When you head to your local coffee shop, the most popular drinks on the menu are likely to include Cappuccino, Americano, and Latte. However, there are many more types of coffee drinks you can enjoy.
In this article, we will describe all the types of coffee drinks we’re familiar with. Hopefully, with this guide’s help, that will mean that next time you fancy something a little different at your local cafe, you’ll have a better idea of what to choose – and what you’ll be getting.
Espresso-Based Coffee Drinks (Milk-Free)
The espresso deserves a proper introduction. This coffee originated in Italy and is – in our opinion – one of the most satisfying and flavorsome coffee drinks of all. This beverage consists of varying ratios of espresso, water, and – sometimes – even milk to create many fantastic coffee drinks. Espresso is actually where the base of most coffees start, making it easily the most popular of all coffee drinks.
So, how is espresso coffee made? Brew shots of espresso drink use high pressure to force extremely hot water through a coffee puck in an espresso machine. The puck itself consists of tamped down coffee that is very finely ground. This process is called “pulling a shot.” A shot of espresso takes 20 to 30 seconds to complete the extraction and will result in approximately 30ml of syrupy espresso with a top of thick crema.
Doppio (Double Espresso)
A Doppio (Italian for double) is double shot of espresso in a single cup. The method for brewing Doppio is the same as espresso – namely, with a double-spouted portafilter pouring hot water into the cup.
Espressos are strong, but if you really want to get your tastebuds tingling, how about a more concentrated yet similar beverage? Step forward to the ristretto, which means “short” in Italian. The ristretto uses the same measurement of coffee grounds as the espresso. However, it uses just half the water content. Not surprisingly, this leads to a drink akin to an espresso but even more concentrated.
European Baristas dreamed up the recipe for Americano in the Second World War, intending to appeal to US soldiers’ tastes by making a more drip-style, lighter-tasting espresso. It was a huge success and is extremely popular amount coffee drinkers worldwide, particularly in the USA, where it is a coffee-shop staple. You can make Americanos by adding hot water over an espresso shot or double shot of espresso. There’s also the option of adding sugar or milk to it. In another article, we explained what is an Americano and compared it with other black coffees, including the following Long Black.
Long blacks differ from Americanos in the pouring order of the elements. With a long black, hot water is poured into the cup first, with the espresso following. As we mentioned earlier, the Americano begins with an espresso that has hot water added to it. The most pronounced difference in appearance between the two is the crema, which is retained more satisfyingly on the top of a long black. There is little – if any – difference in the taste, though.
An iced Americano is similar to a standard Americano with one crucial difference: it uses ice instead of hot water. Many fans of standard Americano find that the effect of hot espresso on ice means there’s no need to add any additional hot water when they prefer an iced alternative. That’s because a big enough quantity of the ice will melt to make a tremendous iced Americano, regardless.
Espresso And Milk-Based Coffee Drinks
Many coffee beverages use milk, and because of that, the majority of espresso machines come equipped with a steam wand or milk frother that allows you to either create milk foam or steam the milk. Adding the milk foam or straight milk to an espresso opens up the possibilities to an array of tasty coffee beverages. These types of coffee drinks are very well-loved and widely available at coffee shops. Many people love coffee with milk.
Technically, your coffee can only be known as a cappuccino when it is served hot and contains equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and froth topping. Often people add chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder to the top of the coffee. You’ll typically serve cappuccino in a cup as opposed to a tumbler glass, and, as already stated, it contains one espresso shot (one third), steamed milk (one third), and milk foam (one third).
Latte (Caffè latte)
A caffe latte (more popularly referred to as simply “latte”) is an Italian beverage with espresso as a base that added steamed milk and microfoam. A latte has significantly more steamed milk to espresso than a cappuccino and also a quarter of an inch of foam. The steamed milk makes the drink far sweeter than an espresso. Meanwhile, it is served in a tumbler glass rather than a cup, making it different in its presentation to a cappuccino.
Ingredients-wise, the main difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the extra milk in a latte, taking away some of the espresso taste retained in a cappuccino.
You can make a latte with one shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a dollop (1cm) of milk foam at the top.
