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No confusion: Where caffe latte is called 'really really milky coffee'

By Tiffany Hsu

10:39 AM CDT, November 1, 2012

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For anyone who has ever gone hunting for morning brew and was mystified by a confusing coffee menu, one company is looking to make the joe-drinking experience much more straightforward.

Debenhams, a British department store, is rolling out a coffee menu in its cafes that uses “plain English,” it announced this week. Instead of a cappuccino, customers can order a “frothy coffee.” A caffe mocha becomes a “chocolate flavoured coffee.” A caffe latte is now a “really really milky coffee.”

Even a black coffee is renamed on the menu as “simple coffee -- with or without milk.” An espresso shot is deemed “a shot of strong coffee.”

And, in a barely veiled jab at Starbucks -- which uses the somewhat arbitrary sizing terms “tall,” “grande” and “venti” instead of of “small,” “medium” and “large” -- Debenhams said it will offer patrons a simpler choice: cup or mug.

In a particularly twee announcement, the department store declared that “no longer will coffee-lovers be in a muddle over mocha, caught out by cappuccino or embarrassed about espresso.”

No word on what it’ll do if customers want their drinks low-fat and calorie-light -- or “skinny,” in the lingo.

The chain said its decision, first reported by Britain's Daily Mirror, is based on data that 70% of brew drinkers have experienced “coffee confusion.”

The company said it sells 100,000 coffees a week at its 160 cafes and restaurants. Across the United Kingdom, 79% of consumers drink coffee, which equates to 70 million cups downed a day, according to the chain.

Coffee culture rivals the intricacy of wine fandom and is often just as bewildering. On its website, Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a glossary of terms often used by coffee aficionados and professionals, such as “body,” “carbony,” “roasty” and “wild.”

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