Garçon Coffee Lets You Order like a Local

By Olivia O'Mahony 6 Min Read

An app for the coffee-lovers of the world, Garçon Coffee takes the confusion out of ordering your favorite drink (or trying something new) while traveling the globe.

There’s more to coffee than meets the eye. From petite espressos that pack an illogically rock-hard punch, to the indulgent, foamy lattes of your corner cafe dreams, it’s every bit as much a form of art as a quick source of early-morning energy. Just like art, coffee is buzz-inducing and complex, yet comforting in its simplicity.

And just like art, a multitude of variations on your standard cup o’ joe can be found in all corners of the globe. It’s something that brings people together, and this is most definitely no new phenomenon: as early as 1512, coffeehouses in Mecca, Saudi Arabia were popular locations for socializing, and though the term “coffee break” didn’t show up in Western culture until 1952, it’s a safe bet that the practice – nay, the philosophy – existed long before that.

But maybe, to you, coffee is more than a casual break-time beverage. For many, it’s a way of life. Accounting for everything from bean sources to barista slang, there’s a lot of information to load up on in order to attain encyclopedia status.

No true coffee connoisseur can stand in confidence unarmed with the proper knowledge, the lingo, the know-how; and once you’ve got it down to pat in your home country, you’ve got the rest of the world to work with. How can you go about satiating your sweet tooth with something sugar-loaded in Florence? Is that really a shot of liquor on the side of that guy’s order in Barcelona? There’s no need to get the jitters; Garçon Coffee has your back.

Garçon Coffee is an extensive (and ever-growing) database of coffee drinks from around the world that gives avid sippers the opportunity to learn about local specialties of their favorite beverage offered in countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy.

The app, which is free to download on iOS, is primarily a linguistic tool, providing directions on how to order coffee in the mother tongue of each country, with an audio button to ensure pronunciation indistinguishable from the locals in your chosen travel destination – or to confuse the heck out of the barista in the Starbucks around the block from your apartment. The opportunities are endless.

The app takes its title from the iconic opening scene of the 1994 neo-noir black comedy Pulp Fiction, when criminals Ringo/“Pumpkin” and Yolanda/“Honey Bunny” plan their next stint in a diner. “Garçon! Coffee!” Ringo barks at a nearby waitress, who dutifully makes her way over to refill his cup, informing him flatly that garçon is, in fact, French for “boy.” These embarrassing mistakes, Garçon Coffee creator Rob Diaz and iOS app developer Javi Lorbada explain, are exactly what the team behind this application sets out to prevent.

Garçon Coffee also promises to add to your coffee expertise by including fun facts (did you know macchiato is Italian for “stained?” No? Well, there you go) and even recommendations about coffee-drinking social norms in different cultures – for example, the Portuguese galão, a tall, milky drink, is typically only consumed at breakfast, and ordering it afternoon could earn any prospective drinkers a strange look, provided they’re under the age of 80. This aspect of the app emphasizes the importance of trying new drinks and expanding the range of your palette – looking past your daily americano fix could land you in some hitherto uncharted (and unexpectedly delicious) caffeine territory.

The interface is user-friendly, full of understated coffee-house colors (you know the ones) and playful animations that illustrate the espresso/water/milk ratios, cup shapes, and serving styles of any drink you might be curious about. To ensure real-world applicability, of course, photographs of the real-life thing are also provided on each page.

Always eager to expand their collection of featured coffee beverages, the Garçon Coffee team is appealing for all of the app’s users to submit information about the most commonly-ordered drinks from their own home countries, and hope to use these details to add more coffee-loving nations to their database over the coming months. Learning about other cultures, after all, works just as well as a coffee break in bringing people closer. All this without ever having to break from the coffee.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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