I always ask for an espresso. They must be educated by example :-)
So I'm in a cafe last night (Penny Farthing in Northcote, a fairly good cafe) and I order a double espresso. When the barista brought it out he said "here's your short black".
Having lived in Australia for 8 years now I'm of course used to an espresso being called a short black, but for some reason last night it struck me that it's a shocking name! Why? Well here are some reasons:
Short black sounds too much like short mac, so much so that whenever I order a short mac I find myself exaggerating the pronunciation of the m, so it's more like a short mmmac. If we called it espresso then there'd be no confusion.
Espresso just sounds better, a little exotic, sexy even.
When it's served it's not even black to start with.
I always ask for an espresso. They must be educated by example :-)
Was she looking at your crutch when she said it? I had a laugh
So, what do they call a ristretto? A really short black?
I wasn't thinking that at all...
Not exactly sure where short black came from but I suspect it is an Americanized thing.
The real name for it is "caffè espresso" pronounced /kafˈfɛ/ not cafe which translates to espresso coffee or just "espresso".
Most areas in Italy you can ask for it using either of the above or even simply just say "caffè" which translates to coffee and you will be served an espresso by default.
Personally I can't stand it when a barista calls it short black, it's a very ugly description for a such an elegant beverage (when made correctly).
I guess if you are served either watery, bitter, under/over extracted black mess, then its very appropriate to call it short black.
Just my 2 cracks worth.
Thanks guys, I'm glad it's not just me who hates it being called a short black.
The term 'short black' is said to have come from this being used by American soldiers in Italy during WWII. Same for 'long black' which the Italians referred to as an Americano.
There are photos from Italy dating back to 1930 referring to a 'Viennese' - a coffee topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with either cinnamon and chocolate. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to adapt this to our modern version of a cappuccino.
I don't think Australia can claim credit for the terms. According to New Zealanders they own the term 'flat white'. I understand this had nothing to do with coffee but came about when they couldn't bake a pavlova any higher than a pizza.
The term is definitely an antipodean one. The first time I came across the term short black was when I moved from the UK to the North of NZ in 02, I asked for an espresso and was pointedly told it was a short black - later came to realise "foreign terms" are considered snooty and this was essentially a tall poppies issue. I subsequently also realised that calling it a short black meant the café could serve whatever the hell they wished, and often this would not be a standard espresso, certainly not an enjoyable black coffee. It was after this I gave up and started ordering flat whites, and became very particular about who I'd order an espresso from - if you can hear the banjos duelling, don't ask for an espresso...
Tried both but I mostly ask for a double espresso and hold my breath. Sometimes I get what I ask for, sometimes a long black and other times it seems like leftovers from the previous shot. Hard to get a good coffee some times. Some places I want to ask them if I can make my own coffee and show them how to use their coffee machine.
Typically I'll order a "double espresso" and have found myself showing the person behind the counter the expected depth with thumb and forefinger in an attempt to head off the standard question "do you mean a short black?"... but it makes no difference, they will mostly still ask.
Picture below of one I got last week...
The menu shows small and large espresso, small and large long macchiato but for some reason you can only get large iced coffee and iced chocolate and (rightly so) only a small short macchiato.
I ordered "Double Espresso", this is how it arrived at the table in a 220ml cup.
200ml of over extracted and over roasted coffee. Nasty.
...at least they have excellent baklava (which was the real reason that I stopped there)
(well that and I needed to clean the mess off my visor after the twisty roads at bug o'clock)
I could imagine that wasn't half filled with water either. Just pressed the large cup on a single handle and the cycle would have started.
-Espresso 25ml - 35ml,
-Watery espresso 35ml - 80ml,
-Wet beans 80ml - 120ml,
-Used dish water 120ml - 180ml,
-Cold bath tub water after a sweaty gym work out 180ml - 220ml
Hahaha! I love that description brendogs. The sadReality is that so many people are
Just thrown in front of a machine. Shown how things "work" and that's it. There is no real interest in whether or not it tastes ok. At the end of the day your talking about people who most likely only drink instant coffee and think that crap is the ducks guts so any old espresso based coffee is ok based on zero knowledge of what it should taste like. Which leads to cramp beans, burnt milk and poorly done shots. Nothing like burnt milk and a latte you can't even hold let alone put your mouth near. Then you have places like Gloria Jeans who's coffee the last time I tasted it should be poured down the sink before the cup is handed to the customer to save their taste buds from wanting to vacate the premises.
I generally ask for a "Doppio" or even a " Triplo". Asking for an Espresso generally gets me a single half the time...
I find if I ask for a Piccolo based on a single or double ristretto, i have a good strike rate of getting something decent.
This is only if the person serving understands what that is to start with, like i have found that in some places where the till is operated by someone who is uneducated, if they go and get the barista they generally no straight up what i want.
I have a memorable experience in a country town once where i asked for a Piccolo and the young girl could not understand the word. I explained what i wanted, but she did not know what button to push to get this. She then went and got the owner from out back, who looked my way then disappeared.
