How To Talk About Going To The Coffee Shop In English

How To Talk About Going To The Coffee Shop In English header pic


Do you like to drink coffee with your friends?

What is your favourite brew — cappuccino, espresso or latte?

If you like coffee then Check out my essential guide — How To Talk About Going To The Coffee Shop In English.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s dive right in!

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Basic Vocabulary For The Coffee Shop

First, I think it would be a good idea to look at some basic vocabulary for the coffee shop.

Here’s some essential vocabulary below.

What I would like you to do is to read each word and definition out loud.

Then read the sentence examples out loud too.

The more you do this, the more you can remember all the new vocabulary and how to use it.

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Coffee Drinks In The Coffee Shop

Below are the most popular kinds of coffee drinks you can find in the coffee shop.


Coffeea kind of drink that has been around for hundreds of years, that has large amounts of caffeine in it. Very bitter to the taste.

I can’t do anything in the morning until I have had a cup of coffee.


EspressoThis is a powerful kind of coffee, usually served in a small cup.

John loves to drink espresso, but usually drinks it in the morning.


AmericanoAnd this is an espresso coffee with hot water added, served in a large cup.

I always grab an Americano on my way to the office. It’s just the perfect start to the day!

(To grab means to buy in this context)


LatteEspresso with steamed milk and a small amount of foam. This is an espresso with steamed milk added and some foam.

(Foam is the frothy milk made by a machine by the barista)

I like coffee but I don’t like it too strong, so I always order a latte. Also, it’s not so bitter, because of the added milk.


CappuccinoEspresso with equal parts steamed milk and foam. This is an espresso with steamed milk and foam. Very popular in many parts of the world!

Caroline loves to meet up with her friends, grab a cappuccino and chat.


MochaThis is an espresso with steamed milk, chocolate syrup and, sometimes, whipped cream. Very sweet!

I shouldn’t really drink it, because it’s very sweet but I love to treat myself to a mocha on a Sunday afternoon.

(To treat myself means to buy something or give something to yourself as a reward)


Iced CoffeeCoffee served over ice. Perfect on a hot day!

There is nothing better than sipping an iced coffee in the park on a hot summer day.

(Sipping means to take small tiny mouthfuls of a drink, often coffee, tea or wine)


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People In The Coffee Shop

And here is a list of the most common kinds of people you find in the coffee shop.


BaristaThis is the person who makes the coffee for you. Barista is an Italian word but we use it in English.

The barista in my coffee shop knows me and can always remember my order.


CustomerThe person or people in the coffee shop who buys coffee.

I tried to buy some coffee this morning, but the coffee shop was rammed full of customers.

(Rammed means to be full of something or people.)


CashierThe person who takes payment for the coffee. Often the barista at the same time.

I always pay the cashier with my card. It just saves time.


ManagerThis is the person who runs the coffee shop and manages the staff.

Unfortunately, we had to make a complaint to the manager about our coffee.

(Complaint means to tell a manager or member of staff that we are unhappy with the service or the food or drink we are eating or drinking)

Things In The Coffee Shop

And now a list of the most common things you can find in the coffee shop.

Coffee BeansThese are the seeds that the barista uses to make the coffee.

My local coffee shop only uses the best coffee beans.

Takeaway/Takeout/To Go CupA disposable cup that we can ask for if we want to buy our coffee and take it out of the coffee shop.

I always ask for a takeout cup because I don’t always have time to stay and enjoy my coffee in the shop.

MugA kind of ceramic cup when we drink coffee on the premises.

I love drinking coffee in a mug in the winter and wrapping my hands around the warm sides of it.

(Wrapping means to cover or enclose something)

NapkinsThis is a kind of paper — or sometimes fabric — used for wiping our hands or face.

Every time I grab some coffee, I take some napkins too.

CounterThe surface where we order our coffee from the barista.

I walked into the coffee shop and saw a huge line of customers at the counter.

(The line is where all the people wait to be served)

LidsA small flat object we can put on top of the takeout cup to stop spilling the coffee.

I use one of those little lids when drinking coffee in my car. That way, I don’t get any hot spillage in my lap!

(Spillage means when some liquid falls out of a cup or other container.

Your lap is the place where your legs form a flat space when sitting down)

SleeveA cardboard ring that we can put on the takeout cup so our fingers don‘t get burnt on the cup.