A flat white is a beverage that has its origins in Australia and consists of espresso and microfoam.
While it is crucial to achieving the correct balance of espresso and steamed milk for an excellent flat white, the most prominent feature is the microfoam, which is created by steaming milk carefully to make the necessary creamy and thick milk foam. Serve flat white into a ceramic cup and saucer. This coffee drink is popular in Australia and New Zealand.
You can make a flat white by pulling an espresso shot and adding approximately 4oz microfoam steamed milk.
A Frappuccino is a blended coffee that can contain many ingredients, including flavored syrups, whipped cream, brown sugar, sauces, drizzles, extracts, and even sprinkles.
The chain of coffee shops The Coffee Connection, originating in Eastern Massachusetts and founded by George Howell, invented, named, and trademarked the Frappuccino. In 1994, Starbucks bought out The Coffee Connection and at the same time took over the rights to make, use, sell and market the Frappuccino. Not long after, Starbucks began selling it throughout its stores. Sometimes you’ll see it called ‘Frappe’ in other coffee shops.
Mocha (Caffè mocha)
While milk plays a pivotal role in many of the world’s best-known coffee brands, chocolate can also help create some fantastic coffee drinks. The mocha is one example, combining espresso, steamed milk, and hot chocolate. Mochas are created by pulling an espresso shot, adding chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and microfoam. It’s also called ‘Mochaccino’.
Caffè Macchiato (Espresso Macchiato)
Macchiato translates as “marked” in Italian. An espresso macchiato is primarily an espresso that is “marked” with a small percentage of foam or steamed milk to appeal to people who like a bold, rich flavor.
First, extract the espresso, then add some milk foam to its top to make the beverage.
A latte macchiato bears similarities with an espresso macchiato. However, preparation takes place in a different order.
Add a decent amount of frothy milk to a glass cup initially. Then, add a small measure of espresso to the center of it. This will result in three layers in the beverage, with the espresso staying in the center between the layers of frothy milk.
Tip: Whether ordering either an espresso macchiato or a latte macchiato, a simple way to ensure the barista knows which types of coffee drinks you want is to remember “first in name, first in cup.”
Caffe Breve is an American version of a latte. Like standard lattes, it’s an espresso-based drink with milk, but the caffe breve uses steamed half-milk and half-cream rather than just steamed milk.
Half-and-half, as the name suggests, is 50% heavy cream and 50% whole milk. It produces a dense, rich milk foam for a creamy combination of espresso and half-and-half when steamed.
The affogato uses ice cream. Firstly, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato into the cup. After that, pour a shot of espresso over it.
This results in a creamy, iced drink with a robust espresso taste. It can either work as a standalone coffee drink or a refreshing dessert in hot weather. Well worth trying for anyone who enjoys ice cream.
A cortado requires a ratio of 1:1 espresso to steamed milk. Unlike many other coffee beverages, the aim is not to produce a frothy, foamy, or similarly textured steamed milk consistency. Instead, you steam the milk to reach an acceptable temperature to serve it when combined with the same amount of fresh-brewed espresso.
Cortados are an excellent option for coffee lovers who enjoy the espresso taste blended with steamed milk’s smoothness without too much frothiness.
Piccolo lattes are simply a caffe latte served in either a small demitasse glass or an espresso cup. Many people have the impression that piccolo lattes are like caffe lattes are only made with less milk.
You’re not likely to find Piccolo Latte on the menu of your regular coffee shop as the concept can lead to confusion.
Espresso con panna (Vienna Coffee)
You can produce Espresso Con Panna by pouring double shot of espresso in a regular-sized coffee cup then filling the remainder of the cup with whipped cream (instead of sugar and milk). Finally, twirl the cream. You can also add chocolate sprinkles if necessary. The Vienna coffee is then drunk from its creamy top.
And that concludes our guide to the most popular drinks made with espresso. If it all seems a little too overwhelming, just remember that the most significant differences between them tend to be milk and espresso ratios.
However, even though that may not seem like much of a change, it can make a big difference to the drinks’ textures, flavors, aromas, and profiles. Hopefully, armed with this knowledge, the coffee shops’ menus will be a lot clearer now.
