Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Coffee Drinks

Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Coffee Drinks

November 18, 2020

Are you used to black cups of joe? Then you might have felt lost in front of all the different types of coffee drinks on the blackboard of the most hipster café in town. Perhaps you’d like to try something new, but aren’t too sure why their names change depending on how frothy the milk is? Let’s get you one step closer to finding your new favorite coffee… without any fancy jargon.

Different types of coffee drinks: a guide to deciphering any café’s menu

Black coffee 

Black coffee

This is what you get when you order a pot of joe or brew a coffee with automatic drippers, manual pour overs or French presses. The coffee-to-water ratio can change, but it’s usually around 1:15.

Americano

The Italian word for American coffee refers to a cup obtained by pouring hot water onto a shot of espresso. Apparently, it dates back to when American soldiers had to ration and dilute coffee to make it last longer during World War II.

Long black

Obtained by pouring an espresso or double espresso onto the hot water, which helps retain their crema, the thin top layer of brown foam.

Espresso

Espresso

The most popular coffee in Italy, espresso is a highly concentrated shot that follows a 1:2 ratio. Find out all about it in our espresso guide.

Ristretto

‘Shortened’ in Italian, this is a smaller variant of the already concentrated espresso: slightly weaker but more aromatic.

Lungo

Another espresso variant, a lungo (‘long’) has more water because it’s brewed for double the time, which gives it a stronger caffeine kick.

Doppio or double espresso

It’s simply a shot made with a two-spout portafilter, using double the amount of coffee than single espressos.

Macchiato

Macchiato

You’ll probably get a different macchiato depending on where you order it. Meaning ‘stained’, it’s traditionally made by adding a spoonful of warm froth to a shot of espresso (‘macchiato caldo’, hot) or a dash of cold milk (‘macchiato freddo’).

Latte

Latte

Three parts of milk, one of coffee, and a top layer of froth. This coffee drink gave origin to latte art, the method of creating patterns onto its surface by pouring steamed milk in a specific way.

Latte macchiato

Latte macchiato

Similar to lattes, it’s made by pouring a shot of espresso into a glass of steamed milk instead of the other way round, allowing you to see the clearly defined layers of foam, coffee and milk. 

Cappuccino 

Cappuccino

Named after the Capuchin friars’ brown robes, it consists of equal parts of espresso, milk and froth, and can be topped with a sprinkle of chocolate powder. If you really want to impress—or annoy—your barista, ask for a wet (slightly more steamed milk than froth) or dry cappuccino (the other way round), or even a bone-dry cappuccino, which is just coffee and froth.

Flat white

Flat white

When ordering a flat white, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be rewarded with a leaf or swan on top, as its texture is perfect for latte art: it’s usually made with a double-shot of espresso and micro-foamed milk.

Cortado

Cortado

This even mixture of espresso and steamed milk has a much flatter texture than—ironically—flat whites or lattes, and is usually served in a glass. Meaning ‘cut’ in Spanish, it’s particularly popular in Latin American countries.

Mocha or mochaccino

Mocha coffee

Chocolate makes everything better… even coffee! Named after the Yemeni city that was central to early coffee trade, a mocha is just like a latte, but includes a teaspoon of drinking chocolate.

Phew, those were a lot of different types of coffee drinks, but we’re sure that you’ll now be able to decipher even the quirkiest menus. Which drink do you like the sound of the most?



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