I love these little sleeves they have in coffee shops. They protect my very sensitive fingers from the heat!

As I said above, you must go over these words, meanings and sentences.

Speak out loud all the words and sentences!

Do this regularly and you will soon learn how to use the new vocabulary.

Now, we need to move on to the next part.

What to say when ordering coffee in the coffee shop.

Are you ready? Let’s get started…

While you are here check out these other great guides on how to talk about different places and things.

Fast Food — a complete English lesson plan

Convenience Store English: Key Phrases for ESL Students

How To Talk About The Park In English

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Common Phrases For Ordering Coffee

So, I think it would be a good idea to look at the ways that we can order coffee.

When we walk into the coffee shop, what do we tell the barista what we want?

Let’s look at some ways to express this now.

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Ordering The Basics

The first thing we should look at is just the basics. The basic ways of ordering coffee.

Here are some examples below that you can use.


The most common structure is:

Can I have…


Can I get…


So you could say:

Can I have a latte?

Can I get a macchiato?


If you would like to be more formal or more polite, you can use the word could:

Could I have…

Could I get…


Could I have an Americano, please?

Could I get a flat white, please?


I personally think we should always use the word please when asking for something. But some people don’t.

It’s up to you!


In America, people often use the expressions

I’ll take…


I’d like…


Feel free to use these terms if you wish. People in all English-speaking countries will understand your meaning.

So you could say:

I’ll take a black coffee.

I’ll take a latte.

I’d like an espresso.

I’d like an Americano.

I’d like a coffee, please.

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Customising Your Order

But sometimes we need to add some more information to our order.


For example, maybe you don’t want sugar in your coffee. Or you want a special kind of milk.

Here are some special things you can say for more specific orders.


Could I get a cappuccino with almond milk?

(Almond milk is a special kind of milk made from almonds. It is considered to be healthier than cow’s milk. Also, some people prefer not to consume any animal products such as meat, fish, eggs or milk. So they have almond milk in their coffee.)


I’d like my coffee black, no sugar.


Can I have a mocha with extra whipped cream?

(whipped cream is a kind of cream the barista can add to coffee drinks in the coffee shop.)


I’d like a decaf latte with oat milk.

(Decaf coffee is coffee with no caffeine. And oat milk is another cow milk substitute.)


Can I get a flat white with soy milk?

(Soy milk is another cow milk substitute.)


Please note that the coffee shop often offers their customers many different kinds of milk.


I’d like a double-shot espresso.

(Double shot means two shots of coffee — so it is very strong!)

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Extra Flavours

The coffee shop barista may offer you some other flavours for certain kinds of drinks.

How to order these different varieties of flavours?

Let’s take a look now!


Could I get a vanilla latte?

(Coffee often comes in different flavours — vanilla, coconut, almond, hazelnut, caramel, cinnamon and many more.)


I’d like a caramel macchiato.


Can I have a hazelnut cappuccino?


I’d like a peppermint mocha.


Can I get a cinnamon-flavoured coffee?


I’d like a coconut latte.

What Size?

And of course, you can get your coffee in different sizes in the coffee shop.

Here are some things you can say to get the right size coffee you would like.


Can I get a large black coffee?


I’d like a small latte.


Can I have a medium cappuccino?


I’d like an extra-large iced coffee.


The most common universal sizes are:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra Large


But some big coffee chains have their own names for different sizes.

Starbucks is a very popular chain that offers these sizes:

  • Demi
  • Short
  • Tall
  • Grande
  • Venti
  • Trente


So in Starbucks, you might order like this:

Can I get a grande flat white?


I’d like a tall Americano.


But don’t worry if you don’t know the sizes in Starbucks — I certainly don’t! — the barista will always help you.

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Hot or Iced?

Then you need to tell the barista what temperature you want your coffee.


There are two main kinds of temperature:

Hotthis is the normal hot kind of coffee.

Icedthis is coffee with lots of ice. Perfect on a hot summer day!


Can I get an iced latte?


I’d like a hot cappuccino.


Can I have a cold brew?

(Cold brew is a special technique for brewing the coffee at room temperature of cold water, as opposed to using hot water.)


I’d like my coffee extra hot.


Can I get a lukewarm latte?

