Using 我要一杯咖啡 (I would like a cup of coffee), to order a cup of coffee really isn't sufficient these days. What about the size? Would you like it flavoured? How about the kind of coffee bean? None of this is covered by "我要一杯咖啡". This post covers all the main things you need to know to properly order a cup of coffee in Chinese.
This is the general structure of how you would order coffee in Chinese. It looks complicated and long but keep in mind that you don't need to use all the elements, and it's likely that you have a favourite order that you can simply memorize for convenience.
First, start with a simple 你好 (hello). Do not greet a barista with " 你好吗 ". If you say " 你好吗" with a big smile, it might appear that you're flirting...poorly!
Coffee size might sound like one of the simplest aspects of ordering a coffee but thanks to Starbucks, it isn't.
In order to increase revenue, the short size 小杯 isn't usually displayed on the counter at Starbucks. Frequently what this means is that if you point at the smallest cup on the counter and say 我要一杯小杯咖啡 (I want a small cup of coffee) , the nice barista will answer 对不起，这是中杯 (Sorry, this is a tall.)
Instead of "咖啡" (Coffee), use one of the more descriptive words below. If you would like your drink iced or flavoured you simply add "冰" (iced) and your flavour before your coffee type. For example Iced mocha is "冰摩卡").
These are some of the possible customizations you can have with your coffee. If your customization of choice isn't listed feel free to comment or tweet at us and we'll reply and update our list.
Finally you can end up with "To go"(打包) or "Here" (在这里用)
I would like a medium skinny latte with a double shot.
Good luck ordering your coffee!