30 Amazing Slang Terms For Coffee You Need To Know

There are many slang terms for coffee that may be unfamiliar to you. Here’s a list of the top slang terms for coffee that may help you become more devoted to coffee!

Slang terms for coffee
Add slang to create a challenging amount of new words

Different terms have been developed and used throughout the years to describe the fantastic beverage – coffee. Coffee culture can be overwhelming to engage in, particularly knowing the depth of knowledge and language that most coffee drinkers are familiar with and apply daily.

When you add slang to the mix, it can create a challenging amount of new words. To help you fit in, below is a list of the top 30 slang terms for coffee so you can blend in and get by in the ever-evolving coffee industry.

1. Java 

Java, an island in Indonesia, received coffee from Dutch traders in the 17th century. Initially,  “Java” only referred to coffee from that island. 

It didn’t take Java long to overtake other sources as the world’s leading coffee producer, causing the name to be associated with the drink rather than just the beans.

Even though Sumatran coffee beans may currently be the most well-known Indonesian coffee, Java has had a much more profound cultural impact on coffee drinkers worldwide.

2. Mocha 

The port of Mocha in Yemen was crucial in coffee’s early days. Ethiopian coffee beans arrived in Yemen as a relatively unknown product, and Mocha, the plant’s leading exporter for many centuries, helped the beans establish worldwide recognition.

Mocha was a term for beans from this region that, like Java, mostly came to be linked with coffee itself.

Coffee mocha
Mocha used chocolate syrup or chocolate bits

However, times change. The port of Mocha is no longer there. A caffè mocha, a chocolate-flavored latte with nothing to do with Yemen or the port of Mocha, is most likely what you will get if you buy a mocha at your local coffee shop today.

Usually, chocolate syrup or actual bits of chocolate are used to make it. This drink strikes the ideal balance between an espresso drink and a hot chocolate.

3. Jamocha 

As the definition of Mocha has developed, so too has Jamocha, which is much more likely to be a chocolate and coffee brew than just a standard coffee.

The term “Jamocha” dates back to the late 19th century. It came from when “coffee” and “mocha” were interchangeable. 

As a result of certain people experimenting with blends, the term “Jamocha” for coffee spread among younger generations. Today, the slang term “Jamocha” is commonly used on coffee shop menus to describe an espresso blended with chocolate and cream.

4. Joe 

The following are the top three leading theories about the word “Cup of Joe” origins:

  • Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy in 1913, restricted alcohol on military ships, which increased coffee consumption.
  • It’s a shortened version of java and jamoke, two other slang words for coffee.
  • Joe is considered a “common man” name, and coffee is regarded as a “common man” beverage.

5. Brew 

A traditional coffee synonym essentially only refers to the process of producing coffee.

6. Morning Brew

Since coffee is mostly seen as a morning beverage, this is an appropriate moniker.

7. Cuppa 

Although the British call tea a “cuppa,” many people use this term for any warm drink, including coffee. Although they will probably always reserve that word for tea, Americans often have their own take on the language. This can give words entirely new meanings, which happens sometimes.

8. Go Juice 

At first, this is a puzzling phrase. “Go Juice” pertains to how caffeine provides us with energy or to the diuretic properties of coffee. Coffee pumps the body full of caffeine, which causes it to “go” and become energetic, hence the slang.

9. Bean Juice 

Despite coffee being a seed, not a bean, we refer to them as beans since we use them to produce “juice,” thus, “Bean Juice.”

Close up of roasted coffee beans and leaves
Coffee bean produce juice

10. Jitter Juice 

A playful term about the jitters caused by consuming too much caffeine quickly. Additionally, it is a term used in place of coffee because drinking too much coffee can trigger twitching and anxiety.

11. Brain Juice 

Yes, coffee helps clear our minds when we wake up and provides that little extra boost so we feel alert.

12. High Octane 

This term is typically used as an adjective when discussing coffee high in caffeine. Additionally, you can use high octane to characterize acidic coffee.

13. Leaded/Unleaded 

Leaded and unleaded fuel for automobiles are highlighted here. This is another car analogy wherein unleaded coffee is decaf, while leaded coffee is caffeinated.

14. Liquid Energy 

Similar to alcohol as “liquid courage,” this term also describes the added boost that coffee gives.

15. Rocket Fuel 

“Rocket Fuel” is allusion to how coffee provides us with that extra jump, leaving us feeling like a rocket.

16. Morning Jolt 

Another mention of coffee and the most common times to consume it—are you sensing some pattern here? There are common expressions like, “I haven’t had my morning jolt yet; come back later.”

Attractive young happy female having morning coffee in bed
Morning jolt kicks in after drinking a cup of coffee

17. Cupped Lightning 

The term “Cupped Lightning” is used to indicate the amount of caffeine in the coffee, just like saying, “This morning, I drank some cupped lightning, and I feel fantastic.”

18. Dirt

Usually a term describing coffee with a thick mouthfeel and grit. It does not have to be terrible if you unintentionally got some coffee grinds in your cup, and the coffee became “dirt.”

19. Worm Dirt 

It generally relates to the amount of caffeine and coffee’s muddy appearance. It corresponds to the characteristically earthy flavor of a lot of batch-brewed coffee.

20. Mud

This relates to the earthy, dark-brown image of coffee in your cup. You can substitute the word coffee with “mud.”

21. ‘Spro 

For coffee purists, the abbreviation “Spro,” barista shorthand, or an abbreviation for espresso, was a rare haven. This term is to inform other baristas that there is an available espresso ready for a drink to be served to customers.

22. Shot 

Espresso shots, another slang term for espresso or coffee, are typically one to two ounces in size, making them comparable to most shot glasses.

23. Ristretto

Only the first three-quarters of the espresso is used this particular sort of espresso shot. In order to give the coffee a milder, sweet flavor, the barista will finish the espresso quickly. For a milder cortado or cappuccino with less milk than normal, ristretto shots are fantastic.

Making Ristretto coffee
Ristretto shots are fantastic for milder cortado with less milk

24. Doppio 

Do you desire more than simply a shot? Double shots of espresso are known as doppios. Many coffee shops offer this serving size.

25. Flat White 

A no-foam coffee drink made of steamed milk and espresso. It is renowned for both its espresso-like flavor and silky texture. If the foam is ever served on top of a flat white, it is often a microfoam.

26. Americano 

A popular to brew coffee is to make an Americano. You simply dilute espresso shot by topping it with hot water.

27. Breve 

Would you want a milkier or creamer coffee? When ordering “breve,” you can replace half-and-half or heavy cream for milk in your espresso drink.

28. Espresso Macchiato 

Espresso macchiato is quite unlike a macchiato from Starbucks. An espresso macchiato, also known as a café macchiato, is made by combining an espresso shot with a tablespoon of heated milk.

Baristas used the term macchiato, meaning “stained” or “marked” to distinguish between plain and espresso with milk.

29. Red Eye 

Do you need some additional energy in the morning? A Red Eye, an espresso shot poured into a cup of black coffee, refers to the amount of caffeine in this drink.

Making espresso coffee
An espresso shot at the base of a drink

30. Dry 

Dry relates directly to espresso drinks with minimal or no milk and solely foam. A cappuccino that is served dry has little milk but tons of foam.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on the 47 funny nicknames for coffee (or slogans).

Author

  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.