Navigating a coffee shop menu

Are you ready to try something new?

It’s easy to find the one thing you love at a coffee shop and order it anywhere you go. I get that. If I’m feeling overwhelmed by the menu at a restaurant or fancy new brunch spot, I’ll stick with what is familiar. As soon as I place my order though, I’m secretly googling alternatives so the next time, I can try different foods! Instead of falling into the same trap while waiting in line at a new coffee shop, here are some important details to better help you explore a coffee menu!

Let’s start with filtered coffee.

Drip or Batch Brew is about as basic as you can get at any coffee shop. If you’re in a rush, this is going to be your best option! At ICR we currently serve a Brazilian roast and love how it performs on our drip brew machine.

If you can spare more time, a Pour Over is ALWAYS our favorite option. A pour over is another type of filtered coffee that will let you taste the flavor profile of the coffee even more. Most shops that offer pour over will give you a few of their favorite options to choose from. Here’s an easy way to think through what to choose for your pour over – coffee from Central and South America will typically be chocolatey and nutty while coffee from African countries will be bright and fruity. Ask the barista what flavors you’ll taste for a specific coffee they offer on pour over!

Iced Coffee and Nitro Cold Brew are summer (or all the time) staples. Each shop has their own cold brewing method, but at ICR we cold brew our coffee for at least 24 hours. After it’s been brewed, we put some aside for iced coffee and put the rest in a keg to infuse with nitrogen for our nitro cold brew on tap. Have you ever had a Guinness beer? It has a similar creaminess, but with no dairy.


If you like Espresso, it is worth asking what bean the shop is pulling. The flavor that is packed into a puck of espresso is always unique. Macchiatos will give you espresso with about 1 ounce of milk to make it a little smoother.

If you like espresso but need a little milk for added sweetness, try a Cortado. A cortado is between 4-6 ounces depending on where you’re at. Assuming the espresso is 2 ounces, that will give you 2-4 ounces of milk.

A Cappuccino is a little bit bigger than a cortado that contains anywhere from 6-8 ounces of total liquid. This is a good time to talk about the industry standard in the US for milk steaming. Steaming milk has been streamlined for every espresso + milk drink in the same way. You’ve probably heard of a Flat White – they originated in Australia and have changed the way we steam milk.  Traditionally, cappuccinos could be ordered as dry or wet since they were known as a more foamy drink. You can however still order a more dry cappuccino, if you want to stick to the more traditional ways.

Lattes can come in many sizes, anywhere from 8-20 ounces. We believe in a simple menu at ICR and offer lattes in 8 and 12 ounces. Two shots of espresso, 6-10 ounces of steamed milk, and maybe a bit of flavor if you’re into the sweetness = delicious caffeine comfort.

If you see signs for Signature Drinks, ask your barista! They’re sure to be something unique that you’ll want to try, and may only be around for a limited time.

That, my friends, is a short and simple coffee menu navigation guide. I hope it helps you feel more confident about your coffee ordering skills! Taste all the new things!

If you’re looking to learn more about brewing delicious coffee at home, think about signing up for our first Indie Coffee Roasters University class coming soon!