It happens to the best of us. Your plan is to order a trendy drink at the cafe and relax, but instead, you find yourself grappling with the pronunciation of “macchiato” and working up a sweat in front of the cute barista.
Save your money (and embarrassment). Our guide on different types of coffee drinks will inspire you to skip the cafe and brew your cup just the way you like it, right at home!
- 1 A Quick Note On Making Coffee at Home
- 2 Types of Hot Coffee Drinks
- 3 Types of Espresso Drinks
- 4 Types of Espresso Milk Drinks
- 5 Coffee & Espresso Mixed Drinks
- 6 Specialty Coffee & Espresso Drinks
- 7 Types of Cold Coffee Drinks
- 8 Final Thoughts: Types of Coffee Drinks
A Quick Note On Making Coffee at Home
The good news is that at home, brewing is not as difficult as you may think. In fact, learning every aspect of the process, from how to roast green coffee beans to pulling your own espresso shot, gives you total freedom to enjoy the freshest coffee on your terms– and the drink possibilities are endless!.
In this post, we cover 5 categories of coffee and espresso drinks to get your caffeine creativity flowing:
- Hot coffee drinks
- Espresso drinks
- Coffee & espresso mixed drinks
- Specialty coffee & espresso drinks
- Cold coffee drinks
Ready to brew? Let’s dive in!
Types of Hot Coffee Drinks
Feeling more informed about the world of coffee? Now that you know about the beans and the machines that brew them, it’s time to look at the varieties of coffee drinks you can make at home.
Black coffee or Cafe Noir is coffee in its simplest form. After the ground coffee is steeped in water, the remaining black liquid is consumed without any milk or sweeteners.
Cafe au Lait
Some coffee drinkers may ponder how the cafe au lait is different from a cafe latte. The answer? It’s all about the coffee.
While cafe latte uses espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam, cafe au lait uses brewed coffee, steamed milk, and no foam. It’s also served in a small cup as opposed to a glass.
Turkish coffee is brewed using finely ground coffee and sugar. The ingredients are boiled together, resulting in a frothy sweet drink.
Vietnamese Coffee (Cà phê sữa nóng)
Popular in Vietnam, dark coffee is pressed in a Vietnamese coffee press (much like the French Press) into a small glass with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom. You then mix the milk and coffee together for a sweet, chocolatey treat.
Cà phê sữa đá is the iced version of this popular milk coffee.
Types of Espresso Drinks
The humble espresso shot is the base of several types of Italian coffee drinks. It is brewed with pressurized water and pulled through tightly tamped ground coffee.
You can opt for a double espresso (also called a doppio), which is simply two espresso shots.
The Americano looks like black coffee, except it’s made by adding hot water to an espresso shot to get a full cup.
The long black originated in New Zealand and is actually similar to the Americano, except it has a thicker crema.
A Lungo is an Italian coffee drink that adds water to an espresso shot to fill a “long” glass. Think of it as a less concentrated espresso.
Ristretto is also called a “short shot” of espresso, consisting of a concentrated espresso shot with the same amount of coffee typically used for espresso but half the amount of water.
The ristretto flavor profile is more intense than espresso but with sweeter notes.
Types of Espresso Milk Drinks
Latte is shortened from Cafe Latte, which is one-third espresso and two-thirds hot milk. Typically this luscious drink is topped with velvety milk foam and sprinkled with cocoa powder or cinnamon.
This Italian drink is one-third espresso, one-third hot milk, and one-third milk foam. You can also order it “dry” without as much milk.
The cortado is equal parts steamed milk and espresso, reducing the amount of acidity in the beverage. You won’t find any textured foam on a cortado, like with most coffee drinks.
The word“macchiato” means “stained” in Italian because of the little spot of foamed milk that “stains” the rich brown espresso shot that creates up this classic drink.
This drink uses only a dash of milk with a double shot of espresso, leaving half of the glass empty.
The latte macchiato is more common in the US at chain cafes like Starbucks. It’s made with one or two shots of espresso combined with one-third or half a cup of steamed milk.
