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Are Coffee Menus Too Confusing?

Friday, September 19, 2014

With coffee shops for sale springing up wherever you look, everyone seems to have got a much better understanding of just what each variety of the world’s most popular drink means, or at the very least have found an order which they understand and which they enjoy.

Easy drinking: The latte is renamed 'really really milky coffee' while the mocha is now 'chocolate flavoured coffee

A few years ago though, a department store decided that the difference between an Americano and a latte, a mocha and a macchiato were simply too confusing, and so they dumbed down their menu. The latte because ‘really really milky coffee’, and a cappuccino became ‘frothy coffee’. The menu was stripped of all Italian coffee culture influence, and with it, some of the novelty of the coffee shop for sale was lost.

While some people might be happy with the simplified menu, others found the whole thing quite patronising. After all, we all know that an espresso is a shot of coffee, don’t we?

Okay, so we admit that more than a few of the terms you’ll find on menus in some coffee shops for sale might be a bit confusing, anything more complicated than the basic drinks will usually be accompanied with a bit of a description in any coffee shop worth its salt. If there’s nothing clear on the menu, any good barista will be more than happy to explain the drinks to you, and they might be able to point you in the direction of a new drink which will become your go to order.

We are firm believers that coffee should be a luxurious (yet affordable) treat. It shouldn’t be confusing, but it also doesn’t really need simplifying. By dumbing down the menu, a lot of that class is stripped away and it feels more like a greasy spoon experience. Of course the drinks themselves haven’t changed, and neither has the branding of the restaurants, but the whole tone seems completely different. If you want to educate people in the art of coffee, why not include these descriptors alongside the proper names for the drinks? By simply having the simplified English descriptions of each order then anyone who didn’t know what a latte was would still not know what a latte was when they left, even if they had a large really really milky coffee.

For those of you who weren’t quite sure, an espresso (or a shot of strong coffee) is the basis of all the drinks you’re likely to get from a coffee shop for sale. For a latte, you add milk to an espresso shot. An Americano is espresso which is topped up with water, with or without milk depending on your personal preferences.

If you want more information about any of the drinks we serve at Cafe2U franchise, just pop along and have a conversation with one of our highly skilled baristas.

Do you think that coffee menus are too confusing, or would you feel patronised by a simplified menu in a coffee shop for sale? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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