When you look at a coffee shop menu, you will more than likely be confused by all the different types of coffee drinks written on it. From cold brew coffee to dessert coffee to flat white to double espresso to café au lait, there are many different types of coffee drinks you have yet to try.
Most coffee drinks contain caffeine, which is the main similarity. But they all vary in taste, temperature, texture, color, smell, and intensity. Today, I am here to get all the different types of coffee explained to you.
Without any further ado, let’s throw away the instant coffee and explore what you can order when you visit a coffee shop the next time!
Espresso is the most basic type of black coffee. Hailing from Italy, an espresso shot is essentially just 30 mL or 1 oz. of hot espresso that has been extracted from finely ground coffee beans steeped in hot water, served in an espresso cup.
The coffee-to-water ratio is high in a shot of espresso, giving it a stronger, more bitter, and more flavorsome taste. That is achieved by using ground coffee beans that are finer than usual coffee grounds, allowing the hot water to extract more flavor. The ground-to-water ratio is also high for an espresso shot.
Espresso by itself is not an introductory coffee drink because it may be too bitter for someone new to the world of coffee drinks. That does not mean you cannot enjoy espresso shots, though! You can also create your own espresso shot more easily at home using a Nespresso or Keurig-style pod system.
You will find that many popular types of coffees are actually espresso-based drinks, as they usually contain 1 shot of espresso mixed in them, along with water, steamed milk, foamed milk, cold milk, whipped cream, ice, etc.
You will find shots of espresso in macchiato, latte, iced coffee, Cappuccino, flat white, mocha coffee, etc. The caffeine content in these drinks will vary by the types of coffee beans (Robusta or Arabica beans), method and duration of roasting, size of the coffee beans, etc.
So, if you are not an avid black coffee fan, you may enjoy an espresso drink that utilizes an espresso shot diluted with water or steamed milk. You can also add ice and have iced espresso if hot coffee is not your thing.
We all have that time in our life when we need to pull an all-nighter or wake up early for a project, and 1 shot of espresso is just not enough. That is only something hardcore coffee lovers can relate to.
So, how many espresso shots can you safely consume in such a situation? The answer is to get a Doppio – which is double espresso served in a cappuccino or espresso cup.
By double espresso, I mean two servings of 1 shot of espresso together – so you get more caffeine in your hot coffee. It is a strong and highly concentrated drink, so you should not take it too often unless you have a high caffeine tolerance.
To make double espresso, heat your espresso machine and clean the group head and portafilter. Then, add about 18-21 grams of coffee grounds into the basket, and start brewing your hot coffee.
It should start pouring slowly, then turn into a consistent stream before stopping at the 30-second mark. You will also get a thick, yellow foam on top, which gives an espresso its signature look and add a layer of taste to the coffee drink. Enjoy!
Ristretto means short or restricted in Italian. Yet another type of espresso-based coffee, Ristretto, is just half a shot of espresso that has been made with half the amount of water baristas usually use to make 1 shot of espresso. A typical drip-brewed coffee cup of Ristretto contains only about 20 mL of product.
Some Ristrettos are made with less hot water than usual, giving the black coffee a slightly different taste. Because of less water, Ristretto is more concentrated and sweeter than a Doppio or just a traditional shot of espresso.
4. Long Black
This is another variation of black coffee made by pouring espresso shots in a hot water cup. The method of making makes it different from Americano, which is made by pouring hot water over 1 shot of espresso. Long black coffee originates from Australia and New Zealand.
Since the espresso is poured over the water, the crema of the shot of espresso remains, more than it would in an Americano. So, you get a more velvety feel when drinking a long black. It is also less voluminous, so the flavor is stronger.
5. Short Macchiato
Macchiato is another Italian word meaning spotted, marked, or stained. Making a macchiato is another one of the popular coffee styles that produce espresso-based drinks.
So, to make a macchiato, 1 shot of espresso is topped with milk foam. That is how it gets its name; it is coffee-stained with just a little bit of milk.
Both steamed milk and foamed milk can be used in a short macchiato. It is a small drink served in an espresso cup, about 50 mL. Since it is mostly 1 shot of espresso with just a touch of steamed milk, you still get a strong bitter flavor.
You can also find macchiatos in Portugal, where they are called café pintado. This name translates to coffee with a drop, so the idea behind it is the same.
How a macchiato will be made depends on the barista who’s serving it, as different baristas have their own style of making it.
Some add a dollop on top from a steamed milk cup, some add steamed milk and then a dollop of milk foam on top, and some just use foamed milk to top the espresso off.
Many coffee shops also mix flavored syrups such as caramel with macchiatos. You can also get a double macchiato, which uses a doppio as the base.
6. Long Macchiato
The coffee names of this one and the previous one is very similar because they are the same coffee drinks. This one is just a taller version of a macchiato, usually served in a tall glass.
