"Could I get a Black Eye with an almond milk substitute?"

Eight different mugs of coffee beverages

I love cafes. I love (the idea of) sitting down in a cozy chair in the corner of a novelty cafe with a transporting book in my lap and a steaming cup of a coffee I know nothing about in my hand. In all honesty, I don't love the fact that my coffee order at these niche locations is normally decided by which name looks the most fun, because I'm completely inept when it comes to types of coffee. And I'm always too timid to ask a barista to please describe what an Americano is before ordering.  I often wonder if I should just try everything on the menu until I find something I like and then become one of those people with a concrete coffee order.

But then I hear people ordering in front of me with their custom orders of a macchiato with extra froth and I get ambitious. I start asking for things that shouldn't be put together because I don't know what any of the brews are to begin with. The result is often me being embarrassed for bumbling yet another coffee order, and skulking off into a corner to halfway enjoy my coffee while I read or write.

Hopefully, you can relate to or at least appreciate the pre-ordering anxiety ritual that so many coffee drinkers go through and if any of this has resonated with you, then we should be friends. Oops! I mean then you'll probably enjoy this definitive list I've compiled of various coffee shop staples. I wanted an easier time ordering when I go to those special novelty cafes, and I also wanted the confidence to explore different beverages. So after some extensive research, I present to you the cafe variations of coffee. (Keep in mind that these definitions, quantities and flavors will vary depending on shops and brands.)

Affogato: Espresso poured over vanilla ice cream, served in a cappuccino cup Espresso: 1 ½ ounce shots of espresso
Americano: Hot water and espresso (optionally flavored) Flat White: Espresso and steamed milk
Black Eye: Espresso shot and burnt coffee Frappe: Water, instant coffee, ice and milk blended to produce a creamy, frothy texture
​Breve: Equal parts espresso and half & half Frappuccino: Brewed coffee blended with ice, milk and flavored syrups to produce a milkshake-y texture
Cafe au lait: Brewed coffee (typically French Roast) topped with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam Irish Coffee: Classic coffee cocktail with whiskey, topped with whipped cream and brown sugar
Cafe Mocha: Espresso, chocolate syrup, steamed milk and a thin layer of foam Latte: Espresso, steamed milk and a thin layer of froth *Unlike the cappuccino, a latte does not have equal parts of each element, and the coffee is mixed more thoroughly with the milk.
Cappuccino: One-third espresso, layered with one-third steamed milk, topped with one-third foam Macchiato: Espresso topped with foamed milk
Doppio Espresso: Double espresso shot Mocha Breve: Equal parts espresso, chocolate and half & half

Now, clearly, these aren’t the only types of coffees out there. But my hope is that you too will feel more confident in your coffee ordering abilities. Additionally, if you’re curious about good mysteries to cozy up with while drinking your coffee, I’ve included a thematic list below. Happy reading and coffee drinking! 

“Grounds for murder” by Tara Lush

“Coffee, shopping, murder, love: A novel” by Carlos Allende

“Live and let grind” by Tara Lush

“Cold brew corpse” by Tara Lush

“Fresh brewed murder” by Emmeline Duncan

“Coffee, tea, or murder?: A novel” by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain

“Cold-Brewed Murder” by Tara Lush

“Irish Coffee Murder” by Leslie Meier



What a fun post, Paris! And thank you for providing some clarity to the coffee menu. I have to admit I tend to stick with what I know but it can be fun to try something new. Also, love your coffee themed recommendations!