mocha, etc., and this would be a “grande caramel iced coffee with cream.”

3. Espresso

This is a coffee drink made with water and coffee beans. This is a very thick drink, with a layer of foam on the top from the pressure of the hot water. Espresso is a very strong drink and is served in a “shot.” No not an alcoholic shot…but it is served in a small portion like one. So to order just espresso you can say a “shot of espresso.”

The next few drinks all contain espresso. Which is different from normal coffee beans. Espresso does not have a specific type of coffee beans, nor does it have a certain time the beans should be roasted for. Espresso rather, is not a bean or a roast, it is a blend of coffees but it is much more finely ground. It is, like I said before, coffee and water.

4. Latte

A latte is a drink that is made by pouring milk into a shot of espresso. The amount of espresso shots depends on the size of the drink you order; however, the espresso goes in first and then your cup is filled up the rest of the way with milk. Lattes can be ordered as a “latte,” or they can be flavored. A drink many people know is a pumpkin-spice latte. This is a drink with espresso and milk but has pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavoring. For a healthier option you could even order a “skinny latte.” This would use espresso, and non-fat milk, which could also be flavored and be, for example, a “skinny vanilla latte.”

5. Macchiato

This is also a drink with espresso but has less milk than a latte. The espresso is more of the star in this drink. My favorite drink of all time is a caramel macchiato. This is a drink with espresso, a little milk and a caramel drizzle. To order a macchiato say an “espresso macchiato,” which is a more like a shot (2 oz.) or a “grande caramel macchiato,” which is a full drink.

6. Cappuccino

This is the perfect balance between a macchiato and a latte. A cappuccino has less milk but more foam than a latte. The flavor has less coffee taste than a macchiato, but more than a latte because there is less milk. A cappuccino can also be wet or dry. A wet cappuccino has more milk and less foam and a dry cappuccino has more foam and less milk. To order a cappuccino you could say a “grande caramel wet cappuccino.”

7. Mocha

A mocha is also an espresso drink with milk, but all mochas have chocolate. Another of my favorite drinks is the white chocolate mocha. This is a drink with espresso, some milk, chocolate sauce, and also some white chocolate-flavored whipped cream. This is a good drink for people who are looking for a flavored drink and not the intensity of a macchiato or an espresso. To order a mocha you could order a “salted caramel mocha,” which is a normal mocha drink with caramel and sea salt. Or you could order a “café mocha.”

8. Americano

An Americano is another popular espresso drink. It is made by pouring espresso into a coffee cup and adding hot water. Americanos, like all other drinks, have a different strength, depending on the a number of shots, which is dependent on the size. You could order a “grande Americano.”

Now that you know what each drink is…do you know how much caffeine is in each? I am going to use the caffeine amounts according to a grande-sized Starbucks drink.

  • A grande coffee from Starbucks has 330 mg of caffeine.
  • A grande iced coffee has 165 mg of caffeine
  • A shot of espresso has 150 mg of caffeine
  • A grande latte, cappuccino and macchiato each have 150 mg of caffeine
  • A grande mocha has 175 mg of caffeine
  • A grande Americano has 225 mg of caffeine

See? Coffee is not that hard… Just kidding, it can be very confusing. I think the only people who really understand the world of coffee are the baristas. However, once you start ordering coffee you will end up like me with OCD. Obsessive coffee disorder. It’s a crazy thing.