(Lukewarm means slightly warm temperature. Some people prefer this to hot coffee.)


I’d like an iced mocha.

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Any Sugar?

Next, we have to consider the sweetness level.


How much sugar do you want in your coffee?

Or not at all?


Here are some ways you can order the sweetness level.


Can I get a coffee with two sugars?

(This is a slightly old-fashioned way of asking for two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee.)


I’d like a latte with no sugar.


Can I have a cappuccino with honey?

(You can choose honey in the coffee shop if you don’t like sugar. Honey is healthier than white sugar!)


I’d like my coffee sweetened with agave.

(And agave is another white sugar replacement. Healthier and sweeter!)


Can I get a mocha with extra chocolate syrup?

(Chocolate syrup is another sweet thing to add to your drink. But not so healthy!)


I’d like an Americano with a dash of maple syrup.

(And maple syrup is a white sugar replacement.)

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Special Requests

Most coffee shops offer you the customer a wide variety of coffee styles. There is no end to all the special requests you can ask for.


Let’s look at some different things you can order.


Can I get a soy latte with an extra shot?

(Soy milk is a cow’s milk replacement. And remember: an extra shot means another shot of coffee. So it’s very strong!)


I’d like a decaf cappuccino with no foam.

(Remember: Decaf is no caffeine. And no foam means no frothy milk added on top.)


Can I have a cold brew with light ice?

(Light ice means just a little ice in the iced coffee drink. You can also say: Just a little ice.)


I’d like an espresso with a splash of cream.

(A splash of something means a little. So a splash of cream means just a little cream.)


Can I get a flat white with half-and-half?

(Half and half is a kind of milk that is mostly found and popular in America. It is milk that is half whole milk and half whole cream. Not so healthy!)


I’d like a mocha with extra whipped cream on the side.

(On the side, means to put the extra whipped cream in a separate container or cup that you can add to the coffee by yourself.)

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Coffee To-Go

And finally, we have special things we can say for to-go orders.

To-go means to take the coffee outside and drink somewhere else.

Years ago, in England, we used to say ‘takeout’ or ‘take away’. But now, we often use the American phrase: to-go.

Below are some things you can say:

Can I get a black coffee to-go?

I’d like a latte to take away.

Can I have a cappuccino in a to-go cup?

(a to-go cup is a disposable cup that the barista will give you for to-go orders. If you have your coffee inside the shop, the barista might offer you your coffee in a china cup or mug.)

I’d like an iced coffee to take away.

Can I get a flat white to-go?

I’d like an Americano to take out.

Now You Try!

I would like you to practice all the above expressions.


The best way to do this is to get into pairs with a classmate. Then you can pretend to order your coffee in the coffee shop.

Say all the expressions out loud!


Or, if you can, go to a real coffee shop and try these expressions by yourself.

Nothing better than real-life experience!


In the next part, I want to look at how you can describe the feeling or atmosphere of the coffee shop.

Time to move on!

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The Atmosphere Of The Coffee Shop

We don’t just go to a coffee shop for the coffee.

Drinking coffee in many parts of the world is an entire culture of its own.

Part of that culture is to enjoy the feeling of the coffee shop.

Sometimes we go there for the feeling, the atmosphere and the general ambience.


Maybe you like a very up-to-date and modern style of coffee shop.

Or you prefer a cosier, homely vibe.

Or a stripped-down industrial feeling.


Let’s look at some ways that people might talk about the atmosphere or vibe in the coffee shop of your choice.

Read each extract out loud!


These are real-life things that people might say when describing a coffee shop.

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It's Really Cosy!

I really like this coffee shop because it has such a warm and cosy atmosphere. I like the lighting and the comfy armchairs and sofas. Plus, the music is very chilled out.

It doesn’t feel like they are trying to blast out the music as loud as they can.

And on the walls, they have lots of paintings from local artists. It just makes you feel that you are in the community.

Then, on top of all that, there is the smell of freshly brewed coffee that fills the air.

It’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind!


Warm and cosya phrase we usually use to describe a very comfortable place. Often just like our own home.

Atmospheregeneral feeling or environment of a place.

Comfyshortened word for comfortable.

Chilled outvery relaxed.

Blast outto play music very loudly.

Communitya local neighbourhood or district.

