Expanding your espresso vocabulary!!

Hey, pals!

Figured you might need a new blog post from your ol’ pal Pat!

Now, I’m sure by now you know what your favorite Graham’s 318 drink is. You’ve ordered it a million-billion (probably a real number) times, and most of us working as your beloved baristas probably already know what you’re going to order before you even cross our threshold. This is all well and good. Heck, we LOVE that you have a favorite drink, and we even love making it for you, YOUR way.

What about trying something new? What about trying the same drink you always get, but in a new and exciting way?

Today I’m going to school you (I’m trying to sound hip…y’know, for the young folks) on how to order a drink, using a couple of terms that will alter not only the words you use to order it, but also the drink on the whole. So put on your learning caps, or at least a hat with the logo of your favorite football team, and let’s expand our brain muscles!!


Maybe this is one that you’ve heard before, maybe it’s even something you’ve seen on our menu. What is a “breve?”

A breve is a latte, essentially. It’s got our fantastic Metropolis Redline Espresso, hand brewed by one of our lovely and talented baristas. But here’s a hook; it’s made with half-and-half!! This is not a latte for the faint of heart. It’s rich, it’s creamy, and when you take your first sip, you know you’re getting the top of the line, smoothest and most decadent kind of latte on the market. I wouldn’t call it a traditional Italian-style espresso drink, because…it’s not an Italian-style espresso drink:. Much like many other things we love like baseball, rock and roll, and RoboCop it was created here in the good old U.S. of A. Some good ways to accent this fantastically rich drink would be to add a bit of flavoring. The popular flavors here at 318 are Vanilla, Irish Cream, and heck, if you really want to give your tummy something to thank you for; ask for it as a mocha. A mocha breve is amazing. I recommend breves paired up with a biscotti or macaron, a little bite to complement a hearty, soul-warming drink.

Ristretto Shots

Not everything that makes a drink different and exciting is in the milk. A Ristretto, loosely translated, means something to the effect of “short.” It’s a smaller shot, and is pressed for less time than your standard shots would be. This results in a very rich, oily (in the good way) extraction. If you like your espresso just straight up in one of our fancy Italian espresso cups, this might be something you should consider. The flavor is VERY bold, while simultaneously lacking the bitter tones that usually are at the forefront of a standard shot of espresso. If you’re not someone who drinks their shots by themselves, this is also a good option for drinks. I know plenty of folks who come in to 318 asking for something with coffee that doesn’t taste too “coffee-y.” This is something we not only respect, but as your baristas, we are happy to work with! If you’re new to coffee, or maybe have trouble with the bitterness of espresso, this is a good work-around. It still tastes like coffee, or if it’s just not for you, hot cocoa, steamers, and like, a million other things on the menu are great choices, but if you are starting to get the hang of espresso, but need a hand…this is a really great option. Also, that bitterness that you taste in your espresso is partially caused by the caffeine. Ristretto has a little bit less caffeine. NOTE: A LITTLE BIT LESS. This is not an alternative to decaf!!

Cafe Cubano 

That is really fun to say. Also, it’s delightful. What is it, you ask? It’s yet another method of brewing espresso, adapted by our Cuban barista friends and adopted by us! It’s a fancy way of making shots using sugar in the grounds themselves. Without boring you with the details, we add a bit of raw, unrefined sugar on top of the grounds before we work our magic and run it through the espresso machine. The water that runs through the machine is CRAZY hot, which hydrolyzes (great Scrabble word) the sucrose in the sugar into the espresso itself, creating a smoother, milder and sweeter taste. If you’re going to drink it straight, you really don’t need to add sugar, by itself it is already fairly sweet (if you’ve got a sweet tooth, add more! I’m not your boss!), but I would recommend adding just a dash of cream to help bring out the sweet and smokey tones of the espresso. If you like your lattes and cappuccinos, this is a great way to sweeten it, without added-in flavorings or extra spoonfuls of sugar. No, it’s not sugar-free, but if you’re looking to cut back, this is a very reasonable option for someone who likes their drinks sweetened.

Gelato Affogato

It’s a scoop of gelato with espresso poured over it. You can use regular shots, cubano shots, or ristretto shots in it. It’s awesome.

Whew! That was a lot of brain-knowledge I just dropped on you!

Please set down your pencils, close your notebooks, and raise your hand if you want a high-five.

If you’ve got any questions about this stuff, please, feel free to email me (grahamssocial@gmail.com), or heck, just swing on in and ask us in person. It’s not just me who knows this stuff. We, as baristas, make it our duty to grow our minds in ways that will make your Graham’s 318 experience more rich, joy-filled, and bodacious. Leave a comment if you’ve got something to ask, tell, or a funny joke to brighten our day.

We love you!!




~ by grahamschocolate on January 26, 2012.

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