Do You Speak Java Jive?: The Language of the Indie Cafes

java jive

I haven’t frequented Starbucks for a long time, but when I did, I could never get into their lingo. Do you want a “grande,” the “barista” asked? No, just give me a medium, ok? And if I ever tired of the irritating lingo battles, I headed to an indie cafe where simple language made sense.

Nowadays, you apparently can’t bank on the indies for an escape. This weekend, The New York Times has a huge spread revealing the private vocabularies of America’s indie coffee bars, the places where you can now order “Cappuccigos,” “Jillys,” “Kanskis,” and a “Frankencaf,” along with some “Bert & Ernie,” apparently the new way of saying cream and sugar. If you care to speak Java Jive, you’ll want to spend time with this spread. It’s almost something we could add to our list of Free Foreign Language Lessons.

And now for some more coffee randomness:

Everything You Wanted to Know About Coffee in Three Minutes

“The Vertue of the COFFEE Drink”: London’s First Cafe Creates Ad for Coffee in the 1650s

The Physics of Coffee Rings Finally Explained

Jim Henson’s Violent Wilkins Coffee Commercials (1957-1961)


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  1. joan says . . . | February 10, 2013 / 7:00 am

    really. this is culturally interesting? sigh.
    i find the hipster/entitled boring.
    just give me a cappuccino, tho of course never after 11 AM.

  2. alissa clough says . . . | February 10, 2013 / 4:02 pm

    I was raised on Italian restaurants.
    Cappuccino is for dessert.
    (And who goes to a coffeehouse for dessert?)

    Plain coffee, milk,Equal, is my friend.

  3. Shannon says . . . | February 11, 2013 / 9:19 am

    The American “latte” was invented in Berkeley in the 1950’s at the Caffe Mediterraneum: http://caffemed.com/about_us

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