In a long macchiato, the different layers of espresso, warm steamed milk, and milk foam are more distinctive since you get more amount in each layer. It usually is made with double shot espresso.
Macchiatos definitely fall under popular coffee drinks, which is apparent from the two sizes available in any coffee shop.
When discussing the most popular coffee drinks, Cappuccino is a name sure to pop up in any list. It is a very creamy, indulgent, and delicious coffee drink that anyone would enjoy.
To make this espresso-based drink, you have to use equal parts of espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk. You can use either cold brew coffee or regular drip coffee for the espresso, depending on your taste preference.
A regular cup of Cappuccino includes 1 shot of espresso (double is also used), topped with steamed milk, milk foam, and then sprinkle with chocolate powder or cocoa powder. The chocolate powder can be replaced by cinnamon or nutmeg, or any other flavoring of your choice.
The combination of creamy milk foam and steamed milk makes a cappuccino very indulgent.
If you prefer a dairy-free option, you can forgo the steamed milk cup and opt for plant-based milk instead. I would recommend oat milk for vegan alternatives because this type of milk makes the creamiest vegan cappuccino.
Are you more into iced coffee drinks? You can also turn a cappuccino into iced coffee simply by adding crushed ice. This drink can be taken hot, lukewarm, cold – in any way. Using warm milk instead of scalded milk is another favorite variety.
Because the foam is added on top, you will very often see coffee shops making some sort of design on your Cappuccino on top of the foam. This is a coffee drink that is both nice to see and drink.
After Cappuccino, the latte is another crowd-pleaser when it comes to different types of coffee drinks. In terms of construction, lattes are very similar to cappuccinos. The Italian word latte translates to milk, so you can guess that these coffees contain more steamed milk and less foam compared to cappuccinos.
Usually, a latte is made by using one-third espresso, two-thirds steamed milk, and a thin foamy layer on top. You can use cold brew coffee, or drip-brewed coffee for the espresso. Lattes taste less bitter and milder due to the amount of milk added to them. The milk cuts down the bitterness and acidity to a great degree.
Lattes are great if you want a milk-dominant coffee drink but do not want it to be too indulgent. A latte is served in a tall or tumbler glass, larger than the regular cup for coffee drinks you see in a generic coffee shop.
Because of the thin foam layer, coffee art is most seen on lattes. Skillful baristas love to draw on latte cups.
You can add many different flavorings to a latte in the form of syrup – from vanilla to hazelnut to raspberry. Often, coffee shops make lattes more festive by adding ingredients such as pumpkin spice, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.
And if it’s too hot outside, you can also add ice and turn it into an iced latte. Iced latte is the most popular type of iced coffee. This kind of iced coffee is made by pouring 1 shot of espresso over ice and then topping it off with steamed milk and foam as usual.
Make sure you pick the Best Coffee Beans for Latte to really experience the full impact.
9. Flat White
Think latte but with less foam and more velvety texture and stronger coffee taste – and you got yourself a flat white. This is another Australia, and New Zealand-based coffee similar to latte and Cappuccino, except it, does not contain any milk foam or chocolate powder on top.
A flat white is mostly 1or 2 shots of espresso topped with steamed milk. Baristas fold the milk when it steams so it is less frothy or foamy and more velvety. Alternatively, milk near the bottom of the steamed milk cup or jug is used, avoiding the froth at the top.
If you think that a flat white is too, well, flat, then you can mix up the flavor of the coffee to keep it exciting. As the coffee flavor takes center stage in this drink, change the coffee.
Use different coffee beans for a different flavor. Arabica beans are the most popular, making up a majority of the world’s coffee production.
You can also change the flavor of your flat white by using a cold brew instead of the regular drip coffee. These coffees are usually short, halfway between a cappuccino and an espresso, about 150 to 240 mL.
Mocha is another name you will see on every ‘different type of coffee’ list ever. Naturally, I had to include it. If you love hot chocolate as much as I do, you must give mocha a try the next time you are in a coffee shop! This is a must-have for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Mochas are essentially a heavenly mix of hot chocolate and latte. To make this chocolate espresso drink, you will need to top a shot of espresso with some chocolate (in a syrup or a powder form), then add steamed milk, foam, or whipped cream (if desired).
The chocolate used cuts the acidity of the coffee, giving it a rich, chocolaty flavor. Some places also add actual hot chocolate to the drink. This indulgent beverage provides the perfect balance of silky chocolate, bitter coffee, and creamy milk if done right.
As the chocolate takes center stage here, the type of espresso you use does not matter – be it cold brew or freshly made hot espresso. Just use whatever’s convenient.
Mocha iced coffee is also a very popular variation of mocha. Follow the same steps of making a latte iced coffee, but use mocha’s ingredients, and you got yourself a mocha iced coffee! Top it with whipped cream to make it even sweeter.
