It can be very challenging to keep up with the different types of coffee beverages. Every day, baristas all over the world concoct coffee drinks that push the boundaries of creativity and challenge the palate.
From the addition of exotic ingredients to the use of innovative coffee grinding and brewing techniques, many of these beverages appeal to the highly varied taste buds of the coffee-crazed world.
Despite these innovative concoctions, there are coffee drink types that remain the quintessential favorites. Here are 25 of them.
Here are the 25 Types of Coffee Drinks
The espresso is the base of almost all types of coffee drinks. You can add milk, cream, or any other ingredient in varying proportions to make a fantastic espresso-based coffee drink. Espresso is a type of coffee made from high-pressure brewing. High-pressure steam bathes coffee grounds to extract their full flavors, resulting in a highly concentrated coffee. An espresso shot is about an ounce.
Cappuccinos are a favorite of many because of the additional flavorings that baristas put on top. Making a cappuccino requires about two shots of espresso and then layered with 2 ounces of steamed milk. The top consists of 2 ounces of milk foam. You can also have a sprinkling of cinnamon or even chocolate powder.
This type of coffee is nothing more than a diluted espresso. The usual dilution is 3:1. You mix 3 ounces of hot water for every ounce of espresso. This is perfect for people who may not like the very strong coffee flavor and acidity of an espresso. You can also make it a bit stronger by using less water.
The term ‘latte’ says it all. This coffee drink has a greater proportion of milk than coffee. Latte is a combination of an ounce of espresso and 8 to 10 ounces of heated or steamed milk. Lattes are perfect for milk-lovers who want a hint of coffee in their drinks. You can add flavorings, too.
This is almost the same as espresso. It undergoes the same brewing process, using the same water temperature, amount of ground coffee, and steam pressure. The only difference is in the pulling of the ristretto. Instead of getting an ounce per shot, you get less than that. Ristretto has a higher coffee concentration than espresso.
An ounce of espresso is often not enough for some people. If you are this kind of coffee-drinking person, then you need a doppio. This is a type of coffee beverage that is equivalent to two shots or two ounces of espresso. It is strong and high in caffeine, perfect for jumpstarting the day.
The long black is almost similar to an Americano. The difference is that you will need two ounces of espresso, instead of one. The amount of hot water is also only two ounces, compared to three ounces in an Americano. The long black is stronger than an Americano and greater in volume than a doppio.
Some people like to call the macchiato as the ‘stained’ espresso. Why not? Making this coffee beverage is as easy as taking an ounce of espresso and then adding about a teaspoon or two of steamed milk. You should know that the term ‘macchiato’ is ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ in Italian. You get a milk-stained espresso.
Newbies can be confused about a flat white and a cappuccino. This is because they look the same. The difference is in the composition of the beverage. A flat white will always have more steamed milk than a cappuccino. It also does not have a milk foam. Technically, you get one-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk.
The breve is a flat white with a twist. The base is still an ounce of espresso. Instead of using steamed milk, caffe breve uses three ounces of steamed half-and-half. The beverage also has a centimeter-thick topping of milk foam. Some breves come with two ounces each of milk foam and steamed half-and-half for every espresso shot.
This is a somewhat smaller version of the cappuccino. Instead of an espresso base, the piccolo latte uses a ristretto. It also requires less steamed milk, only about two ounces of it. A cappuccino can use up to 10 ounces of milk. The drink can also have a top layer of thin milk foam.
If macchiato is a milk-stained espresso, the latte macchiato is the exact opposite. It is an espresso-stained latte. Baristas often serve latte macchiatos in a tall glass half-filled with steamed whole milk. Add an ounce of espresso and a thin milk foam layer to finish the drink. Latte macchiato is creamy and sweeter than macchiato.
This coffee beverage has a good balance of the creaminess and sweetness of steamed milk and the bitterness and acidity of espresso. You have equal amounts of espresso and milk. If you miss the frothy texture of cappuccino, a barista can add a layer of milk foam that will help improve the cortado’s texture.
Think of the Gibraltar as a milk foam version of the cortado. It consists of two ounces of espresso and enough milk foam to fill the special 4.5-ounce “Gibraltar” glass. The only issue with this coffee beverage is that it can get cold very fast. You have to consume Gibraltar once served.
