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back to article Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'

The words "espresso" and "cappuccino" are too confusing for customers, says high-street retailer Debenhams. The department store chain will instead introduce moron-friendly descriptions, such as "frothy coffee", in its 160 cafes. Out go several descriptions it deems too "fancy" - even "tall" and "grande" have been slung out, the …

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Debenhams the retail equivalent of the daily Mail

So what do thay call that coffee that tastes like utter crap of yes Starbucks isn't it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Debenhams the retail equivalent of the daily Mail

Unfortunately true...

I use a bean-to-cup machine at home, and it tastes 10 times better than the crap Starbucks serve...

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Re: Debenhams the retail equivalent of the daily Mail

Basically the further you get from Seattle, the worse the Starbucks coffee will be. The barista competition in Seattle is so high that you are not likely to get bad coffee anywhere.

In the UK there seems to be very little training. Once the storefront and branding has been paid for, then there's no money left for niceties like training or machine cleaning. However the presence of Starbucks in the UK has given every mildly entrepreneurial bakery a chance to sell espresso-based coffee at ridiculous rates, no matter that they treat the machine as no more than a fancy kettle. I've encountered a few that basically microwave instant or filter coffee with milk and charge espresso rates.

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Anonymous Coward

Have you ever heard someone ask for a 'Laaartey'?

It grates on my nerves so much I want to commit murder.

I want to scream 'La tay' but I'd be there all day screaming.

Well done Debenhams.

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Anonymous Coward

This is The North Of England

Not the pansy South which infiltrated these feminist coffee words into our vocabulary.

Large Coffee

Milky Coffee

Strong Coffee

No Milk

Medium Coffee

A Small Coffee

Sugar

Always followed by Please and Thank You in the North where they breed proper manners.

As to 'A Barrista' which in Italian means bar person, sod that and stick it back in your phrase book.

Angry White Van Man

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is The North Of England

And REAL men of the North also say 'as it comes thanks'.....

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Unhappy

Re: Debenhams the retail equivalent of the daily Mail

> has given every mildly entrepreneurial bakery a chance to sell espresso-based coffee at ridiculous rates

Have they reached Melbourne prices yet? $3.50 is cheap - you're normally looking at $4.50 for a long black.

Mind you, they charge almost $3 (£2) for a bag of crisps or a marathon from vending machine.

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Nothing like talking down to your customers to make them want to come back.

Seriously if they believe the customers don't understand the term tall then how do they dress themselves or find the store in the first place.

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Facepalm

Yeah I used to work there... You wouldn't believe the number of people who demanded refunds because of reasons like.

"I'm not paying £1 for a sip of coffee" in regards to the espresso.

"I ordered a latte and it's almost entirely milk"

"I ordered a cuppachino and it's all foam!" surprising how often we had this one.

And the glorious.

"What's the difference between a cup and a mug?"

I'm not even joking, and they didn't want to know the size difference, they wanted to know which was which, despite the face one machine has "LARGE MUG OF COFFEE" written on it, and the other just has "REGULAR CUP OF COFFEE"

And finally not forgetting the.

"This coffee is cold, I want a refund" despite the fact that, when making a latte we had to probe the milk to make sure it was up to 90'C (and often higher) after steaming it. (when we did coffee the corect way) and the coffee had been made almost an hour ago. Apparently not drinking it when it's hot is a good reason to ask for a refund.

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FAIL

Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

Silly to think people wouldn't know what an espresso is, but starbuck sizing of "Tall", "Grande" and "Venti" is a nonsense that deserves to be taken out and shot.

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People are dumb. This is a fact anywhere. They will complain about anything also.

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Re: Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

"starbuck sizing of "Tall", "Grande" and "Venti" is a nonsense that deserves to be taken out and shot"

Not to mention their pricing and their baristas seemingly unshakeable desire to burn the fuck out of the coffee... (this applies equally to costa coffee when considering the above).

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Anonymous Coward

"People are dumb. This is a fact anywhere. They will complain about anything also."

They are dumb, denied the power of speech, yet somehow complain? This is truly the age of miracles and wonders. Sign language? Dance?

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Re: Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

I like it, I describe myself as "Tall" - in the Starbucks sense

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Re: Except that a "Tall" coffee often means small coffee

I thought Starbucks applied homeopathy to coffee whilst Costa just set light to the beans rather than roast them?

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Though I agree that often we use unnecessary words ("ambient sausage roll" comes to mind), an espresso is called an espresso because most of the world refers to it as an espresso and knows what an espresso is.

Latte? Wouldn't happen to be foreign for milk, would it? Cappuccino means "little hat" or "little hood" in Italian. Guess that's because they invented it and it's inherently linked with Italy?

