'Spro...Cap...Sig...even Third Wave: What's with all these new words?? Americans, while attempting to make the coffee business our own, have bastardized something that we did not invent. Don't get me wrong, I love the recent explosion of good coffee in America. But come on; Espresso is a beautiful word. Cappuccino was named after the Capuchin monks with their white hoods. This is history, and part of the origins of our business. The new barista slang seems to forget this, in an attempt to be fresh and hip.

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I couldn't agree more with you Jonathan about the beauty that lies in some of these words. I'm sure you and I both and all other baristas alike go into a cafe that we do not work at and order drinks in the same way they were ordered many years before us. Lets also remember however that it's 2009! Hipsters multiply in a way that breaks all laws of modern science. My thoughts are that if they want to call it a "cap" or "spro" (the ladder I'm guilty of using on many occasions) then so be it. As long as they respect its roots and heritage and hopefully grow out of the slang at some point.
Well said Brett. To be honest, I don't care for the hipster infiltration of coffee as a fad. Of course, it was once a popular fad to purchase coffee for a penny at shops in Europe and spend hours philosophizing and arguing (hence the name: Penny Universities). I suppose I just fancy that idea as more productive for a society.

brett felchner said:
I couldn't agree more with you Jonathan about the beauty that lies in some of these words. I'm sure you and I both and all other baristas alike go into a cafe that we do not work at and order drinks in the same way they were ordered many years before us. Lets also remember however that it's 2009! Hipsters multiply in a way that breaks all laws of modern science. My thoughts are that if they want to call it a "cap" or "spro" (the ladder I'm guilty of using on many occasions) then so be it. As long as they respect its roots and heritage and hopefully grow out of the slang at some point.
I don't know if the words were changed in attempts to make them hip or cool. I would be willing to say out of convenience. Back in 2003 at my first roastery my business partner and I would write "spro" on the bags of espresso going to our cafe so we wouldn't have to waste labels used for wholesale on our cafe we did similarly when I went on to work at the Ugly Mug and I know others at the time were throwing it around as well. We didn't use it while serving customers. Also if there was a small chance that we were both working at the cafe we never wrote down orders we had a system for hollering drinks at each other, it was part of the show that our customers loved anyways just as a good server never writes a whole order we never called the full name one of the things we used was cap. It was never intended to bastardize the name. Of course I know the origin of the words and that cappuccino means little hood named after the capuchin monks. I don't know if it was ever meant to be a hip or cool thing. Also ordering espresso isn't authentic to the Italian ordering process. I would say the allotment of different sized cappuccini has done more to bastardize it than calling it cap.
I fully realize this Josh. There is certainly a massive difference between the American and the classic Italian versions of what coffee is and should be. Also, I'm not assuming that people don't know the origins of these words, but that the history of the words are being lost in the slang.

In this situation I'm more irked by the coffee professionals using this slang than customers. Just cause it seems that these people ought to know better. That said, I must also say that there is really nothing wrong with words like 'spro, cap, third wave, or whatever, other than the fact that I personally don't like them. As long as everyone knows what you're talking about, then the purpose of the word has been accomplished. I'm apparently adverse to change.

By the way, Ugly Mug and it's people are awesome.

Joshua "Yeshi" Longsdorf said:
I don't know if the words were changed in attempts to make them hip or cool. I would be willing to say out of convenience. Back in 2003 at my first roastery my business partner and I would write "spro" on the bags of espresso going to our cafe so we wouldn't have to waste labels used for wholesale on our cafe we did similarly when I went on to work at the Ugly Mug and I know others at the time were throwing it around as well. We didn't use it while serving customers. Also if there was a small chance that we were both working at the cafe we never wrote down orders we had a system for hollering drinks at each other, it was part of the show that our customers loved anyways just as a good server never writes a whole order we never called the full name one of the things we used was cap. It was never intended to bastardize the name. Of course I know the origin of the words and that cappuccino means little hood named after the capuchin monks. I don't know if it was ever meant to be a hip or cool thing. Also ordering espresso isn't authentic to the Italian ordering process. I would say the allotment of different sized cappuccini has done more to bastardize it than calling it cap.
Are we that lazy as americans that we can't say "espresso" anymore and have to shorten it to spro?
Yes we are that lazy, we call french fries or pommes frites-fries, bicycles-bikes, caffe latte-latte, caffe or caffe espresso-espresso the list goes on. If you order just a latte in Italy you get milk. We don't actually use any of the proper names anyways so were not really bastardizing them by making them faster in a work environment.
I'm not saying that I want to be a classic Italian cafe. I'm sure that their country is beautiful and their language romantic.

The point here is not how lazy Americans are, but how I dislike the modern slang. That's all.

Joshua "Yeshi" Longsdorf said:
Yes we are that lazy, we call french fries or pommes frites-fries, bicycles-bikes, caffe latte-latte, caffe or caffe espresso-espresso the list goes on. If you order just a latte in Italy you get milk. We don't actually use any of the proper names anyways so were not really bastardizing them by making them faster in a work environment.
Look to Starbucks if you wish an accurate example of the bastardization of a word. The examples you've given are simply abbreviated forms of the original word and are still semantically correct. There is no ambiguity when I hear or say 'Spro', 'Cap', or whatever. How you've drawn a connection between a lack of appreciation for coffee culture and history with the proliferation of new slang within the industry is... not apparent to me at all. Kind of sounds like you're being a fuddy-duddy (slang circa 1904). ;)
Mike Cannon said:
Look to Starbucks if you wish an accurate example of the bastardization of a word. The examples you've given are simply abbreviated forms of the original word and are still semantically correct. There is no ambiguity when I hear or say 'Spro', 'Cap', or whatever. How you've drawn a connection between a lack of appreciation for coffee culture and history with the proliferation of new slang within the industry is... not apparent to me at all. Kind of sounds like you're being a fuddy-duddy (slang circa 1904). ;)

Touche!

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