Being a manual brewing enthusiast and living somewhat far from any third wave coffee shop, I must admit I can get a little hazy on all the different espresso drinks.

The comedian Jim Gaffigan has a funny bit about working in a Mexican restaurant. In the bit, he essentially points out the fact that no matter what you are ordering at a Mexican restaurant, you are getting the same few ingredients (tortilla with cheese, meat or vegetables) presented in a different way and called something slightly different.

I imagine that the majority of casual coffee shop patrons feel the same way when they are trying to order an espresso drink at a coffee shop.

Rewritten, the bit would go something like this:

“What is a Cortado?” It is espresso with steamed, frothed or foamed milk.
“What is a Flat White?” It is espresso with steamed, frothed or foamed milk.
“What is a Cappuccino?” It is espresso with steamed, frothed or… Look it’s all the same stuff. Just say a fancy coffee shop term and I’ll bring you something delicious.

In the spirit of learning things by writing about them, I thought it might be useful to compile a concise list of the most popular beverages you encounter at third wave coffee shops.

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