This is like saying "We're not going to call it a bagel, because that confuses people, so we'll call it a 'yeasted wheat dough bread product' instead".

Idiots. Are you honestly telling me, with the plethora of coffee shops inside everything from supermarkets to charity shops, that people are too thick to know what an espresso is and, if they are, don't bother to ask?

That's besides the fact that my Italian girlfriend guarantees you that virtually every coffee she's ever been served in the UK is bad, from over-burnt beans, to poor handling of the machine (including not cleaning it out for months on end), to the wrong kind of beans entirely, to just sickly amounts of junk thrown in, and she drinks espresso like an Englishman drinks tea. (I'm English, actually, and drink neither coffee nor tea! But that's besides the point).

Just don't get her started on ham-and-pineapple pizza. You'll never hear the end of it.

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Anonymous Coward

"an espresso is called an espresso because most of the world refers to it as an espresso and knows what an espresso is."

I think you'll find that most of Britain refers to it as an EX-presso...

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I might understand if they were no longer using the less common Italian terms like Ristretto or Macchiato (even if these are also fairly well known).

But Espresso and Capuccino??? I thought they were pretty universally* known terms

* In Europe. West of the pond, outside of specialized bars, coffee apparently comes in one type only that can be served in sizes of 'large', 'huge', 'humungous' and 'bucket'

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Flame

"Are you honestly telling me, with the plethora of coffee shops inside everything from supermarkets to charity shops, that people are too thick to know what an espresso is and, if they are, don't bother to ask?"

That's not the real problem. The problem is when a non-coffee-shop-regular walks into Starfucks/wherever and JUST WANTS A FUCKING COFFEE. All I want is a sign that says "A normal fucking cup of coffee, with a normal amount of fucking milk in, and no sodding sprinkly shit or bubbles. And no: I don't want to tell you my name or want to pay a pound for a fucking biscuit."

Apparently, I should be asking for an Americano and putting some milk in it. Clearly someone decided that putting 'regular coffee' on a board next to 'latte', 'espresso' and 'chocco-mocho-frapachino' wasn't pretentious enough.

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Meh

Personally I'd keep the names in large text, and maybe have a subtitle beneath it that says what is actually in each drink, rather than replace the names of each drink entirely.

But I kinda agree with them regarding replacing the words grande and tall. Nowt wrong with small, medium and large - especially as the Italians didn't invent sizes! ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Completely agree, I hate that burnt taste you get from most coffee shops...

And the selection of beans available in the UK is poor.....

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No. I asked: you for coffee?

> Latte? Wouldn't happen to be foreign for milk, would it?

Where coffee is concerned, I thought it was the famous bull-fighting term: Au Lait, Or simply "white".

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But an Americano's not a normal coffee

An Americano is an espresso topped up with hot water so it's not a normal cup of coffee, it's simply an approximation. I like "fancy" coffee at times, but sometimes I just want a coffee. And if you're in Starbucks or basically any café now, you simply cannot have one.

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Sr. Dowling, there's an equally strong tradition of direct literal translation of what foreigners call stuff.

Sometimes they sit side by side - pasta shells and conchiglie, others take over - Black Forest Gateau vs Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, and others stay true to the original (I still have hopes for the popularisation of Whore's sauce against Puttanesca though). I note from Wikipedia that the Germans call a Latte 'Milchkaffee' ie Milky coffee, or what Debenhams should have called it (without the reallys). Granted, it's a massive affectation by Debenhams to adopt what is already a losing position.

Cappuccino might well _mean_ little hood, but it's named after the order of friars (for their white robes) who are named for the hoods. Same as Capuchin monkeys.

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Holmes

@Lee Dowling "Cappuccino means "little hat" or "little hood" in Italian. Guess that's because they invented it and it's inherently linked with Italy?"

Cappuccino-the-drink is named after the Capuchin monks, who have robes that colour. And probably little hats. And an excellently macabre ossuary in Rome, though that's more latte colours.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But an Americano's not a normal coffee

It is now. Everywhere has been Borged. Fight back - go to Debenhams.

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WTF?

"And the selection of beans available in the UK is poor....."

We've got baked, broad and runner. What are you complaining about?

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I have always called it an espresso for fear of appearing uncultured and, er, wrong.

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And the selection of beans available in the UK is poor....

> We've got baked, broad and runner [beans]. What are you complaining about?

Not forgetting "coulda", "shoulda" and "has" ... lots and lots of has-beans

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Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

Latte actually means "with steamed milk" in coffee circles, Au Lait actually means "with hot milk" in coffee circles (though what difference that either actually makes is unfathomable to me), whereas white means "with room temperature milk".