Freshly brewedcoffee that has just been made.

Perfect spotthe ideal place or location.

Relax and unwinda phrase that means to reduce stress and tension and do something calm and quiet.

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Such A Relaxing Vibe

I love the vibe in this coffee shop; it’s so relaxing. They have done a great job of the interior — a blend of rustic and modern elements. All wooden tables, vintage decor, and large windows that let in lots of natural light.

I go in and the soft hum of conversations coupled with the gentle sound of the music in the background makes for the perfect place to sip my java.


The vibea modern word that means the atmosphere.

Done a great jobperformed a task very well.

Interiorthe inside decoration of a place or room.

A blend ofa combination of.

Rusticsomething that has the characteristics of the countryside.

Modernup to date and of a new style.

Elementsparts or style.

Vintage decorold or old-fashioned style.

Natural lightsunlight, not electric light.

Humlow sound.

Coupled withtogether with.

Backgroundof music, to be at a low volume.

To sipto take very small mouthfuls of something, like coffee or tea.

Javaa term used to mean coffee.

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Part Of The Community

The thing I really like about this place is the sense of community I get when I am inside.

Regulars come here and greet the staff by name. And they have a bulletin board on the wall filled with local events and announcements.

It’s just a great place to meet new people or catch up with friends.


The sense ofthe feeling of something, usually a place.

Communityof the local area or district. The neighbourhood.

Regularscustomers that often come to a place, such as a coffee shop, restaurant or bar.

To greet by nameto call other people by their name, because they know each other.

Bulletin boarda board that shows information about local events or group meetings.

Eventsoccurrences or happenings.

Announcementsa public statement to inform people of something.

Catch up withto meet people you know and find out the recent news in their lives.

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Nature-Inspired Decor

My local coffee shop has a very nature-inspired decor; and lots of greenery. They have plants everywhere!

And also a lot of wooden furniture. All earthy tones.

They have a large window at the back, which offers a great view of a small garden outside.

It’s like a kind of oasis in the middle of the city!

My local coffee shop — the coffee shop that is very near and in the same neighbourhood as the speaker.


Nature-inspiredinfluenced by plants and the natural world.

Decordesign and decoration.

Greeneryplants and flowers.

Earthy tonesnatural colours.

Offersprovides or gives.

A great viewa scene that is good to look at.

Oasisa place in the desert where water can be found; a special place in the middle of the city that is quiet and relaxed.



How did you do?


Did you read all of them out loud?

Another thing you could try is this:

Think about a coffee shop that you like to go to.

  • What do you like about it?
  • How would you describe the feeling of this coffee shop?
  • Or the decor?


Using your own words (and borrowing from the extracts above!) you can make your own little talks or extracts where you describe a coffee shop that you like to go to.

Try it now!


And of course, another aspect of going to the coffee shop is the service we get from the barista.

And the quality of the coffee that we can drink there too.

In the next part, we will talk about these two things.

Let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

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Service and Quality

And if we get good service at a coffee shop, it may encourage us to go back and visit again.


The quality of the coffee has a strong impact too.

If the coffee is no good, why would we want to go back there?

Here are some extracts of people talking about the service and quality of the coffee shops that they go to.


And remember! Read each extract out loud.

Stand up and be proud.

Read out with a loud voice every time!

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Friendly Baristas

The baristas in this coffee shop are very friendly and always greet me with a smile.

They also make a point of remembering customers’ names and their usual orders. It just makes you feel like you are important to them — a valued customer.

And their enthusiasm for coffee is meticulous. They clearly have a great passion for coffee, and if you show any interest, they will talk for a long time about the best blends and brewing techniques.


Baristaa member of staff in the coffee shop who prepares the coffee.

Make a pointto intend to do something; in this case, to remember people’s names as an act of politeness.

Valued customerimportant customer.

Enthusiasmpassion or keenness for something.

Meticulousto a high level of detail.

A great passionan intense love of desire for something.

Blendsthe different kinds of coffee beans and the tastes that can arrive by mixing different beans together.

Brewing techniquesthe process of mixing and creating coffee.

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Best Coffee in Town

They serve the best coffee in town! Coffee only made from high-quality beans that they find from all over the world.

Each cup is expertly brewed to perfection. No matter whether you like strong espresso, a creamy latte, or a refreshing iced coffee.

