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7 types of coffee drinks

Posted by Gaynor Birkhead on

7 types of coffee drinks. Here's a look at seven of the more popular coffee drinks available at most discriminating coffee houses, and how to best enjoy them.


Espresso is a strong black coffee made by forcing steam through dark-roast aromatic coffee beans at high pressure in an espresso machine. A perfectly brewed espresso will have a thick, golden-brown crema (foam) on the surface. If the crema is good, the sugar you add will float on the surface for a couple of seconds before slowly sinking to the bottom.

Espresso is the foundation for a wide variety of speciality coffee drinks, such as the cappuccino, but many aficionados and purists insist that adding anything (besides a bit of sugar) is blasphemy, akin to Scotch lovers mixing their single malt with Coke.

How to have it: Espresso should be taken either on its own or with a small teaspoon of sugar. Having it "short" means that it has less water and is therefore more concentrated, and "long" conversely uses more water and does not taste as strong.

Give it a twist: Adding a dollop of steamed milk creates an espresso macchiato ("macchiato" means stained or marked). Topping an espresso with whipped cream makes it an espresso con panna. Espresso corretto(which translates to "corrected") is made by adding a splash of grappa, cognac or sambuca.


This hugely popular coffee drink has become a staple that even the most common of corner coffee shops carries (or at least a version of it). A true cappuccino is a combination of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk froth. This luxurious drink, if made properly, can double as a dessert with its complex flavors and richness.

How to have it: It is common to sprinkle your cappuccino froth with a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate.

Give it a twist: Asking for your cap "scuro" (dark) means you want less milk than usual, while "chiaro" (light) means you want more. Iced cappuccino makes a great summer drink, and a "skinny" cappuccino is made with skim or nonfat milk.


An Americano is a single shot of espresso added to a cup of hot water. The name is thought to have originated as a bit of an insult to Americans, who had to dilute their espresso when it first gained popularity on this side of the pond. Many coffee houses have perfected it, however, and the result has become a creamy, rich espresso-based coffee that you can sip and savour before jumping on your Vespa and heading to the soccer field.

How to have it: Many like to drink it as they would their regular brewed coffee, with milk and/or sugar, but connoisseurs suggest keeping milk to a minimum to get the most flavour from the espresso.

Give it a twist: Americano is not commonly taken with a twist, but having it "iced" is a great treat on a hot day.

Caffe Latte

A caffe latte is a single shot of espresso to three parts of steamed milk.

How to have it: Sugar your latte to taste and discover the wonderful world of dipping. Cookies, sponge-type cake slices and even fresh Italian bread can transform your coffee into a breakfast that even my nonna(grandmother) would approve of.

Give it a twist: Not commonly taken with a twist.

Caf au Lait

This traditional French drink is similar to a caffe latte except that it is made with brewed coffee instead of espresso, in a 1:1 ratio with steamed milk. It is considered a weaker form of caffe latte.

How to have it: Sugar to taste, and it is also great for dipping.

Give it a twist: Not commonly taken with a twist.

Caf Mocha (Mochachino)

This is a cappuccino or a caffe latte with chocolate syrup or powder added. There can be wide variations in exactly how this is prepared, so ask your coffee house how they do it before you order.

How to have it: Like your "cap," you can top it with cocoa powder or grated chocolate.

Give it a twist: Garnish with whipped cream.

Caramel Macchiato

This is another variation that is prepared in a number of ways by different coffee houses. The most common method is combining espresso, caramel and foamed milk, though some use steamed milk. Often, vanilla is added to provide extra flavor.

How to have it: You can add sugar, but taste it first, as it may be sweet enough as is.

Give it a twist: Drizzled with caramel sauce, of course. This highly addictive drink needs nothing else to make it a heavenly java experience.

drink up

Instead of standing in line or waiting at a drive-through for a production-line brewed coffee a la "double-double" variety, why not treat yourself to a more enriching and luxurious coffee experience? Get real fresh roasted beans from us.

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