Since we talked about Starbucks, let’s pretend that you’re in Beijing or Taipei and need your coffee fix. What would you like to order?
If Caramel Macchiato is your thing, you’ll want to say 焦糖瑪奇朵 (jiāo táng mǎ qí duǒ). 焦糖 is caramel, literally 焦, burned, and 糖, sugar. 瑪奇朵 is the transliteration of Macchiato. Macchiato is an Italian word, meaning “marked” or “stained.”
If you want Café Latte, you’ll say 拿铁 (ná tiě) in China and 那堤 (nà tí) in Taiwan. Both are transliterated names. Interestingly, 拿铁 literally means holding iron because 拿 means take or hold and 铁, written as 鐵 in the traditional Chinese, means iron.
Or you might want Cappuccino! It is transliterated 卡布奇諾 (kǎ bù qí nuò).
I’ve tried Starbucks Reserve and really liked it. It’s available only in some stores and brewed using their impressive and expensive, something like $11,000, full immersion brewer. It’s called 星巴克臻选咖啡 in China and 星巴克典藏咖啡 in Taiwan.
臻选, or 臻選 (zhēn xuǎn) in the traditional form, means top selection. 臻 means to arrive at a higher level and 選 is to choose. To reach perfection is 臻於完美 (zhēn yú wán měi). 臻 is a big word and it sounds very impressive when one uses it.
典藏 (diǎn cáng) means reserve or collection.
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