Came back 5mins later with a piece of paper, looked like she had printed something out of the net and trying to show the young girl what a Piccolo was. She then disappeared again, must have had more important things to to tend to rather than making sure the coffee turned out OK.
Anyway another 10 mins later! I received my coffee, watery, bitter and burnt.
My first post...
My daughter hated coffee, and potentially all CS as a result.
Working in a franchise chain, she would froth milk and press buttons like everyone was ever shown
12 months of servicing brown cups of dishwater, they finally sent her on formal training, including taste, texture, smell etc. she suddenly learnt that you can't add cold mild to burnt milk, a double isn't just more, cleaning can't wait to the end of the day, grinders, equipment, temperature, time all need adjustment, not just for the next cup, but sometimes for the customer too.. (Not all snobs are the same, although their language might be. One mans "extra hot" might be the next mans law suit!)
Crayons to perfume, cask to bottle, short black to espresso? Education is about being able to recognise gaps in knowledge and wanting to have the capacity to close the gap.
Sudden awareness of the difference between what she was making, and what she could make came with an epiphany. She left her job, and now works in a call centre where she can happily pay real CS barristers to serve her.
Praise The Lord of coffee.
Great post, and sorry to be spelling police but it's 'barista' not 'barrister'.
There was a time too when I used to drink franchise takeaway coffee, thinking that's what it was supposed to taste like.
In addition to "short black", the following inappropriate words also get on my nerves,
I'm at a cafe andy recommended. The blackboard says "risty".
Short black, long black and flat white are AU/NZ terms, nothing to do with American soliders in Italy, though the idea of adding extra hot water to an espresso (what we call a long black) to emulate the drip coffee they were used to was invented by them.
With the rise of trendy cafes over the last decade, I think the terms are facing extinction and now just indicate that a cafe doesn't know what they are doing.
Also, calling an Espresso and Latte a Caffe Espresso and Caffe Latte is redundant in English.
I rarely ever order an Espresso in a cafe - I save those for home where the quality is a known factor.
I do however occasionally weaken and order a Macchiato and I am always asked "Short or long?" to which I invariably reply "There is no such thing as a long Macchiato - I would like a traditional Macchiato, please". If they want to argue the point with me I am happy to do so. My goal in life in my retirement is to eliminate the term 'long Macchiato' from the coffee language.
Just another grumpy old man.
From Long Machiatto I essentially expect a double shot traditional Machiatto - I tend to ask for them 3/4 topped up (which is about 1/3 - 1/2 milk in a tulip) because it's the easiest way to get what I want. Doesn't always work out that way unfortunately.
I just wish people would stop serving them in glass!
So perhaps coffee outlets are hiring barristers instead of baristas??
I'll preface my previous comments with "As I understand it, " as I have no interest in seriously defending what I believe to be the etymology of the phrases.
My knowledge of the subject comes from wikipedia surfing and anecdotal tales on forums such as this of people never hearing the phrases before coming down under.
Really no need to become defensive about it taco. You may have noticed my earlier comment included, "is said to have come from" because I'm not sure whether the information is true or not. It would seem you aren't either.
I just thought you might have found some reliable source and I would be interested in learning more about that.
There is no risk of someone thinking you are ordering milk, if you just say Latte, so Caffe could be said to be redundant in this sense; which is not to say it's usage would be incorrect (just not typical).
Just a guess. Language is a weirdly flexible thing.
I meant it is redundant in Australian English where the term caffè is translated to coffee, but espresso and latte are loanwords which have no other meaning.
I was responding to the earlier poster who said the proper name for for an espresso is "caffè espresso" which would then lead to Australian English speakers calling it a "caffè espresso coffee" or "caffè latte coffee"
In both of the above, the words caffè and coffee are not needed because it is unambiguous what espresso and latte mean.
Obviously it isn't redundant in the native Italy or other English speaking countries that have not adopted the terms espresso and latte to be purely coffee terms.
I thought the same about that case until I watched Hot Coffee (2011) - IMDb
That doco changed my mind after seeing the pictures of her burns that required skin grafts. SERIOUSLY NASTY
Grab the doco sometime and I'm sure you we see just how big a role the media had in playing down the seriousness of it. Of course if I was into conspiracy theories I would say it was the same media that gets paid squillions by McD's for advertising. ;-)
It's even cooler to just pucker accompanied by an intense stare.
Tried a local place today. Linea and 7 seeds (I think)...
First attempt- pale crema, underextracted and lemons....so I offered feedback and politely requested a second attempt...Couldn't drink that one either
Fortunately the coffee at home is light years better.
Either a) they don't care too much about the flavour - maybe they're just after a caffeine hit.
b) They haven't had better.
c) maybe their palette is unable to discern the difference unlike you or me.
I suspect I may have ordered the only espresso of the day? I'm thinking cold single p/f and a Robur-E which hadn't been set for a single- perhaps because it's never used. 2 x espresso exactly the same, so they were consistent(ly shite).
I'm not a big fan of light roast espresso, but some have been ok. These two missed the dartboard entirely!