A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Shops

A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Shops

Everyone’s been there, and everyone remembers their first time. Unless you were brought up in a coffee loving family, you probably have never had much experience with coffee.

You probably have noticed that everyone around you is talking about it and drinking it. You are probably very familiar with the smell, intrigued by the proposed benefits, but not sure about the taste or which drink is right for you.

It is an uneasy feeling stepping into a coffee shop with friends who are experts in ordering. They likely get coffee every day and have found the exact type of coffee that they like. Their complicated order might leave you feeling the pressure to order something as specific, but there are many delicious options that will give you the same caffeinated feeling.

Walking In

The best place to start is at the front door. As soon as you walk into a coffee shop you are immediately hit with the alluring and intoxicating smell of the coffee and delicious pastries that the shop makes.

The energy of the store is relaxed, yet focused, and celebratory, yet serious. Coffee shops are a hotspot for relaxing, studying, working, and reading. People there are generally respectful, private, and motivated. Coffee shops are a great space for people to reflect, create, and rejuvenate.

Often there is a line of people waiting for their order, this will give you time to look over the menu and decide what you want to order. If there isn’t a line you can simply just step off to the side and read over the menu until you decide what you’d like to order.



If you’re having trouble deciding what you want to order, or would just like to know what to order when you walk in, here is a description of some of the kinds of drink you may see in a coffee shop.

Batch Brewed Coffee Most coffee shops will have a selection of batch brewed coffee that is either their own creation, or a supported brand. This coffee is filter made and brewed in large automated batches. It is usually stored in urns, thermoses, or airpots and immediately accessible.

Iced Coffee – It is exactly what it sounds like. If hot coffee is difficult to drink, or are looking for a more refreshing way to drink coffee, iced coffee might be for you. Some people complain about the ice “watering down” the coffee, but some coffee shops, like Zombie Coffee and Donuts, use ice cubes made out of coffee to avoid this problem.

Espresso – Espresso is a strong coffee concentrate. It is often served as a single shot, or mixed into a variety of delightful espresso drinks.

Espresso Drinks – There are many different labels and names for these espresso drinks, and many other different concoctions, but here are some of the most common and delicious ones you are likely to find in most coffee shops.

Latte – A latte is 180-300 ml of milk poured into a double shot of espresso. It is a very milk heavy drink. Some coffee shops allow you to substitute the milk for skim or almond milk. You can get your latte hot or cold, depending on your preference.

Cappuccino – A cappuccino is similar to a latte in that it is a double shot of espresso, but it has less than half the amount of milk and 60 ml of milk foam on top. You can order a cappuccino dry or wet depending on how much foam you want. A wet one will contain more milk and less foam, while a dry one will contain more foam and less milk.

Americano – An americano is a double shot of espresso with around 120 ml of hot water added to it.

Macchiato – A macchiato is an American favorite because of the dessert inspired variations. It only has a single shot of espresso, and a small amount of milk and milk foam. Many coffee shops will sell flavored macchiatos like the caramel macchiato, which is very sweet.

Affogato – An affogato is a scoop of ice cream or gelato with a shot of espresso on top. This provides for an extensive number of flavor combinations based on the variety of ice cream and gelato flavors available.

Mocha – A mocha is a combination of a double shot of espresso and 120 ml of hot chocolate, usually topped with whipped cream.

There are many more options, and some coffee shops have their own unique offers, but these are some of the most common ones to get you started. Most coffee shops are eager to talk to you about their product, and can customize your drink to your exact desire. Hopefully this prepares you so you can start enjoying your local coffee shop to the fullest.