And the flavours… what can I say? Just the richest taste combined with a very strong aroma.

Essentially, it’s just the best coffee you can find.


High-qualitythe best available. The top source.

Expertlydone to a very high professional standard.

Brewedthe process of making the coffee.

To perfectionto a very high standard.

Creamya texture and taste usually from milk.

Refreshingof a cold drink; the feeling we get when drinking something iced cold.

Richest tastea very strong taste.

Aromapositive term for smell.

Essentiallythe core or basic fundamental part of something.

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Attention to Detail

I love this place. The attention to detail is impeccable.

The baristas here love to create special latte art that they put on top of your cappuccino or latte.

And then they have the most amazing pastries and cheesecake. None of it factory made.

Every aspect of your experience is carefully considered.

The baristas clearly take pride in their craft and it shows in every cup that they serve.


Attention to detailbeing very careful about maintaining a high standard.

Impeccableperfect or without errors or flaws.

Latte artthe special design made by the barista on the foam on top of the latte or cappuccino.

The most amazingthe best of something, the greatest.

Pastriesbaked food items made from dough, such as croissants, danishes or tarts.

Cheesecakea kind of cake made with creamed cheese and often a fruit flavouring.

Factory mademade in a factory.

Aspectpart or detail.

Carefully consideredsomething that has been thought about thoroughly.

Take pride in somethingto take satisfaction or fulfilment in one’s own achievements.

Craftartwork or creative endeavour.

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So Many Choices

The menu here is extensive and offers everything from classic coffee to all the kinds of seasonal drinks you could wish for.

They also have a great selection of tea, fresh juices and smoothies.

Also, they have a big choice of pastries and snacks.

They have something for everyone. No matter whether you’re in the mood for a quick caffeine fix or a leisurely brunch.


Menuthe food and drink available in the coffee shop.

Extensivesomething that covers a large area.

Classicto describe something of high quality and outstanding over a long period.

Seasonalof the different seasons of the year.

A great selection a good choice.

Fresh juicesfruit juice made on the premises.

Smoothiesa kind of drink made from different kinds of fruit.

Snackssmall items of food to eat.

In the moodto have the feeling for something.

A quick caffeine fixthe need to drink coffee to acquire some caffeine in your system.

Leisurely bruncha relaxed meal that happens between breakfast and lunch.


Did you read all of them in an extra-loud voice?

Do this again and again and you will have no problem remembering the vocabulary…

You could try making your own speeches about the service in your coffee shop.

Use some of the vocabulary from above to help you.

The next thing we need to talk about is socializing in the coffee shop.

People love to go to the coffee shop and meet friends and chat about something.

So let’s move on to that part right now…

Meeting Friends at the Coffee Shop

Sometimes you might go to the coffee shop alone.

But often you might arrange to meet someone at the coffee shop.

People like to socialize at the coffee shop.

Let’s look at some useful things we can say when meeting others to drink coffee.

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Inviting Someone

You might want to invite your friend or someone you know to drink coffee with you.

What can you say?

Here are some useful expressions below.


Would you like to join me for a coffee?

(This is a very formal and polite way to invite someone to meet for coffee.)


The expressions below are more informal and casual.


Fancy a coffee?


I’m heading to the coffee shop. Care to join?


Let’s catch up over coffee.


Are you up for a coffee break?


I’m going to grab some coffee. Want to come with me?


Practice the above lines out loud by yourself.

Later on in this lesson, you will have the chance to practice all of this in dialogue practice sessions.


The coffee shop doesn’t only serve coffee. They have food too.

So let’s look at some different kinds of food that are available in the coffee shop in the next section.

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Food You Can Buy In The Coffee Shop

It’s not just coffee in the coffee shop.

You can also order lots of different kinds of food.

The food is not usually a full meal — more of a small snack or something to eat between other larger meals.


Let’s go through some vocabulary for the kind of food you can buy in the coffee shop.



These are baked food items such as croissants, muffins and danishes.



Coffee shops also serve sandwiches. These are often in the Italian style so you might see paninis, bagels or wraps. Some coffee shops serve sandwiches in the more traditional British style, too.



You can see desserts in every coffee shop. Coffee and dessert go together very well. Many different kinds of cakes, cookies, muffins and brownies are available.


