Ristreto. Coffee & Tea.

Terminology

 [e-SPRES-oh] - Coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground  coffee beans.
 [LAH-tay] - Espresso with foamy, steamed milk
 [kap-poo-CHEE-noh] - Espresso with equal parts of milk foam and steamed milk. Can also be ordered wet (more milk) or dry (more foam)
 [mah-kee-YAH-toh] - Espresso with a dollop of steamed milk foam
 [BRAY-vay] - Espresso with steamed half & half or whipping cream instead of milk
 [e-SPRES-oh kon PAHN-nah] - Espresso with a dollop of whipped cream
 [MOH-kah] - Espresso combined with chocolate or caramel syrup and whipped cream
 [ah-MER-i-KAHN-oh] - Espresso diluted with hot water in equal portions
 [ka-FAY oh LAY] - Regular coffee (instead of espresso) with steamed milk in equal parts
 Freshly brewed regular or decaffeinated coffee of the day


 


   Is there a difference between a latte and a cappuccino?
  I avoid coffeehouses because I don’t understand all the choices on the menu.  How can I order without feeling intimidated?
   

Will a dark roasted coffee keep me awake longer than a light roasted coffee?

  How does roasting coffee affect its flavor?
  What should I look for when giving coffee as a gift?
  

 

     Is there a difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

This short question requires a relatively long answer!  The terms “latte” and “cappuccino” are often (although incorrectly) used interchangeably by coffee lovers and some of the less-informed coffee purveyors.  Even though both beverages are made of the same ingredients, there is one big difference:  the quantity of steamed milk foam.  Lattes are mostly steamed milk with just a small cap of milk foam (less than half an inch), whereas cappuccinos have equal proportions of steamed milk and milk foam.  If more foam is desired, a cappuccino can be ordered “dry”.  Conversely, a “wet” cappuccino has more steamed milk than foam.  What’s the big deal with foam?  Properly prepared, steamed milk foam adds a sweet, dessert-like quality to espresso drinks.  The tighter and more compact the foam, the better the flavor.  Ideally, the foam should be firm enough to peak like meringue.  Drinks with large, “soap bubble” milk foam are usually tasteless in comparison.  So the next time you’re visiting your favorite coffeeshop, be sure to bring along a ruler to see how their lattes and cappuccinos “measure up”!

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I avoid coffeehouses because I don’t understand all the choices on the menu.  How can I order without feeling intimidated?

Coffeehouse menus may appear exotic, but most of the drinks are essentially just variations of one coffee beverage: the latte.  Here's how the other drinks differ.  Latte (LAH-tay) - Espresso and steamed milk with a small amount of milk foam.  Often served with flavored syrups.    Cappucino (kap-poo-CHEE-noh) - A latte with equal parts of steamed milk and foam.    Mocha (MO-kah) - A latte with chocolate or caramel sauce.    Mocha Specialty - A mocha with added syrup flavorings to simulate candy bars like Snickers or Milky Way.    Breve (BRAY-vay) - A latte made with half&half rather than milk.  Very rich, and Atkins friendly!    Cafe Au Lait (kaf-ay oh LAY) - A latte made with drip coffee rather than espresso for less intense coffee flavor.  Additionally, there are espresso beverages made without milk.    Americano (ah-MER-i-KAH-noh) - Espresso diluted to drip coffee strength.    Macchiato (mah-kee-YAH-toh) - Espresso with a dollop of steamed milk foam.    Espresso Con Panna (eh-SPRE-soh kahn PAH-nah) - A macchiato with whipped cream rather than milk foam.  Now you can visit your local coffeehouse and order new and exciting drinks like a pro!

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Will a dark roasted coffee keep me awake longer than a light roasted coffee?

No, the light roast will keep you awake longer!  Coffee lovers often assume that deep, rich dark roasted coffees must have correspondingly higher caffeine content than their less intense, light roasted cousins.  However the opposite is true, because caffeine is cooked away during the coffee roasting process.  The longer the roast, the less the caffeine!  Another factor affecting coffee caffeine content is the length of time coffee grounds are in contact with water.   Drip coffee has significantly more caffeine than an espresso coffee because the grounds soak in water for minutes versus seconds.  So the next time you’re at your local coffeehouse, order your favorite dark coffee with the confidence that you won’t be sacrificing additional hours of sleep later that night!

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How does roasting coffee affect its flavor?

Roasting is the key process in establishing coffee flavor and aroma.  Sugars, starches, and fats from the coffee bean are released and transformed during the roasting process into the caramel, rich, sweet, and smoky flavors we enjoy.  Note that coffee beans have approximately 1500 flavor characteristics that can be enhanced or subdued by the roaster through blending and roasting beans.  With so many flavors available in the bean, a roaster must be part artist and part scientist to ensure coffee quality and consistency.  Here is a brief guide to help you match a roast to your taste preference beginning with the light roasts.  Cinnamon, Light, or New EnglandToasted grain flavor;  American, Regular, or Medium:  Rich and rounded, with no grain taste;  Full City, City, or Vienna:  Well rounded with a slight bittersweet tang;  Espresso, Italian, French, or Continental: Distinct bittersweet tang with little acidity;  Dark Italian or Dark French: Distinct bittersweet tang with no acidity.  Be sure to get some beans from your favorite coffeeshop, and boast your roast at your next dinner party!

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What should I look for when giving coffee as a gift?

Coffee makes a wonderful, budget-friendly gift.  Roasted to perfection, coffee provides warmth, comfort, and an overall sense of well-being.  It is truly an international gift with beans sourced from Central America, Africa, Indonesia, and other distant locations.  Tastes can range from earthy and rich to nutty and chocolaty to floral and fruity.  Selecting the perfect coffee gift starts with the level of roast.  Although there are many names for the degree of roast (City, Full City, Espresso, Italian, French, etc), coffees can be grouped simply as light, medium, and dark roasts.  Light roasts are known for their toasted grain flavors, medium roasts have richer and rounded tastes, while dark roasts have smoky bittersweet flavors.  If you’re buying for someone who enjoys chocolate and nut flavors, look at coffees from Central America.  African coffees are renowned for their floral and fruit tones.  Coffees from Indonesia are earthy, rich, and deep making them perfect for satisfying the most exotic palette.  Coffee accessories make fun gifts too.  Travel mugs and French presses are fine gifts for any coffee lover.

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