Most coffee drinkers refer to this beverage as mochaccino. It is similar to a latte, except that there is the addition of chocolate powder or flavoring and sweeteners. Some baristas use chocolate syrup, while others contain milk or dark chocolate. The usual proportion is equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate flavoring. It is rich and very decadent.
If you think the espresso is a very strong coffee, the red eye is stronger. This is equivalent to an ounce of espresso plus 6 ounces of brewed coffee from a drip machine. It is great for people who want more caffeine in their drinks. It is like an Americano, except that it uses drip-brewed coffee, not hot water.
The black eye is even stronger than the red eye. It has the same basic composition with a double shot of espresso. You still dilute the espresso with 6 ounces of coffee from the drip machine. However, the doppio component gives this drink enough kick that will have you pumped up the whole day.
If you want a really creamy coffee drink, then Vienna is for you. This is an espresso-based drink that uses whipped cream instead of steamed milk. Add two ounces of the whipped cream to an ounce of espresso if you want your drink creamy. If you want more of the coffee taste, then use a doppio.
Most people think that Vienna and mochaccino are very decadent coffee beverages. They obviously have not tried the affogato yet. This drink features a scoop of ice cream instead of milk foam and steamed milk. Most affogatos use vanilla ice cream, dropped into a shot or two of espresso.
Café au Lait
This is not latte. First, the coffee comes from a French press. Second, it uses scalded milk and not steamed milk. The ratio of French press coffee to scalded milk is always 1:1. It has a different taste. It remains delicious and rich, nonetheless.
This is a favorite summertime drink. It consists of 2 ounces of espresso or drip-brewed coffee. A barista uses a tall 14-oz glass and adds 4 ounces of ice and 4 ounces of water or milk. Many baristas also add flavoring syrup to improve the taste of the beverage.
The lungo is the exact opposite of the ristretto. If the ristretto is a short-pulled version of the espresso, the lungo is its long-pulled version. It is almost similar to a long black or an Americano in volume. The difference is that you pull all the water from the espresso machine.
A Portuguese original, the galao is a lighter and creamier version of the cappuccino. It has twice the amount of foam milk than the cappuccino. This makes it a great beverage for people who want a frothier texture in their coffee, while also enjoying the richness of the steamed milk.
The Irish is a coffee drink mixed with alcohol. Irish coffee consists of 4 parts of hot coffee, 2 parts of Irish whiskey, 1.5 parts of fresh cream, and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Baristas heat the coffee, whiskey, and sugar without letting it boil. He pours the mixture into a tall glass and then topped with the cream.
This coffee beverage is a favorite among Southern Californians. The beverage calls for a doppio that baristas chill immediately after brewing. They then mix the chilled doppio with sweetened cream. One distinct feature of the palazzo is that it uses a Moka pot instead of an espresso machine.
How Each Coffee Compared With Others
Cappuccino vs. Espresso
Cappuccino and espresso are two of the most popular types of coffee drinks in the world. However, these two beverages actually represent the two fundamental types of coffee drinks: black and milk-based.
Black coffee is a beverage that gets served with only brewed coffee and hot water. It derives its name from the color of the drink. The most important example of black coffee is the espresso. This is the foundation of other coffee drinks. You can also use it to produce cappuccino.
The word ‘espresso’ comes from a technique or method of producing coffee. A machine forces high-pressure steam from nearly-boiling water through the coffee grounds. This high-pressure brewing process allows the resulting coffee to have a high concentration of the coffee ground’s unique flavor and aroma profiles. You also get that nice and distinctive crema on top.
A shot of espresso is about an ounce. A double espresso is twice that at about 2 ounces.
The espresso is an excellent base for milk-based coffee drinks. A good example of this is cappuccino. Traditional Italians prepare their cappuccino by adding a layer of steamed milk foam. There are many variations of the cappuccino. There are those who love to add a dusting of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top. Others will use non-dairy milk creams, instead of the milk foam.
To make a cappuccino, you will need a shot or two of espresso and topped with 2 ounces each of steamed milk and milk foam. You can then top it off with a dusting of your favorite chocolate powder.
Now you know the main difference between these two very popular coffee drinks. Espresso is a very concentrated form of black coffee that is the foundation of many different kinds of coffee beverages.
