Coffee as part of the English language

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As you know at Eden coffee machine rental is one of our services, but what do you know about the language we use when we brew our coffee every day? Here are some common coffee terms.

Many of the words we use in everyday conversation in the English language have their origins from across the English Channel and much further away in the continents of Africa and the Far East. Who would have thought that the word bungalow came from India; that sofa arrived from Arabia, Africa supplied us with the word cola and tea originated in China; well you probably guessed that last one. Vanilla came from Spain; the Italians supplied gallery and perhaps not so surprisingly, hamburger is a German word. While these words came to the UK and the English language a long time ago, many well-known phrases have only become part of the English language since a coffee shop opened on every high street.

Barista

As every customer walks into their high street coffee shop and orders something different to the person before and after them, the person working behind the counter has a difficult task to try and remember every single order and be accurate, every single time. This has led to a professional qualification and the title Barista - who specialises in the ability to make a range of espresso-based drinks for a customer that demands immediate service.

The word barista has an Italian origin. Essentially, it means a male or female bartender who serves both hot and cold drinks which includes the range of specialist coffees that you now expect as standard.

Cafetiere

While the Americans call it a French press, the word cafetiere is used in the English language after being borrowed directly from the French. It describes a heat resistant glass container that holds a metal filter. Recently boiled water is poured on to ground coffee in the glass container. As the coffee brews the metal filter is pushed through the coffee grounds, moving them all to the bottom of the container, leaving the coffee ready for pouring directly into your coffee cup.

There are some arguments as to whether the French invented the phrase for this type of coffee plunger mechanism, because the Italians also lay claim to the invention.

Cappuccino

This is the name used for a coffee drink where you add hot frothy milk which you can now purchase in a range of flavours. Surprisingly, this Italian based name is at least 100 years old and hasn't been anglicised for use in the English language.

Many people in the UK use the phrase cappuccino when they mean any espresso based coffee drink supplied by any one of those high street chain coffee shops.

Some people believe that a 17th century Capuchin monk may have named the drink after himself, but confirmation remains unclear.

There are quite a number of phrases being used in the English language with foreign origins. It's easy to ask for a frappe, a latte, mocha or an espresso, and everyone knows exactly what you mean as these terms have now been used for so long that it’s as though they are as English as potato, which is actually of Portuguese origin.

And isn’t it strange how you always refer to a coffee table, even when you’re not a coffee drinker and use it for tea, beer and cola drinks or wine, alongside a selection of coffee table magazines which are sports and fashion related?

Image credit: Paul Downey

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