Espresso Terms and Definitions

Espresso Drink Types, Espresso Machine Parts and More

Because pulling espresso shots is a rather technical business, espresso terms make up many of the coffee jargon out there. Learn about espresso terms for espresso drinks, espresso machinery and more with this guide to espresso terminology. Each term is linked to a glossary entry with a definition, pronunciation guide and (in most cases) a photo.

  • 01 of 05

    Classic Espresso Drink Terms

    Cappucino. Brian Macdonald / Getty Images

    These are the core, classic espresso drinks you'll find on almost any coffee shop menu. Some are more recent in terms of coffee's history, but they are not so novel or new as, say, the mocha latte.

    • Caffe Americano: a shot of espresso combined with enough hot water to fill a 6-ounce cup.
    • Caffe Breve: espresso with steamed half and a half.
    • Caffe Latte: a double espresso topped with steamed milk and foam to fill.
    • Cafe au Lait and Cafe con Leche: espresso with milk, no foam, may include sugar.
    • Cafe Noisette: espresso with a bit of cream.
    • Cappuccino: single espresso with equal parts steamed milk and frothed milk.
    • Espresso con Panna: espresso topped with whipped cream.
    • Espresso Macchiato: a single or double espresso topped with a dollop of heated, texturized milk.
    • Flat White: a shot of espresso and a double shot of steamed milk, no foam.
    • Latte Macchiato or Long Macchiato: a half shot or less of espresso and the rest of the cup filled with steamed milk.
  • 02 of 05

    Modern Espresso Drink Terms

    Traditional Italian drink, the Espresso Martini
    Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

    In addition to the classics listed above, there are many popular types of espresso drinks that many coffee shops now offer. Here are some of the most common:

    • Caffe Mocha or Mocha Latte: a double espresso with steamed milk, chocolate, and foam.
    • Dirty Chai: a shot of espresso mixed into a chai tea with steamed milk.
    • Flavored Latte: a double espresso with steamed milk, foam, and flavoring syrup or powder added.
    • Quad: four shots of espresso
    • Red Eye: a shot of espresso on top of a cup of brewed coffee.

    And, although it's rare to find them in a coffee shop, espresso martinis have become another popular type of espresso drink in some bars, restaurants and coffee lovers homes. (Heads up -- this last link goes to a recipe gallery, not a glossary page.)

  • 03 of 05

    Espresso Ordering Terms

    Espresso Macchiato coffee art
    Tanja-Tiziana, Doublecrossed Photography / Getty Images

    Beyond classic espresso drink terms and contemporary espresso drink terms, you'll likely also hear various ordering terms in the coffee house. Here are some common terms related to ordering espresso:

    • Cap: cappuccino
    • Doppio: two shots of espresso
    • Double: twice as much, which can be applied to espresso shots, milk, flavoring, foam, etc.
    • Dry: top only with foam, no hot milk.
    • Lungo: A long pull, slower and more voluminous extraction.
    • Ristretto: a short shot of espresso, just the first 3/4 ounce of an extraction.
    • Shot: one ounce of espresso.
  • 04 of 05

    Espresso Machine Parts & Espresso Grinder Parts

    espresso machine pouring coffee into cups
    Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images

    Espresso makers and grinders are surprisingly complex machines with their own sets of jargon. Here are the top terms you'll need to know to operate an espresso machine and a coffee grinder in a coffee house setting:

    • Basket: this is where you put the coffee grounds to brew an espresso, which is then attached to the portafilter and locked into the head group.
    • Portafilter: holds the basket to the group head during extraction.
    • Group Head: the front of the espresso machine where the water is forced through the portafilter and the espresso is extracted.
    • Boiler: where the water is heated.
    • Conical Burr Grinder: grinds the coffee beans.
    • Doser: attached to a coffee grinder, it doses out the right amount of ground coffee into the basket.
    • Hopper: the part of the coffee grinder where the beans are held.
    • Knock Box: technically an espresso machine accessory, it's where you dispose of the espresso grounds after extraction.
    • Tamper (also an accessory): used to pack the grounds into the basket.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    More Espresso Terms

    Cup of espresso on a table of wood.
    Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

    If you've clicked through the links above, you've got all the basics. However, there are a few more espresso terms that will help you understand espresso making and espresso drinking better:

    • Barista: the person who makes the espresso.
    • Crema: the tan-colored foam on top of a shot of espresso.
    • Demitasse: a small cup holding two to three fluid ounces, used for espresso.
    • Mouse Tails: the drip of extracted espresso from the portafilter in two streams.
    • Puck: the compressed cake of ground coffee through which the hot steam is forced to extract espresso.