Adding steamed milk and milk foam to a shot of espresso can give you an exciting and creamy cup of cappuccino. It is worth remembering that cappuccino can also be an excellent starting point for other coffee drink creations.
Americano vs. Espresso
The Americano or Caffe Americano is nothing more than a diluted espresso. We can all agree that true espresso is not for the average coffee drinker. The flavor can be very overwhelming. It has a very punchy taste and its aroma can flood your nostrils.
Most beginner coffee drinkers cannot stand the very strong aroma and flavor of an espresso. Also, the amount of the espresso can also be an issue for people who drink coffee like water. Coffee connoisseurs say that it was the American G.I.s of World War II who ‘invented’ the Americano.
They say that these American soldiers did not like the strong and bold flavors of Italian espresso. As such, they diluted the espresso with hot water. This produced a type of coffee that has a coffee flavor that Americans are more accustomed to.
There is another story behind the dilution of the espresso with hot water. Some people believe that a good espresso is difficult to come by at the battlefront during World War II. As such, soldiers had to ‘extend’ their rationed espressos by diluting these with hot water.
Since an Americano is essentially a diluted espresso, you can easily control the strength of your coffee drink. The standard ratio of hot water to espresso is 3:1. You pour a shot of espresso in a coffee mug and then add 3 ounces of hot water.
You can use 2 ounces or even an ounce of hot water if you want your Americano to be strong. If you want an even more diluted coffee, then you should add more water.
Espresso vs. Latte
Latte is another example of a milk-based coffee drink. As such, you will still need a good espresso as your base. Traditional Italians make caffe latte by adding steamed milk with a shot of espresso. It has more milk compared to other milk-based coffee beverages.
Making latte involves the addition of 8 to 10 ounces of steamed milk to an ounce of espresso. This makes latte a lot similar to an Americano, in terms of diluting the espresso. The difference is that steamed milk is used in diluting the coffee.
Latte is perfect for people who dislike the bitterness and acidity of conventional espressos. Sweet-toothed coffee drinkers can also have the option of flavoring syrups added to their lattes. You can think of latte as a milk drink with a hint of coffee.
Americano vs. Latte
As mentioned above, caffe Americano and caffe latte are somewhat similar in that they tend to dilute the espresso.
The Americano uses plain hot water to dilute the espresso at a ratio of about 1:3. Latte requires espresso dilution using steamed milk with a volume of 8 to 10 times that of the espresso.
It is safe to assume that caffe Americano is best for people who prefer a profound coffee taste in their drinks. Lattes, on the other hand, are perfect for people who want a milkier flavor in their beverage.
Espresso vs. Ristretto
One of the most confusing types of coffee is the ristretto. To the uninitiated, they might think that the ristretto is nothing more than another fancy term for an espresso.
In a way, they are correct. Making a ristretto is the same as making an espresso. It requires the same amount of coffee grounds, the same water temperature, and the same water pressure. The only difference is that baristas will often use less water in pulling a shot of ristretto.
This makes sense, since ristretto derives its name from the term “restrict”. It is a short shot derived from coffee grounds that has a finer texture than the ones used for an espresso. Ristretto is also less than an ounce that’s perfect for your demitasse cup.
To simplify, espresso is your standard 1-ounce concentrated black coffee. The ristretto is less than that. Still, it can pack a very powerful punch. It is more concentrated than espresso, yet has a sweeter taste.
Espresso vs. Doppio
We already know that a standard ‘shot’ of espresso is about 1 fluid ounces. Unfortunately, there are some people who simply cannot begin their day with a single ounce of a very strong black coffee. So, what do they ask from their barista?
A doppio, of course. This is a very fancy Italian word for ‘double’. In other words, you get two shots of your standard espresso. That’s equivalent to about 2 ounces or 60 milliliters. This should be enough to get you all ready for the day’s work.
Americano vs. Long Black
These two types of black coffee are somewhat similar in terms of using hot water to dilute the espresso or the ristretto.
An Americano will always use an ounce of espresso as a base. You can then add at least 3 ounces of hot water to create a good cup of coffee.
On the other hand, a long black coffee requires a doppio (2 shots of espresso) or a double shot of ristretto. You will then add no more than 2 ounces of water to produce a stronger coffee taste. The less water you add, the more pronounced the coffee flavors you get.
