Coffee Stories

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Many of us can’t get through the day without our caffeine fix, but how many of know the origins behind our coffee words? Today we’re going to take a look at five different types of coffee beverage and how they got their names. 

To learn more about the origin of the word ‘coffee’ itself, click here.

Espresso is made by forcing steam through finely ground coffee beans. The word comes from the Latin ‘exprimere’ meaning ‘press out, squeeze out’. The rest of the coffees explored in this blog post are made using espresso as a base.

A macchiato is an espresso with a small amount of milk added to it. In Italian, the word means ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ and was first used in reference to coffee when baristas needed to differentiate between espressos and espressos with milk. Thus, an espresso that had been spotted with milk came to be known as a macchiato.

An espresso topped with frothed up milk is known as a cappuccino. In Italian ‘capuccino’ is the diminutive of ‘cappuccio’ meaning ‘hood’ (from the Latin ‘caputium’ -where we also get the word ‘cap’ from). The name has nothing do with the ‘hood’ of frothed milk the tops the drink, but because the drink’s colour supposedly resembles the red-brown of the hooded robes worn by capuchin monks and nuns.

Latte literally means ‘milk coffee’ and refers to an espresso served with hot milk. It comes from the Latin ‘lactis’.

An Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso, and the word is simply Italian for ‘American coffee’. One popular theory behind the origin of the Americano is that American GIs, when posted in Italy, used to dilute their espresso with hot water in order to make it more like the drip coffee they were accustomed to from back home. In Italy, the word Americano is also sometimes used in reference to drip coffee.

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out some of our other blog posts?

How do you prefer your coffee? Or are you a tea drinker? Are there any other words you’d like us to explore the origins of? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Have a good week!

17 Nov 2015
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