Black Coffee Drinks
We’ve now taken a close look at beverages using combinations of espresso and milk, but what about black coffee drinks? When brewing black coffee, there are a considerable number of methods and coffee makers to help. The coffee makers needed to brew black coffee are not nearly as expensive as espresso machines and are perfect for enjoying an exquisite cup of coffee at home.
Drip Coffee/Filter Coffee
Drip coffee, or filter coffee, is a method of brewing coffee by using a filter. This is the most popular home brewing method. To make coffee of this type, add ground coffee in a filter, where hot water then interacts with the coffee grounds. When this happens, the water absorbs the grounds’ flavor, and it then drips into the carafe placed beneath it. Many families have an auto drip coffee maker sitting in the kitchen.
Pour Over Coffee
This brewing method is perfect for people who still want to enjoy excellent coffee on their travels. It is also straightforward enough that beginners can do it. The majority of pour-over drippers stand on top of the coffee mug. The Hario V60 is an example of a model that does this. Using either a reusable mesh filter or a paper filter, hot water is poured circularly over the ground coffee, and the freshly brewed coffee drips into the cup. Medium ground coffee is perfect for Pour over.
There are certain pour-over makers, including the Bodum Pour Over and the Chemex, that come with a carafe and all-in-one funnel for making multiple cups per batch.
Inventor Alan Adler came up with AeroPress in 2005, and it quickly became one of the world’s best-loved coffee brewers. One of the reasons is the device’s versatility, which allows you to make coffee according to individual tastes – an advantage many other brewing methods lack.
Indeed, you can make coffees as strong as espresso or as delicate as French press. You can also make cold brew quickly with AeroPress. Because of this versatility, many recipes are compatible with AeroPress.
Sometimes referred to as siphon coffee, vacuum coffee uses a brewer of two parts. The lower chamber holds boiling water, which forces water vapor into the chamber above it with the coffee grounds. With the coffee-brewing process complete, it heads back to the chamber beneath it via a filter. Then, it is ready to pour, where you can add sweeteners and milk according to taste.
French Press Coffee
French press represents the simplest way to make home-brewed coffee. It’s also one of the cheapest. Using a French press allows the user to brew coffee full of body and is a type of immersion brewing.
This method requires coarsely ground coffee. Fill the cylinder press pot with boiling water and leave it for approximately five minutes. Then, using a mesh plunger, filter out the grounds, and it’s ready to drink. Since it keeps part of the coffee oils in the cup, you can get a full-bodied coffee using a French press.
Moka Pot/Stovetop Espresso
The first Moka pot, the Moka Express, was manufactured by Bialetti in 1933, and it remains the preferred coffee maker for most families in Italy. Coffee brewed by a Moka pot has a rich and robust flavor and is also known as the stovetop espresso maker.
To brew coffee with a Moka pot, fill the bottom chamber with water and use a heat source – such as a gas stove – to get it hot. When the water is hot enough, it begins to boil up and generate steam. This pushes the water through a filter chamber that is holding coffee grounds. This process continues until it flows over the upper chamber’s inner spout. It usually uses finely ground coffee.
The majority of Moka pots brew any number between one and 12 cups.
“Decaf” is an abbreviation of “decaffeinated.” It is possible to remove caffeine from coffee beans in many ways. However, the methods will still leave about 3% of caffeine content. Before the beans are ground and roasted, they are decaffeinated.
In terms of nutrition, the coffee properties should be identical to regular coffee, except for the considerable caffeine content reduction.
When coffee is decaffeinated, the aroma and flavor are not likely to be quite as strong. Despite this, it’s still a good option for people who like the taste of coffee but want to reduce caffeine consumption for health or other reasons.
Instant (or water-soluble) coffee isn’t considered high-quality as it’s neither freshly brewed nor ground but dissolved when added to hot water. This is convenient as it makes a cup without the need for specialist equipment.
It’s popular with people who either don’t have the time to make freshly brewed coffee or can’t afford the equipment needed to make it. There are many brands all over the world that produce different types of coffee drinks, such Nescafe, Starbucks, UCC, Mount Hagen, Jacobs, illy etc., Check out our instant coffee buying guide for more information. We actually tasted a bunch of instant coffee from the top brands worldwide and picked the best for you, including both the caffeinated and decaffeinated instant coffees.
