The non-hipster's guide to coffee

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When it comes to coffee, everyone thinks they’re a bit of a barista.

From blends and beans, to steamed or scolded milk, there’s a whole lotta buzzwords around coffee to say the least. And in the era of the hipster, who knows what you could be ordering with some of the terminology used in these uber-cool coffee shops.

But step away from the naff instant mix – your taste buds don’t deserve that sort of torture!  We’ve looked at some of the most popular caffeine concoctions out there and what they actually mean to help you choose the right coffee.

Name: Latte

What it really means: “I just want a bog-standard coffee.”   

Your entry-level coffee. No thrills, tricks or pizazz, the latte is a simple mix of a shot of coffee and steamed milk. It’s probably the most common style of coffee but can easily be mistaken for the flat white (more on that later).

Name: Cappuccino

What it really means: “Can I get a latte with some added Hollywood!”

Traditionally a breakfast beverage, a cappuccino is a three-layered coffee that packs a whole lot of froth. Usually it consists of a shot of espresso, a shot of steamed milk and finished with a layer of frothed, foamy milk. It’s got a bit more sumptuousness about it than a latte (we think it’s just because of the foaminess), and the espresso shot gives it a little extra caffeine kick.

Name: Flat white

What it really means: “I don’t know what I’m ordering but everyone is on about it.”  

The big one – what is a flat white?! Every man, woman and dog seems to have made a flat white their go-to for a caffeine fix, without any real clue about what it is.

Well, the flat white is practically the love child of a latte and a cappuccino. It has the strong espresso characteristics of a cappuccino, but rather than having oodles of froth, it just topped with a thin layer of steamed milk to give the drink a nice creamy taste. As one fast food chain put it in, “it’s a strong latte with less milk”.

It’s usually served in a smaller cup than other coffees and comes complete with a jazzy leafy pattern on top.

Name: Mochaccino

What it really means: “I really want a hot chocolate but I’m a grown adult.”

We get it, coffee isn’t to everyone’s taste. But we’ve all been in that situation where its better to order something than to order nothing at all, so make the mochaccino your go-to on any hot drinks’ menu. It simply takes the basic premise of a latte and loads it up with either chocolate powder or syrup, before topping it with a mass of whipped cream. The sweet-toothed dream.

Name: Espresso

What it really means: “I’ve had two hours’ sleep. Please. Help.”

Whether you’ve had a big night out, got a new born who screamed the roof down from 1am or couldn’t sleep as you stupidly watched Paranormal Activity before bed, an espresso could be the perfect choice. This is coffee at its very purest, shooting boiling water under high pressure through finely ground up coffee beans and into a small jug. The taste is pretty different to anything else featuring on this list – be warned, it’s an acquired one!

Name: Macchiato

What it really means: “Can I pretend I’m sat in a piazza in Milan please?”

By far the coolest looking option in this coffee guide. A macchiato is an espresso, topped with a small serving of foamed milk. Short, strong and, to be honest, sexy.

Name: Americano

What it really means: “Give me an armed services-strength hot cup of Joe!”

Think of an espresso, but on steroids. The Americano originates from the US army, where soldiers were served up this caffeine concoction during battles to keep them warm and alert. Make it is easy enough too – just add hot water to your standard espresso and hey presto – you’ve got an Americano! For an alternative version, ask your barista for an iced Americano.