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Espresso Ecstasy

Espresso drinks with all their endless permutations have been the rage in coffee meccas like Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. Now, the java flood is spreading.
Sam Gugino
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 6)

If you've ever tried to negotiate the espresso-coffee-drink maze, you know this hilarious restaurant scene from L.A. Story is closer to truth than fiction. In cities like Seattle or San Francisco, ordering a simple espresso can be as pedestrian as asking for glass of Chablis at a wine bar.

It's hard enough to remember the difference between a caffè latte and a café au lait without trying to remember how to ask for a cappuccino with decaffeinated espresso and steamed nonfat milk (colloquially known as a niente or "Why Bother," in Seattle).

Suffice to say that espresso can be made in regular or decaffeinated form and that steamed milk can be made from half and half, whole milk, 2 percent, 1 percent or nonfat milk. When you start mixing these elements (including, for example, half regular and half decaffeinated espresso), you can envision the endless possibilities.

Because Boston, Seattle and San Francisco (to name just a few cities) each has its own espresso jargon, it's much simpler to tell the barista, or coffee bartender, exactly what you want--in plain English. Beyond that, here's a handy guide to espressoterica.

Espresso: Dark, strong cup of coffee, about one-and-a-half ounces, made by forcing hot water under steam pressure through finely ground, dark-roasted beans.

Ristretto: "Short pull"--espresso cut short to about an ounce.

Lungo: "Long pull"--a "longer" espresso, about three ounces.

Doppio: "Double"--a double shot or two servings of espresso (made with a double dose of grounds).

Grande: A triple shot or three servings of espresso. It may also be an espresso drink with extra milk.

Americano: A regular shot of espresso that has been diluted with hot water to a volume of about six ounces (not a long pull).

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