Java Jargon

September 2017 View more

Just when you think you’ve perfected your latte lingo, coffee houses are upping their game. To satisfy increased fervor for gourmet and specialty drinks, coffee menus are becoming increasingly similar to complex wine lists.

Whether you’re a DIY home brewer or regular with your favorite barista, an expanded coffee lexicon is needed to stay on top of these delicious trends.

The Drinks
Take your grande half-caff sugar-free soy latte to the next level with these new coffee house offerings.

Nitro Cold Brew: Guinness has been doing it for decades and now coffee roasters are in on the nitro craze. The gas creates pockets of air in the body of the brew that gives it a luxurious mouthfeel like a milkshake—sans the calories or dairy. Coffee connoisseurs drink it black.

Cascara: Spanish for “shell,” cascara is the skin of a coffee cherry that is removed and dried after the coffee bean is removed. Cascara is then steeped in hot water, like tea, but the resulting drink is neither coffee nor tea—it has its own unique, sweet taste.

Sparkling Coffee: Carbonated coffee hit the streets a few years ago, starting with a shot of sparkling water served on the side. Coffee houses are now taking that one step further, putting the bubbly liquid directly in their trendy brew. Soda fans now have two ways to get a caffeine fix.

The Devices
Technophobes rejoice: This gear operates on classic physics concepts, not sophisticated mechanics.

Aerobie AeroPress: Coffee is steeped in a syringe-like contraption suspended above a cup. The fun part is pushing the water through a disposable filter by pressing a plunger through the press’ tube. Air pressure extracts the flavor of fine-ground coffee to an espresso-like strength. Second Chance Coffee Company, Wheaton, $31


Hario V60: This classic cone-shaped drip brewer is perfect for very patient people who want to perfect their pour. Gather the gear—a scale, brewing carafe, dripper, grinder, filter and cup—and pay attention to the details. The pourover is all about execution. Sur la Table, Naperville, $25 to $72


Chemex: If you loved working with beakers in chemistry class, this brewing method is for you. An hourglass shaped vessel is one part filter holder, one part carafe. The system produces multiple stronger cups of coffee without bitterness, perfect for iced coffee and gourmet recipes. Williams-Sonoma, Naperville and Geneva, $36.95 to $45.95