10 Coffee Orders To Step Up Your Game

Remember when ordering a cappuccino was the epitome of cool? Now that the espresso-and-milk-foam drinks have been co-opted by coffee chains and morphed into mochaccinos, frappuccinos and pumpkin-spice-doughnut-flavored caffeinated milkshakes, it's safe to say they've lost their edge. If you're looking to inject a little pick-me-up into your morning joe routine, why not try one of these 10 coffee orders to step up your game? They're what the cool kids of today's coffee culture are ordering. (Single-origin, direct-trade, craft-roasted beans go without saying.)

1. Macchiato: Most people know this one by now. It's become a classic after-dinner order, consisting of espresso, served in its dainty little espresso cup, and topped with the foam from the top of a pitcher of steamed milk. "Marked" with milk foam, or so it was named.

2. Gibraltar: Born in San Francisco out of the desperate need for a drink that is taller than a macchiato, but shorter than a latte, the Gibraltar was named for the four-ounce glass in which it's served. It quickly became a cult order for coffee bar insiders, and eventually spread outside the Bay Area to coffee geek hotspots around the country and beyond.

3. Cortado: Depending on where you order it, a cortado may be indistinguishable from a Gibraltar. If a coffee bar has them both on the menu, the cortado will be slightly longer. Trendy it may be, but new it is not. This Spanish order of coffee, "cut" (the translation of cortado) with steamed milk, is as old as afternoon siestas.

4. Flat white: We recently examined the flat white, when Australia's Toby's Estate Coffee made its American debut. It's a latte-like order especially popular Down Under, consisting of a shot of espresso (or two, in Toby's case), topped with steamed milk. It has a little less milk and is served in a smaller cup than its Italian cousin.

5. Guillermo: Pour espresso over a couple slices of lime and you've got yourself a Guillermo. You can have this iced or hot, black or with milk. Now, this one might seem counterintuitive, but coffee is actually highly acidic and so the lime works better than you would think. Make this with a bright, fruity espresso and you'll get the appeal.

6. Breve: Even if your Italian is molto terribile, you can probably guess that this drink translates as 'short.' What you might not have guessed is that it's made with espresso topped with steamed half-and-half, instead of milk, including a rich, dense foam cap.

7. Con Panna: If you're going for half-and-half, you might as well get your money's worth and take the cream all the way. Espresso con panna is a single or double shot, topped with an unctuously, if naughty, dollop of whipped cream. Because coffee breaks are meant to be enjoyed.

8. Affogato: Speaking of extra calories (ahem), you can turn a coffee break into all-out dessert with an affogato. Meaning "drowned" in Italian, affogato is a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato. While enjoyable any time of day, it's especially sweet after dinner, when dessert and coffee can be combined into a single, delectable word.

9. Corretto: Another coffee drink probably best saved for after dinner is the corretto. It translates as "corrected," as in, corrected with booze. Specifically, it refers to coffee spiked with grappa, brandy, sambuca or some other digestivo, such as an amaro, or a flavored liqueur. Bottoms up!

10. Shakerato: There was a time when iced coffee was as hard to find in Italy as a car with an automatic transmission. Nowadays, the shakerato is ubiquitous in the summer. It's made with a shot of espresso, sugar and ice cubes, shaken in a cocktail shaker and poured into a martini glass. Can you think of a better way to cool off in the heat?

More about coffee on Food Republic.
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  • Inside Illy's Coffee and Wine Empire 
  • The Coffee Is On at Woodberry Kitchen