If you frequent a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for your daily dose of caffeine, chances are you feel slightly lost while reading over the options at your local coffee shop. While you most likely recognize the standard “cappuccino” or “latte,” you’re overwhelmed by all the options with strange names. One name seems vaguely familiar among the choices  the macchiato. You order it, expecting a 12 or 16-ounce drink with caramel drizzles and an equal milk to coffee ratio. When it’s presented to you, you’re puzzled to see a foamy brown liquid inside a tiny cup fit for a child’s tea party. After a moment of pause, you grab the barista’s attention to say, “This is not what I ordered.” But it is.

I want to stop these kinds of mix ups from happening. Understanding the basics of each will make you sound like a professional the next time you step up to the counter.

Below I will describe:

    • Composition of the drink
    • Taste
    • Best time to enjoy it
    • Intensity on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most intense)
Coffee - Pair

Photo by Rachel Piorko


  • ½ espresso, ½ foam-infused milk.
  • Strong, but smooth. Not too bitter. Incredible flavor.
  • When? During a leisurely morning or an afternoon lunch break.
  • Level 4


  • One shot of espresso with a touch of foam.
  • Pretty bitter, but has a lot to offer.
  • When? While reading a James Joyce book or musing over the meaning of life.
  • level 4½

Red Eye (called a brewski at Brew HaHa):

  • Drip coffee with a shot of espresso.
  • Similar to drip coffee with added richness.
  • When? There is no way you can make it through the day or finish that paper that’s due in three hours.
  • Level 4


  • Hot water with a double shot of espresso.
  • Also similar to a bold drip coffee, but weaker than a red eye.
  • When? Espresso scares you.
  • Level 3

Double Espresso:

  • 1.5 ounces. more concentrated than a single shot.
  • Will “put hair on your chest”, as they say. Dense and bitter, but flavors vary from cup-to-cup.
  • When? Morning, afternoon and after dinner… or if you want to impress a group of Europeans or hipsters.
  • Level 5

If you want to find one of these finely crafted beverages on campus, I would suggest purchasing them at Central Perk, Brew HaHa or Brewed Awakenings. *pictured drinks created at Brew HaHa; macchiato made with soy milk