Healthy Options

And the coffee shop also has some healthy food too. Things like salads, yoghurt dishes and fruit cups.


You’re doing well!

Finally, I want to give you some dialogues to practice speaking.

I have created four in total…

Ready? Let’s do it!

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Practice Dialogues For The Coffee Shop

And as I said before, here are some practice dialogues for you to try.

Ideally, work with your classmates or friends to practice these conversations.


These dialogues use all the kinds of vocabulary that you have studied so far in this guide.

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Scenario 1: Ordering Coffee

Customer: Hi, can I get a medium latte, please?

Barista: Sure, would you like any flavour in that?

Customer: Yes, vanilla, please.

Barista: Got it. Anything else for you today?

Customer: Actually, could I also get a blueberry muffin?

Barista: Yes, of course! Will that be everything for you?

Customer: Yes, that’s it.

Barista: Great! Your total is $7.50. How would you like to pay?

Customer: I’ll pay by card, please.

Barista: Sure, no problem. Here’s your receipt. Your coffee and muffin will be ready shortly.

Customer: Thanks so much!

Barista: You’re welcome! Enjoy your latte and muffin!

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Scenario 2: Meeting a Friend

Friend 1: Hey, long time no see! How’ve you been?

Friend 2: Yeah, good! Hey, why don’t we catch up over coffee?

Friend 1: That sounds good. There’s a new café that’s opened downtown. Have you been there?

Friend 2: No, I haven’t! What’s it like?

Friend 1: It’s really cool, and they have great reviews for their coffee.

Friend 2: Great! When are you free to go?

Friend 1: How about Saturday afternoon? Does that work for you?

Friend 2: Saturday sounds good. Around 3 pm?

Friend 1: Perfect! See you then!

Friend 2: Looking forward to it!

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Scenario 3: Students In The Coffee Shop

Student 1: Hi, can I get a large iced coffee with almond milk?

Barista: Sure thing! Anything else for you today?

Student 1: No, that’s all.

Barista: Alright, your total is $4.25. How would you like to pay?

Student 1: I’ll pay with cash.

Barista: Here’s your change. Your coffee will be ready in a moment.

Student 2: Hey, there you are! Did you get your coffee?

Student 1: Yep, just ordered. Have you found a good spot to work?

Student 2: Yeah, there’s a table by the window. It’s perfect for spreading out our stuff.

Student 1: Great! Let’s get started on the project once my coffee is ready.

Student 2: Sounds good. Do you have the research notes?

Student 1: Yep, got everything in my bag.

Student 2: Excellent! Hopefully, we will have a productive afternoon.

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Scenario 4: First Date

Person 1: Hi, can I get a cappuccino, please?

Barista: Sure, would you like any flavouring with that?

Person 1: No, just the cappuccino is fine.

Barista: Alright. Anything else for you?

Person 1: No, that’s all for now. Thanks.

Barista: Your total is $3.75. How would you like to pay?

Person 1: I’ll pay by card.

Barista: Great, here’s your receipt. Your cappuccino will be ready soon.

Person 2: Hey, I’m so glad we finally get to meet in person!

Person 1: Me too! This place looks really nice.

Person 2: Yeah, I’ve heard they make the best pastries.

Person 1: Oh really? Maybe I should get one. What do you recommend?

Person 2: I love their croissants. They’re really buttery.

Person 1: That sounds delicious. I might get one to go with my cappuccino.

Person 2: Good choice! So, how’s your day been?

Person 1: It’s been good, just a bit busy with work. How about you?

Person 2: Same here. I’ve been looking forward to this all day.

Person 1: Me too! It’s nice to take a break and relax here.


So, there it is…

I know there are a lot of words to cover and it would be impossible to take it all inside your head in a short time.

You will need to go over this several times.

But gradually the vocabulary and terms will stick to memory.

I hope you found this guide useful.


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “How To Talk About Going To The Coffee Shop In English”

  1. This is absolutely a good lesson for language learners to get some vocabulary to start a conversation in cafe without any worries, because in this lesson all the words and sentences we need in café conversation are available, thanks.

    1. Hi Jeelan! Many thanks for saying this. I try to give as many useful phrases to English learners. So thank you for your kind words. It is very motivating for me. Thank you!

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