Back in the olden days, when you had to get up from the sofa to change the TV channel, coffee was simple. There was regular and decaf. End of story.
Once espresso burst onto the scene, it introduced a whole new variety of coffee drinks, many with fancy-sounding Italian names. Even the most loyal java lovers have felt intimidated at some point by the menu offerings at their local coffee shop.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common espresso drinks and what makes them unique.
An Americano is relatively simple; it’s espresso mixed with hot water. The bold espresso flavor mellows with the addition of the water, making this a popular choice for those who want a slightly scaled-back espresso experience.
The difference in many espresso drinks boils down to ratios. A cappuccino includes espresso, steamed milk, and extra frothed milk. The froth is thicker than that found on a latte. “Wet” cappuccinos have less froth and more liquid. “Dry” indicates more froth and less liquid, which is considered to be a more authentic representation.
We’re back to the ratios; a latte consists of espresso, extra steamed milk, and a bit of lightly frothed milk. Baristas use that microfoam to create the latte art that wows coffee drinkers.
Much like a latte, the flat white contains espresso and microfoam, but it’s a smaller-sized drink (about 5 ounces vs. about 8 ounces). It’s the same double-shot of espresso with less milk, so the ratio of coffee to milk is higher.
Add chocolate flavoring (such as a syrup or ganache) to a latte, and voilá: you have a mocha.
In Italian, “macchiato” means “stained.” The drink earned its name because it’s an espresso with just a bit of thick milk foam “staining” the top. Classic drinks like the Caramel Macchiato are actually flavored lattes.
Named after the Italian term for “double,” the doppio is a double-shot of espresso often served with a glass of water. The pure nature of this beverage allows the drinker to appreciate the espresso’s complex flavor profile. Many consider this to be the most genuine way to experience espresso.
So many ways to experience the same beverage!
Now that you have a better understanding of espresso and all of its varieties, you might want to help the slightly confused-looking person in line behind you at the coffee shop.
We’ve all been there.
To view the different espresso drinks we provide, check out our Instagram feed!