Cappuccino vs. Latte
Both cappuccino and latte are examples of milk-based coffee drinks. The main difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the amount of steamed milk and milk foam you put into the espresso.
Cappuccinos require equal amounts of steamed milk and milk foam and, to some extent, the espresso. You also get a dusting of cocoa powder or even cinnamon on top.
On the other hand, café latte consists mostly of a single shot of espresso and about 8 to 10 ounces of steamed milk. You also get about a centimeter-thick milk foam on top.
You can think of latte as having a milkier taste and a richer or creamier texture than cappuccino. The centimeter-thick milk foam of latte also makes it very ideal for making beautiful artwork.
Cappuccino vs. Macchiato
It is not that difficult to differentiate a cappuccino from a macchiato. A cappuccino will have 3 equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.
A macchiato is different in that the espresso base is a lot more pronounced. The difference becomes clearer once you understand the origins of this type of coffee drink.
Macchiato is Italian for ‘spotted’ or ‘stained’. Apparently, there are some espresso lovers who want a little hint of milk in their drink. Most of the coffee servers at the time cannot distinguish an espresso from a milk-stained espresso. Hence, baristas added a bit more milk on top of the espresso to serve as a marker for the beverage.
The typical macchiato has a single shot of espresso as its base. You can then add no more than 2 teaspoons of your favorite steamed milk. You might think this is not enough for most people. In such a case, then you may want to opt for a long macchiato, which is double a macchiato.
Here’s one fun fact for you. The macchiato is also a favorite coffee among baristas who have a flair for creating fantastic artwork.
Latte vs. Macchiato
The obvious difference between a latte and a macchiato is the amount of steamed milk you put into the espresso. Keep in mind that both types of coffee drink have a base of 1 ounce of espresso.
A latte will have as much as 10 ounces of steamed milk for every ounce of espresso. Think of it as a milk beverage that you make fancy by adding 10 percent concentrated black coffee.
A macchiato will only require no more than a pair of teaspoons for each ounce of espresso that you use. This creates a cup of coffee that has a very strong coffee flavor and aroma. The milk will only give the coffee a slightly sweet taste and a slight creamy texture. Milk is also a nice way of softening the black color of espresso.
Cappuccino vs. Americano
There are several ways you can differentiate an Americano from a cappuccino. First, the Americano is a type of black coffee, while the cappuccino is a beverage that contains milk as its fundamental ingredient.
You can also think of these two coffee beverages in terms of how they dilute the base espresso. An Americano uses hot water that is 3 times the volume of the espresso.
On the other hand, a cappuccino will use both steamed milk and milk foam in amounts that are equal to the espresso. As such, if you are going to use a doppio as your base, then you will need 2 ounces each of milk foam and steamed milk to make the cappuccino.
Flavor-wise, the Americano has a more coffee taste. While it is true that it is already a diluted version of the espresso, there’s no denying the distinct aromas and flavors of coffee. The reason is simple. There is no milk or foam or any other ingredient that can mask the strong flavors of coffee.
The cappuccino offers the sweetness and creaminess of milk, while still retaining some of the bitterness of coffee. You get somewhat of a balance between sweet and bitter. And when you add the creamy texture of the milk foam, it can be a very different experience altogether.
Cappuccino vs. Flat White
This has got to be one of the most intriguing pairs of milk-based coffee types. It is not uncommon for a newbie coffee drinker to think of a flat white as a cappuccino, and vice versa. That’s because these two look very similar. Well, except for one very minor detail.
We already said that the cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk, and 1 part milk foam. A flat white coffee ditches the milk foam. Instead, it doubles up on the steamed milk.
In essence, a flat white is almost the same as a cappuccino. The difference is that it has more steamed milk and no milk foam at all. This makes the flat white creamier than the cappuccino.
The downside is that you will not get that frothy white mustache that you typically get when you sip from a cup of cappuccino.
Cappuccino vs. Caffe Breve
Caffe breve is a very interesting type of coffee. It is almost similar to a flat white, except that the volume of the addition to an ounce of espresso is only three ounces. Also, it doesn’t use steamed milk.