If hot chocolate and espresso had a baby, it would be the Mocha! This yummy beverage is a latte that has been sweetened with cocoa powder or chocolate syrup.
Similar to a latte, a Galao is a Portuguese specialty that is served in a tall glass. It is made with one-third espresso, and two-thirds foamed milk.
Take two shots of ristretto, add a thin silky microfoam, and you’ve got yourself a flat white.
While some may consider this to be a latte, it’s actually smaller in volume, with more espresso than microfoam compared to a latte.
The Breve is the Americanized version of a cappuccino, but instead of using steamed milk, half-and-half is steamed instead to produce a thick, creamy foam with espresso.
Coffee & Espresso Mixed Drinks
Need to study for a big test? Get that extra energy boost by topping your cup of coffee with an espresso shot.
The black eye will put a tingle in your spine, consisting of a cup of black coffee with two shots of espresso.
The dripped eye will help you get stuff done and complete a marathon in a day. You take a cup of black coffee and add three shots of espresso.
This drink cuts back on the caffeine buzz by adding a shot of espresso to a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
Specialty Coffee & Espresso Drinks
Decadent and indulgent, Vienna coffee is made with two shots of strong espresso swirled with whipped cream until the cup is full.
There’s no need for milk and sugar because of the sweet whipped cream. You can even sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top.
This dessert drink mixes black coffee with whisky and Bailey’s Irish Cream. You can get crazy and top it with a dollop of whipped cream.
This isn’t a coffee drink per se, but more of a genius dessert hack if you love coffee. Simply brew an espresso shot and pour it over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Cap Phe Trung
This Vietnamese delicacy is rich, decadent, and truly unique. It’s made by beating an egg yolk with condensed milk until it forms fluffy peaks, like a soft meringue. Then it’s poured on top of the espresso.
Eggy coffee? How did it come to be? During the Vietnam war, milk was in low supply, so one man’s quick thinking led to an egg being used as a replacement to create this extravagant beverage. It is now found at cafes throughout the country.
This drink doesn’t taste like traditional coffee whatsoever, as the beans are not roasted – they’re raw. You brew them by boiling the green beans in hot water, resulting in a lighter, tea-like beverage.
Types of Cold Coffee Drinks
Iced coffee is made by pouring brewed black coffee over ice. This is a more watered-down coffee drink with less of a kick.
This is the coffee specialty drink of Starbucks, consisting of coffee blended with milk or cream and ice. It’s essentially like a coffee milkshake and usually includes sugar, flavored syrups, whipped cream, or sprinkles.
Cold brew is made by pouring coffee grounds into a container of water, then letting it sit and steep for several hours.
Once it has finished steeping, strain the coffee with a sieve, and you have a strong, chilled beverage with flavor that isn’t watered down like with iced coffee.
This is the best way to enjoy your espresso chilled on a hot day. There are a few ways to chill it without watering it down too much. After brewing the espresso, store it in the fridge until it has cooled down, or mix it with cold milk and then pour it over ice.
This is a new, trendy coffee drink that mixes cold brew with nitrogen. It’s dispensed out of a tap like draft beer. The result is a smooth chilled beverage with a hint of bubbly carbonation.
This traditional Algerian coffee drink is touted as the original iced coffee, consisting of black coffee, ice, lemon, sweetener, and sometimes rum.
Final Thoughts: Types of Coffee Drinks
Coffee is prepared in a multitude of ways all over the world. The complexity of flavor is a sensory delight that is deeply ingrained in many cultures as a way to enjoy life and awaken the spirit.
When it comes to brewing different types of coffee drinks at home, part of the adventure is experimenting with tastes and discovering what makes each beverage special and unique.
You’ve got quite a menu to work through- at least now you can order your coffee with confidence and know exactly what you’re getting!
References & Resources:
- 20 Types of Coffee Drinks in the World (Hot and Cold), Unhappy Hipsters.
- Coffee Drinks, Fandom.
- Different Drinks, coffee&health.
- The Many Cups of Joe: An Easy Guide to Different Types of Coffee, Lifestyle Asia.
- Taste of Coffee, Medindi.