Latte = milk in Italian (from Latin origin "lacte", from where we get "lactate", i.e. specifically milk).

Au Lait = derivative of lacte (thousands of years messes with words, "milk" is an entirely different derivation, only a few hundred years old meaning "to stroke").

They all come down to the same thing, etymologically, but latte is older in language and also in coffee use (come on, Italians and coffee - they invented it all... :-)

But I hate coffee, so I don't really care. And only a pretentious snob would think that the temperature of the milk makes any difference.

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Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

White coffee is Anglo Saxon. I've had funny looks in France/Germany when I've asked for blanc or weiss.

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Anonymous Coward

"I think you'll find that most of Britain refers to it as an EX-presso..."

Yes. And they are wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

"Normal coffee"

Espresso IS normal coffee.

Just because you are too ignorant to bother learning anything about an established artisan process does not mean the whole world should be dumbed down for you.

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You aren't the only one

who doesn't like the fact you can't just order coffee anymore, Denis Leaty doesn't.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQxgv4QtKM8 (NSFW)

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Unknown west of the pond? Excuse me!

We have a Starbucks on practically every street over here. Everyone knows what a latte is!

Where I live (Cambridge MA), there are seriously two Starbucks's at opposite ends of the same block, one of which has two floors, and is frequently packed. There's another one just two blocks away, and if you can't make it two blocks without your caffeine fix, the block in between has two independent cafes, one specializing in espresso. In another busy area, there is literally one cafe per block, for like a 5-6 block stretch... Americans love our lattes... (unfortunately, since we also have poor taste and worse eating habits, people often order them with so much flavored syrup in them that you can't taste the espresso)

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Flame

That's besides the fact that my Italian girlfriend guarantees you that virtually every coffee she's ever been served in the UK is bad

That's got nothing to do with the quality of the coffee, it's just Italian pride. My Sicilian wife insists all foodstuffs and beverages in the UK taste inferior - her latest bug bear is salt, and she insists on buying an Italian brand that can only be found in delicatessens. Previous obsessions include breadcrumbs and pasta brands. She also forbids things like tinned spaghetti and macaroni cheese from being in the house on the basis that it's an insult to her culture.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

> Latte? Wouldn't happen to be foreign for milk, would it?

Where coffee is concerned, I thought it was the famous bull-fighting term: Au Lait, Or simply "white".

The drink called a "latte" in the UK is called a "long" coffee in Italy. That's if it's called anything at all, since most coffee bars serve nothing but espresso and cappucinno (in one size only).

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Childcatcher

Keep the names

Personally I'd keep the names in large text, and maybe have a subtitle beneath it that says what is actually in each drink, rather than replace the names of each drink entirely.

You mean the way many restaurants do on menus? Yeah, that would work, but wouldn't generate the free publicity this move has produced. Where's the fun in that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

Blokes that give dictionary description definitions of coffee worry me....

Got to be a Southerner.

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Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

Which is probably why my French teacher very patiently taught us the very useful phrase cafe au lait.

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Re: Tinned Spaghetti

Tinned spaghetti is an insult in any culture, I imagine it's like a declaration of war to an Italian.

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Pint

prize

Psyx, you've just won my first ever up-vote. Congratulations. Have a vitual beer/cider/whatever.

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Re: Tinned Spaghetti

'Tinned spaghetti is an insult in any culture, I imagine it's like a declaration of war to an Italian.'

Yeah, but we usually win those.

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'Personally I'd keep the names in large text, and maybe have a subtitle beneath it that says what is actually in each drink, rather than replace the names of each drink entirely.'

Might as well go the whole McDonalds route and just give the drinks numbers.

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Insult to her culture...

... and if you disobey you get what ... a horse's head in your bed?

BTW there is a difference between good salt and bad salt. Try a double blind test between standard table salt and something like Maldon flaked sea salt.

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IT Angle

House coffee

If my memory serves me correctly, the last time I was in a Starbucks (several years ago) it was possible to ask for a "house coffee". It wasn't on the big board, but they did have English-style coffee at something like 75p.

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Re: Unknown west of the pond? Excuse me!

>one of which has two floors, and is frequently packed.

The return of the temperance hotel.

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Re: No. I asked: you for coffee?

I don't know about Germany but in France one asks for 'café au lait'. Café blanc is meaningless to your average French waiter/waitress.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But an Americano's not a normal coffee

"... I just want a coffee. And if you're in Starbucks (...) you simply cannot have one.

Starbucks sell filter coffee in every one of their stores so perhaps you could try asking for a cup of filter coffee you fool.

http://starbucks.co.uk/menu/beverage-list/brewed-coffee

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Headmaster

It's just the

Academy of the English language getting up steam. Next target will be all those French loan words.

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