Caffe breve uses half-and-half, which is a mixture of milk and cream in equal parts. The resulting coffee is creamier than the one that you can get from a flat white. In addition to the steamed half-and-half, a cup of caffe breve also requires a centimeter-thick milk foam.
Some baristas would use 2 portions each of steamed half-and-half and milk foam for every portion of espresso. The beverage is so rich and sweet that people no longer feel the need to add sweeteners.
This type of coffee is perfect for those who want a more decadent, creamier, and richer coffee beverage.
Cappuccino vs. Piccolo Latte
A cappuccino can be at least 6 ounces. A smaller version of this is the piccolo latte. It has a very punchy espresso flavor and a creamy and rich milk texture. Coffee shops serve a piccolo latte in very small 3 to 4 ounce shot glasses.
The typical piccolo latte requires a shot of ristretto and two ounces of steamed milk. Some baristas like to top the beverage with a very thin layer of milk foam.
The drink is essentially a small-sized version of a typical latte, although the proportion of milk to espresso is scaled down.
Macchiato vs. Latte Macchiato
We know that a macchiato is simply an espresso with a very thin layer of steamed milk, leaving a white mark on the black coffee.
A latte macchiato is the exact opposite of a macchiato. The base is the steamed whole milk. A layer of rich espresso is then added on top of the milk to give it a black ‘stain’ or ‘mark’ on the white background.
A typical latte macchiato is served in a tall glass. A barista prepares it by filling the glass with steamed milk about half full. He then adds a shot of espresso, before adding a layer of milk foam.
The latte macchiato provides coffee drinkers a sweeter and creamier version of their macchiato. It is essentially a glass of milk with a hint of espresso.
Cappuccino vs. Cortado
The cortado is perfect for people who want to strike a balance between the acidity and bitterness of espresso and the sweetness and creaminess of steamed milk. You’d be right in saying that this type of coffee drink requires espresso and steamed milk in equal amounts.
The main issue for some people about cortado is that they don’t get to enjoy the frothy texture of other milk-based coffee drinks, like cappuccino and latte. It is as flat as a flat white. Some baristas may add a very thin layer of milk foam to help improve the texture of the drink.
Most coffee shops serve their cortados in 5 to 7 ounce glasses.
Cortado vs. Gibraltar
Gibraltar is not that different from a cortado. One should know that Gibraltar is a subtype of cortado. And its origin is a lot closer to home than most of you might think.
This type of coffee doesn’t originate from the Mediterranean. Its origin is in San Francisco, California. Coffee roasters in the Bay area developed the cortado. At the same time, some of these roasters worked with the Libbey Glass Company that provided them with a very unique glassware called, ‘Gibraltar’. Each glass can accommodate 4.5 ounces.
To make Gibraltar coffee, baristas only need to fill the glass with two shots of espresso. They then add milk foam to fill the glass.
The problem with Gibraltar coffee is its rapid temperature decline. This is because of the way the Gibraltar coffee glass is designed. You have to drink your coffee the moment it is served; otherwise, you will be drinking cold coffee.
Cappuccino vs. Mochaccino
A mochaccino is one of the most intriguing coffee beverages you can ever find. In general, mocha is not a combination of coffee and chocolate. It is a type of coffee bean produced by Coffea arabica that is a native to the Yemeni port city of Mocha.
However, coffee lovers everywhere have learned to put a little twist on everything. They thought of combining the rich, chocolatey taste of mocha with the creamy and milky nature of espresso-based cappuccino to come up with a hybrid coffee drink – mochaccino.
We all know what a cappuccino is: equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth or foam. Remove the steamed milk and replace it with your favorite chocolate syrup and you have a delightfully sinful mochaccino.
You get to retain the frothy or foamy goodness of cappuccino without the milk. Instead, you will be treating yourself to an almost dessert-like beverage and one that you will be craving for once you taste it.
There are baristas who also add whipped cream or a dash of cinnamon as toppings for the mochaccino. Technically, you can add almost any other topping that works well with chocolates.
Most newbie coffee drinkers choose a mochaccino over a cappuccino because it has a rich, chocolatey taste that these people are more familiar with.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the fundamental types of coffee drinks, it should already be easier to make your own.
You can always find inspiration in these drinks to perk up your days or even to serve to your friends.