Create a Coffee Name Generator


June 29, 2020

Reading time
4 min read

On a whim, I decided to create a random Coffee Name generator. Althought there isn't a lot of code, I thought there were a few features (Web Animations API and Intl.ListFormat().format) that I thought were interesting and wanted to share.

Code Sandbox

You can browse and experiment with the code in the following CodeSandbox embed.

The above embed is hosted on CodeSandbox.

JavaScript Generator

Let's first start with the JavaScript generator that builds the coffee names. I'll break it apart below and identify two parts that I found interesting.


The only external dependency I used was lodash for the sample and random functions. I could have written them from scratch, but they are pretty handy tools to grab when you need them. Data-wise, I have lists of coffee sizes, types, add-ins, toppings, and flavors that are used to build the coffee name. You can customize these arrays to include your favorite items.

import { sample, random } from 'lodash';

const sizes = ['Short', 'Tall', 'Grande', 'Venti'];
const coffeeTypes = [
  'Caffè Latte',
  'Caffè Mocha',
const addIns = ['1% Milk', '2% Milk', 'Almondmilk', 'Cream'];
const toppings = [
  'Caramel Drizzel',
  'Chocolate Powder',
  'Vanilla Powder',
  'Whipped Cream',
const flavors = [
  'Caramel Syrup',
  'Hazelnut Syrup',
  'Vanilla Syrup',
  'Mocah Sauce',

Generate Add-ons

The generateAddons function is split into two main sections:

  1. Building a random array of add-ons
  2. Converting an array into words
export const generateAddons = () => {
const additions = [
random(0, 1) && sample(addIns),
random(0, 1) && sample(toppings),
random(0, 1) && sample(flavors),
return `${ additions.length ? 'with' : '' } ${new Intl.ListFormat().format(additions)}`;

1. Random Add-ons

The first part of generateAddons randomly builds the set of add-ons for the drink. There may be one add-on, two, or all three. Each entry uses the random function and if it's truthy then it picks an item from that array, otherwise it's value will be undefined. The filter at the end will only keep those items that are truthy, which removes any entry that had an undefined value.

2. Array to Words

The second part of the generateAddons function converts the array (of 0 to 3 items) into an English string (example: ["apple", "pear", "orange"] to "apple, pear, and orange"). When I first started making this function I wrote my own algorithm, but then started to see if I could pull in an external node module. To my surprise, I found that there's a native Intl.ListFormat().format browser API.

NOTE: Unfortunatley the support for Intl: ListFormat: format isn't the greatest at the moment. Thankfully though, there is a polyfill if you really want to use it in currently unsupported browsers (@formatjs/intl-listformat).

React Code

The following code is for the App React component that displays the generated coffee name and will animate the inner coffee liquid when the name changes.

export default function App() {
  const [name, setName] = useState(generateCoffee());
const coffeeRef = useRef(null);
useEffect(() => {
top: '15rem',
transform: 'translateX(-50%) rotate(0deg)',
top: '-5rem',
transform: 'translateX(-50%) rotate(360deg)',
duration: 3000,
fill: 'forwards',
}, [name]); return ( <div className="App"> <Title>Coffee Name Generator</Title>
<Coffee ref={coffeeRef} />
<Generate onClick={() => setName(generateCoffee())}> Generate </Generate> <CoffeeName>{name}</CoffeeName> </div> ); }

The parts I'd like to highlight are the coffeeRef (created and assigned to the Coffee component) and the animate method called inside the React.useEffect. Each time the coffee name is generated the useEffect will get invoked. Since we are dealing with a ref, we need to access the current property to get at the underlying DOM element. From there, we can call the animate method passing the states we'd like to animate and additional metadata.

Thankfully the browser support for Web Animations API is better than what we saw above with Intl: ListFormat: format.


I enjoyed putting this demo together and I hope you either learned something or found the experience enjoyable 😀 Have a great day and wonderful rest of the week!

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