One thing to be noted is that mocha coffee beans are not the same thing as the drink. Mocha coffee beans are grown in Mocha, Yemen. The drink mocha is a chocolate-based coffee.
Note – a mocha coffee is completely different from a moka pot.
Want a scoop of vanilla ice cream at an odd hour of the day? Just get affogato – the dessert coffee – instead, as you will get a delicious vanilla ice cream cup of coffee.
Italy loves to make specialty espresso-based drinks – and this is one too! Affogato means drowned in Italy – and the drink is made by drowning ice cream in coffee.
However, it might seem like more of a dessert than a drink to you – which is entirely normal. It is still added to the types of coffee list purely for the use of espresso.
Call it a drink or a dessert – you must try it when you’re in the mood for something sweet, cold, and caffeine-y but is not iced coffee.
To make affogato, take a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pour a shot of hot espresso – cold brew or freshly dripped – over the ice cream. That will create a melty liquid of ice and coffee that tastes as delightful as it sounds. Whipped cream is traditionally not added, but you can ask for some to boost the dessert factor.
A tip from me would be to try an affogato over a piece of brownie or cookie – you might be on a sugar high, but you won’t regret it. Some variations of affogato also call for a shot of liquor to make the dish more adult. Try whatever floats your boat.
12. Cold Drip
Till now, the different types of coffee have all utilized hot brewed coffee, which is the most common method to brew espresso. But for now, leave aside your hot water cup, as we will discuss cold methods of brewing coffee.
Cold drip is a brewing method that uses either cold or room temperature water. It requires a drip tower – an apparatus made for the cold drip method. Iced water slowly gets dropped on the coffee grounds, which absorb the water and drops it to a vessel of the drip tower.
This is a slow process, needing anywhere between 4 to 12 hours. The cold drip method preserves as much flavor of the coffee as possible, making it a more flavorful drink compared to hot brew.
Do not mistake this method for cold brew, which immerses ground coffee in cold or room temperature water for a long time (typically 1 day). The coffee then gets filtered and prepared for drinking. Cold-brew has more floral notes in flavor, while cold drip is rich and intense.
Serve cold drip over ice or add cold milk – and you’re ready. You may also want to consider preparing it with a coffee carafe.
Amongst all the Italian words in a typical menu of a coffee shop, the word cortado might confuse you. Are you wondering how the Spanish and Portuguese like their coffee? Look no further – cortado is a famous coffee in Portugal, Spain, Cuba, and Latin America.
Cortados are generally confused with macchiatos – but they are very different. Macchiatos use a slight dash of milk, while Cortados are full of warm milk. They are more comparable to flat white if you ask me.
To make a cortado, you have to mix equal amounts of warm milk and espresso. The milk used in a cortado is steamed and frothy but not overly foamy. In fact, it contains almost no foam.
The scalded milk cuts the acidity of the caffeine, balancing out the espresso. ‘Cortar’ means ‘to cut’ in Spanish, which is why the milk cutting the coffee’s acidity gave it this name.
This drink is typically served in a 4.5-ounce cup or glass. It is important to note that the milk used in this drink is not texturized in any way, which is popular in Italian coffees. However, the steamed milk may make it slightly thick.
The temperature is also rare in these coffee drinks; it is warm. If you are unsure about whether to have hot or iced coffee, try this instead.
14. Con Panna
Popularly called espresso Con Panna, this is yet another Italian twist on an espresso-based drink. The word Panna translates to cream in Italian, so expresso con Panna translates to coffee with cream. This is an old-fashioned way of drinking espresso.
In the USA, espresso con Panna is also known as Vienna coffee or café Vienne. The same drink gets the name café Viennois in the UK. In Vienna itself, this drink is called Franziskaner. All are the same drink, just called different phrases based on where you are located.
As I mentioned before, this is an old-fashioned drink. Nowadays, baristas put whipped cream on almost every drink, but this was the OG before that became a trend.
Making espresso con Panna is very simple. You will need a shot of espresso and heavy whipping cream. After the espresso is dripped in your cup, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. You can sweeten this cream with sugar or syrup if you wish to have a sweet drink. Once stiff peaks form, dollop it on top of the espresso.
For the most traditional version, use heavy whipping cream. Premade or low-fat whipped topping is discouraged.
15. Irish Coffee
If you are feeling frisky and looking to have some booze in your coffee, Irish coffee would be the perfect thing to order. This drink cannot be ordered during work breaks or lunch hours, but it can warm you up during cold winters. This is definitely more of a cocktail than a coffee.
If you were wondering, this coffee does not actually come from Ireland. In fact, no one knows where it really came from, as different historians have different reports on its origin.