We love iced coffee, especially in the hot summer. We can simply add ice cubes into hot coffee, or use the try the following iced coffee drinks.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee has its origins in Japan and is a brewing method used for hundreds of years there.
Not surprisingly, given the name, cold brew coffee involved brewing with cold rather than hot water. To use this method, it’s necessary to steep coarse-ground beans in cold water for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. It produces a coffee that has a smoother, less acidic flavor than some other hot coffee. Cold brew coffee requires patience, but it’s super easy to make at home, all you need is a mason jar or a French press, coarsely ground coffee, and water.
This cold-brewed coffee has a beery, creamy feel. Served from a beer keg, it becomes as thick as it does from the brew’s infused nitrogen. We explained what is Nitro cold brew in another brewing guide.
Other Flavored Coffee
These types of coffee drinks produce one-of-a-kind aromas. Here are a few of the most distinctive:
Coffee With Alcohol
Liqueur coffee or coffee cocktails are beverages that contain both coffee and alcohol. Usually, alcoholic beverages, including whiskey, tequila, brandy, gin, rum, and vodka, are mixed with the coffee. Typically, coffee with alcohol is served in a liqueur glass and often with sugar and cream. One of the most popular of these coffee types is Irish Coffee, which combines whiskey with coffee.
Popular in Hong Kong, yuanyang (coffee with tea) contains coffee and milk tea. It is found in many restaurants and can either be served cold or hot. The mixture of coffee, tea, and milk makes for a beverage with an interesting flavor and complexity.
As difficult as it is to believe, one of the most highly regarded coffees in the world comes from the butt of a wild cat! The civet cat, found in Indonesia, eats whole coffee cherries. However, its body is unable to break down the coffee beans inside the cherries.
Because of this, it appears that the beans undergo fermentation while in the civet cat’s stomach that lends the beans more citric acid. People gather the cat’s droppings, thoroughly wash them, and then process them similar to other coffee beans.
This coffee isn’t one of our favorites as it is an acquired taste and isn’t kind to the cats either. Check out our Kopi Luwak coffee review and find out why.
Turkish coffee is an immersion coffee where the grounds remain unfiltered in the water while being served.
Turkish coffee uses the finest possible grounds. The server then pours it from a particular type of brewing pot with a long handle, called a cezve or ibrik.
First, boil the coffee to produce a frothy coffee. Pour it into little serving cups. Then return it to the heat to boil again. Pour more into the cups. Repeat this one more time, and then it is ready to drink. We show you how to make Turkish coffee step by step in the brewing guide.
This type of espresso sees demerara sugar added to the container the espresso will drip into, ensuring the coffee will mix with the sugar during the brewing process. One way of making a Café Cubano is with a Moka pot or espresso machine. Check out our detailed Cuban coffee recipe.
To begin with, add a small amount of espresso to the sugar and mix it well. This will produce a light-brown, creamy paste. Then, add the rest of the espresso and mix it to leave a light-brown layer of foam. With the espresso and sugar combined beautifully, this makes for coffee that tastes great.
This type of coffee usually involves a small, metal, Vietnamese coffee filter (Phin) to drip the coffee through. It can be taken either cold or hot with condensed milk. We love the Vietnamese iced coffee in the hot summer, and the Vietnamese Egg Coffee is also worth a try. Here is the recipe and step-by-step guide for making Vietnamese Egg Coffee.
Also known as keto coffee and butter coffee, bulletproof coffee uses freshly brewed coffee, unsalted butter, and coconut oil. It makes an alternative to eating breakfast and is popular among people on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
More Coffee Drink Names Will Appear On Menu
Hopefully, this in-depth ‘Types of Coffee Drinks’ guide has given you the know-how you need to either make the coffee of your choice at home or order with confidence in a coffee shop.
However, despite describing a large number of coffees, rest assured the list of coffee drinks will not end there – coffee lovers are continually inventing new and exciting recipes, meaning far more coffee drinks are sure to be created in the future.