Starbucks Crash Course, Part 3, Everything Else

Ok, final lesson.

You know what a latte is and how to customize it. Now, what about the other weird drinks?

The difference between a cappuccino and a latte is minor in recipe, major in texture. A latte is, again, espresso shots with steamed milk and about a quarter inch of foam at the top. A cappuccino is espresso shots, a tiny bit of steamed milk, and mostly foam. Remember, milk for lattes is steamed with the wand towards the surface of the milk, to make foam, and then the wand is plunged deeper into the milk to steam it smooth. With a cappuccino, the wand never gets plunged in deeper, and the result is creamy, dense milk bubbles. After it is steamed, the foamy milk is poured over the shots right away before it has a chance to separate. The result is a very light airy foamy drink. Some people like their cappuccinos "wet" (more milk, less foam) "dry" (more foam, less milk) or "all foam". They are, by far, my favorite drink to make, because it's kind of an "art" to get the foamy milk just right.

Chai originally comes from India, and it is made will milled spices, tea, and milk. If you go to India, you will find that they take great pride in creating Chai, and it's readily available in restaurants and from street vendors. At Starbucks (and most coffee shops in the US) they use a concentrate of Chai and mix it with hot water. Many people feel as if we are "watering down" their drink when they see us put the water in, so they ask for no water. I think that it makes the drink too strong, and you aren't getting the proper proportions. Also, the water we use is 200 degrees, and the milk is only 160 degrees. Using the hotter water will make the drink the right temperature. Chai is made with chai concentrate, the water, and then the milk. (Rachel, it's delicious with vanilla in it, too!)

An americano is espresso shots in water. It makes a sort of coffee looking drink, and many people love these iced.

The caramel macchiato is a "special" recipe. It is (in order of how it's made): vanilla syrup, steamed milk, foam, espresso shots, and caramel drizzle. The espresso going in last, through the foam, "marks" the foam with spots where it goes through. "Macchiato" means "marked" in Italian.

There is caramel cider, which is cinnamon syrup, steamed cider and whipped cream. It gets caramel drizzle.

Of course, there's normal coffee and tea. There are several types of tea and every day three different types of coffee are brewed: a dark roast, a milder roast and a decaf. There is iced coffee and iced tea, and you can get the iced tea mixed with lemonade.

There's the crash course! Now you can walk in and order that: "Iced Grande Non-Fat Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte" (which is what I ordered for my mom once), a "Grande Organic Chai Latte"... or if you're feeling really bold, you can get what I had this afternoon: an "Iced Half-Caf Quad Venti Three-Pump Soy Mocha With a little whip".