One of the things I've noticed about the first few weeks of business, coffee menus often confuse people! I tried to make my menu as simple as possible, but I wanted to dedicate this post to explaining the what and why of my menu items. Particularly the notable absence of any mention of lattes or cappuccinos.
Espresso and milk are the two ingredients that serve as the backbone for any 'specialty' coffee beverage. Latte, cappuccino, macchiato, flat white, etc. These are all made from the same two components: Espresso and steamed milk. But where we get into trouble as an industry is that different coffee shops will define these drinks differently. At one shop a latte might be 20 oz, while at another it might be 12. A third shop might have multiple different sizes, and to make matters even more confusing, some shops allow you to order a latte in the same size as a cappuccino.
I decided that rather than defining drinks by some arbitrary name, I would simply allow the customer to dictate to me how big a beverage they want, and continue from there. Each of my espresso drinks will come with one espresso extraction, and the appropriate amount of steamed milk given the preferences of the customer. We currently have 3 different cup sizes: 4, 8 and 12 oz. The 4 oz cups provide about a 1:1 espresso to milk ratio and really showcase the flavors of the coffee. The 8 oz cups, if filled completely, give you a rich and velvety beverage that has a delicious combination of that hit of espresso, and the sweetness of the milk. And the 12 oz cups proved a smooth and creamy drink that is a nice size to enjoy. Any espresso and milk combination up to 8 oz is priced at $3.50, while anything above 8 oz is priced at $4.
Now, if someone comes in and asks for a latte, I am more than happy to make them one, and I will serve it in a 12 oz cup. The same goes for an 8 oz cup and a cappuccino, and a 4 oz cup for a cortado. I do want to add here that just because my menu is phrased a certain way, doesn't mean I won't make you what you want. Our official policy at South End Grind is: if we have the ingredients, we will make it for you. Like a cafe au lait, or a chocolate cortado, or a iced caramel almond milk latte.
One of the coolest parts of being on the other side of the bar is being able to see coffee through the eyes of other people, and I've learned so much. I wouldn't have necessarily thought about trying a 4 oz americano until I had a customer order it and now it's one of my new favorite drinks! Maybe i can make one for you next time you come in.