You will find espresso, Irish Whiskey, fresh cream, and brown sugar in a traditional Irish coffee. However, nowadays, any coffee with Irish Whiskey added to it passes as Irish coffee.
To make it, mix a teaspoon of brown sugar with about 25 mL of Irish Whiskey until dissolved. Then, add in two shots of espresso and mix the liquids. Top the beverage off with whipped cream.
16. Café Au Lait
Throughout the article, I have gone through several types of coffee beverages that are somewhat complicated to make. For a change from all the elaborate drinks, I present to you this simple beverage hailing from France. The French like their coffee nice and simple, as it seems.
Making café au lait is simple; you just have to mix strong, robust coffee with warm or scalded milk in equal parts. The espresso used in this is French press coffee made with dark roasted beans.
French press coffee typically has a strong flavor, which gets added richness from the dark roast. The milk may be slightly creamy but not at all foamy, velvety, or frothy. As a result, café au lait is not very thick.
This drink is called café con leche in Spain, and milchkaffe in Germany. Despite the simple appearance, the dark rich flavors are enough to transport you to a street of Paris when you take a sip.
If you thought I have described to you every possible way of jazzing up a shot of espresso, think again.
Meet Breve, yet another drink that uses espresso and a dairy product. Breve translates to short in Italian, which means this drink is small in portion.
Breve utilizes half and half, which is a mixture of milk and cream. To make Breve, you need 1 espresso shot, 3 ounces of half and half, and milk foam. Steam the half and half and allow it to set. Then, pour it into your mug, but do not pour the foam.
Pour your espresso over the half and half, topping off with the foam. Some people like to add sugar or other types of sweetener to the drink, but the half and half itself makes it decadent enough to drink without any sweetener.
Caffe Breve is generally thicker and more decadent compared to latte because of the half and half. Steaming the half and half increases its volume, giving the beverage an ultra-smooth, foamy feel.
18. Kopi Luwak
This list of types of coffee would be incomplete without one or two Asian entries, as this continent is known for having rich cuisine all over it. The most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, comes from Indonesia. Kopi means coffee in Indonesian, and Luwak refers to Asian palm civets.
As far as coffees go, this is quite unconventional and is not for everyone. What makes Kopi Luwak unique is the beans. The coffee cherries get eaten by Asian palm civets, a catlike animal with face markings, a long tail, and a striped body. They originate from ancient wolves
The coffee cherries get partially digested inside the animal, and the enzyme changes the protein structure of these coffee beans. This change in structure removes the usual acidity of coffee.
Kopi Luwak beans sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, and each cup can cost you as much as 80 dollars to taste. This coffee is a tourist attraction in Indonesia, and the beans are mainly produced in this country.
This coffee is said to taste different, with a smother flavor due to the cut down in acidity. It also has a musty and earthy aroma to it. Partially digested coffee beans are not a new concept, but you have to be sure to get them from a safe place.
If the previous beverage is not something you want to try, try Turkish coffee instead. This coffee is unrivaled in fragrance, taste, and body – and it is a must-try for every coffee enthusiast. It gets its name from the unique preparation method of Turkey – but the beans are not grown in Turkey.
Turkish coffee is prepared using traditional Turkish methods that utilize a pot called a cezve. The method calls for a cezve and very finely ground coffee. While you usually would require filters for making coffee, the Turkish method requires no such thing.
Since the beans are not grown in Turkey, the kind you use is up to you. Commonly used beans are Arabica, Robusta, or a blend of both.
The coffee beans are ground exceptionally finely until they resemble cocoa powder. In Turkish coffee, the grounds are not filtered, instead, left inside the coffee.
This coffee is made by boiling sugar and water inside a cezve and then adding ground coffee inside. The sugar is optional. Once the coffee starts foaming, the cezve is removed from the heat, and the coffee is served. This coffee is one of the most flavorful coffees you will ever try – no doubt.
20. Nitro Coffee
Last but not least, this is perhaps a unique kind of coffee on my list. This unique beverage utilizes nitrogen to nitro cold brew coffee, which is creamy, almost like beer.
This is a new type of cold brew coffee that borrows the techniques of the beer industry. The nitrogen bubbles inside a nitro cold brew taste, unlike any other coffee you have tasted. It is dispensed through a tap, too, just like beer.
You will not find nitro coffee everywhere, as it is an entirely different kind of coffee to make. Trendy and hip coffee houses are more likely to have the taps. However, canned versions are also available in regular coffee shops.
With all 20 types of coffee explained, I hope you now have ideas about the ones you want to try next. While instant coffee has its place, it can never compare to a coffee shop experience. So, try a Kopi Luwak or an Irish coffee for a change, or the other kinds of coffee mentioned in the article.
Who knows, maybe you will find a new go-to beverage?
That would be all for today. Thanks for tuning in!