All Your Coffee Questions, Answered

If you’ve ever sat at the counter of your favorite coffee shop (Starbucks,Dunkin' Donuts, or otherwise) for more than five minutes trying to figure out what, off of their extensive and extremely complicated menu, you would like to order, this one is for you: Ryoko Iwata of is back, and this time, she’s got answers to all the questions you’ve ever had about coffee that you were afraid to ask your barista for fear of looking stupid. Oh, and they’re in a handy-dandy infographic, to boot. Everybody wins!

OK, so maybe these aren’t all the coffee questions you’ve ever had; they are, however, six of the most useful ones out there. Curious about the difference between a light roast and a dark roast? It’s kind of like the difference between eating a filet mignon cooked medium rare and one well-done. Bam! Not sure what separates a café latte and a café au lait? Besides the fact that ordering one makes you sound like Admiral FancyPants (Iwata’s wonderful word choice, not mine), it has to do with whether it’s based on espresso or drip coffee. You can also find out what makes espresso different from drip coffee — and no, it’s not just the beans. If you’re well-versed in your coffee terminology, you might already be familiar with some of these answers; you also might learn something, though, so take a peek below.

And while we’re on the subject of fearing looking stupid, a word of advice: Don’t. A new report recently released by researchers from Harvard Business School and Wharton School found that although people fear asking for advice risks them looking incompetent, the opposite is actually true. People who ask questions are thought to be more competent to the people they’re asking. So ask away, and drink up!

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Images: Zach "Pie" Inglis/Flickr;