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Talk Like a Local: Coffee Slang

Talk Like a Local — By Alexi Ueltzen on September 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

The molecular formula for caffeine is C8H10N4O2…but you probably call your morning brew something a little bit different. Baristas (like the one pictured here at the original Pike Place Market Starbucks back in 1977), sippers and coffee aficionados around the world have slang terms for their favorite drink and the various ways they prepare them; read on for a list of our favorites.

Arbuckles: Also known as “Cowboy Coffee,” this brand has been associated with campfire coffee since 1865. Cowboy coffee itself isn’t restricted to one brand however, as it’s more of a brewing process than anything else. A brewing process similar to that of Turkish coffee, and one that results in dark, strong and, in the opinion of many, unpalatable coffee. Learn more about Arbuckle’s here.

Kaffe: Prounounced “Coff-ay,” it’s how to say “coffee” in Germany, Sweden and Norway.

Cap: Short for cappuccino

Dry: A dry cappuccino is basically just espresso and foam, but this also refers to any drink that uses less milk than normal. And, coincidentally…

Wet: Containing more milk than usual. This generally only applies to cappuccinos, but can also apply to drinks such as a caffe misto or cafe au lait.

Harmless: Seattle for decaf. Not so popular in Boston, we hear.

Lungo: Italian for “large” this refers to either a long pour or a watered-down shot of espresso.

Redeye: A regular drip coffee with a shot of espresso. Meant strictly for those who need the caffeine boost. Other terms for the same drink include Shot In The Dark, Scrap Iron, Speedball, Depth Charge, Bellman, Boilerhouse, and Caffè MF.

Skinny: West Coast slang for nonfat/skim milk based drinks.

Many thanks to Brian Connors for his article on Coffee Slang.

[Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives/Creative Commons]

Tags: arbuckles, cap, coffee, dry, kaffe, redeye, skinny, slang, wet

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