White cup of espresso on saucer

Coffee Shop Terms You May Not Know


In theory, ordering coffee is a relatively simple act. Add in the jumble of embellished drink titles and multitude of brewing options that alter the coffee experience entirely and suddenly things can seem complicated. Luckily, getting acquainted with the jargon around your favorite beverage can be a fun and tasty experience! Here is a breakdown of several common terms to get you started.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is a widely popular trend in coffee right now. It differs from iced coffee by the way that it uses cold or room temperature water to extract its flavor, rather than using hot water for the brew and pouring over ice. Also, cold brew coffee steeps in cold water for at least 12 hours before serving, which preserves and enriches its flavoring.

Nitro Cold Brew

Another favorite of cold coffee drinkers, nitro cold brew is cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen. Unlike traditional cold brew, it is not typically served over ice and has a thicker and creamier consistency, as well as a higher concentration of caffeine.


Within the espresso family, the cortado is comprised of half espresso and half foamed milk. This is a way to consume an espresso that offers rich and smooth flavor without sacrificing the strength of the drink. Some familiar drinks that are related to the cortado are the americano and macchiato.

French Press

French Press is arguably the purest form of coffee one can make themselves, and many coffee shops will be happy to make it for you upon request! This is based in the mechanism behind the brewing. A French Press is an elegant glass pot that is designed to work with the natural oils within coffee that preserve its natural flavors. Regular coffee pots and automatic coffee pots can interfere with that process because of their use of filters and plastic.

Pour Over

Pour over coffee has recently become popular in the coffee shop industry, particularly in more artsy shops, because of its hands-on creation process. This is another way to extract flavor from the grounds for richer taste. The barista will slowly pour water onto coffee grounds that rest in a filter above the cup to serve it. There is an element of craftsmanship behind this method, since it requires a well-timed and subtle pour.

Red Eye

A red eye is served as a regular cup of drip coffee that is topped off with a shot of espresso. This is an intensely caffeinated drink that is popular for aiding in the survival of sleepless nights. There are few different nicknames for the red eye, originating from different regions.

The Pacific Northwest nicknamed it “a shot in the dark,” Alaska calls it “a sludge cup,” and parts of the Northeast coast refer to it as “the mondo.” Aside from its many nicknames, the red eye also has two variations. A black eye is the term used when two shots of espresso are added to the coffee and a dead eye are when three shots are added.

Now that you’ve begun your journey into coffee terms, visit your local Mochas & Javas, a coffee shop in San Marcos and Frisco, to try a taste of one of these beverages. We’re always happy to help you find your next favorite!

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