The Electric Coffee Bean Experience

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Espresso Joe and the coffee menu

This post originally appeared in NZ News UK on 14 Dec, 2011.

Tired of ordering the same old flat white or latte but not sure what else to try?

I did not know that.

Unsure of the difference between a cortado, macchiato or a ristretto?

Let’s make some new coffee friends.


The staple for any café worth its name. Roughly thirty mls of water heated to around 95 degrees Celsius is forced through approximately seven or eight grammes of roasted and ground coffee beans. The process should take between twenty and thirty seconds. This explanation is bound to cause controversy as every barista will have their own proportions for making espresso. It’s an art, not a science. Variables include the bean, environ temperature, moon phases and last night’s alcohol intake of your barista. Hipster score: 10/10


This is an espresso on a short time fuse. The water flow has been restricted (hence the name) helping to eliminate some of the bitterness that can be associated with espresso, creating a smoother coffee. Hipster score: 9/10


This is just like making a cup of coffee at home except that it uses an espresso shot instead of a teaspoon of instant. Pour hot water over espresso and there’s your Americano. Generally, this will disperse the crema sitting on top of the espresso. Hipster score: 6/10

Long Black.

Do you like the crema? The long black is essentially an Americano made in reverse. The hot water is already sitting in the cup before the double shot of espresso is pulled directly on to it. Hipster score: 7/10


It means milk. In some countries, if you ask for a latte, you will be served a glass of hot frothy moo juice. Soy lattes are an oxymoron. Lattes are sometimes served in a glass, or sometimes in a bucket. Can be used as a perjorative as in this NY Times excerpt, “self-indulgent, self-centered, latte-drinking, DKNY-wearing, BMW-driving, inner-child-searching softies.” Hipster score: 4/10

Flat White.

A favourite of Antipodeans. The flat white has less milk, less foam (hence flat white) and therefore proportionately more coffee than a latte. The desired texture is a velvety sensuality and there should also be a natural sweetness. New Zealand flatties tend to be double espresso shots while Australians typically pour a single. This possibly explains why Australia recently lost a cricket test in Australia to the New Zealanders for the first time in twenty four years – under caffeinated. Hipster score: 8/10 if made the Kiwi way; 136 all out if Australian.


Stands mid-way between a latte and a flat white. All the foam seems to head to the top of the drink, creating an even base for chocolate or cinnamon sprinkles. If this happens, you don’t really have a cappuccino. The foam should have folded back into the milk during the pour, creating a velvety texture throughout the entire cup. Hipster score: 6/10


Espresso with a tiny amount of milk “staining’ it. Roughly a tea spoon of milk to cut the acidity. Hipster score: 7/10.


Take a shot of espresso and the equivalent volume of steamed milk and combine. Hey presto… a cortado. Very Spanish and muy macho. Hipster score: 8/10

London Fog.

A latte made with Earl Grey tea. Also known as an abomination. Hipster score: 1/10

Hope the explanations help. Now go and get caffeinated.


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3 thoughts on “Espresso Joe and the coffee menu

  1. Ristretto’s being my fav coffee would see me giving it 10 out of 10. Not had a London fog before but willing to try one even though the hipster score is 1. Does England know anything about coffee 🙂 Or are they learning from the Aussies?

  2. Pingback: What is a flat white? | Coffee Hunter

  3. I like how you put your definition of a flat white in context with the other drinks. I’ve quoted your definition on my London Coffee Blog:
    I’m not so sure about the Australian references or why people think they tend to use a single shot. Maybe that’s a Sydney vs. Melbourne thing?

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