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An Essential Guide to Different Types of Coffee Drinks

Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and talked to a barista only to find out that you don’t know exactly what to order? If you’re a die-hard coffee fan, this probably seems silly to you but if you’re a coffee newbie or you just drink coffee casually, then you may find this Coffee Drinks Cheat Sheet helpful.

We get you. Coffee drinks are confusing; more so nowadays that specialty coffees have emerged and people can easily come up with just about any flavor they can think of.

So before you get confused even more, here are the basics. For starters, get to know these espresso-based drinks.


Espresso-based drinks are simply coffees that have three common ingredients: espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The drinks differ with the proportions or amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

Let’s get started.

1. Espresso

Includes: One shot of espresso in an espresso cup. It’s made of finely-ground coffee which is brewed rapidly with highly-pressurized water.

Also called “short black”, espresso is the most essential part of an espresso-based drink. You can say that it serves as the foundation of every coffee drink.


2. Double Espresso

Includes: Two shots of espresso in an espresso cup.

Also called “doppio”, double espresso is really just that – literally double shots or two shots of espresso.

3. Cafe Latte

Includes: One shot of espresso, add steamed milk, and 1 cm of thin foam on top of the steamed milk

Compared to espresso, cafe latte is sweeter because of the steamed milk.

cafe latte

4. Cafe Au Lait

Includes: Two-thirds (2/3) drip or brewed coffee with one-third (1/3) steamed milk

5. Americano

Includes: Two-thirds (2/3) hot water and one-third (1/3) espresso

Just fill the cup with hot water then extract espresso on top of the hot water.

cafe americano

6. Cappuccino

Includes: One shot of espresso, add steamed milk, add 2-3 cm of micro-foam on top of steamed milk, add chocolate on top of the coffee

Cappuccino looks like latte but it has more foam than latte and has chocolate on top.


7. Flat White

 Includes: One shot of espresso, add steamed milk, no micro-foam

8. Mocha

Includes: One shot of espresso, add one spoon of chocolate powder, add steamed milk, add 2-3 cm of micro-foam, add chocolate powder on top

You can think of mocha as a mix of hot chocolate and cappuccino.


9. Macchiato

Two-thirds (2/3) espresso, one-third (1/3) steamed milk, thick foam placed on top of espresso

Short macchiato – only one shot of espresso

Long macchiato – with double shot of espresso

10. Affogato

Includes: One scoop of vanilla ice cream, add a single or double shot of espresso over the vanilla ice cream

Affogato is more of a coffee dessert than a drink but it’s an awesome treat during a hot summer day or even just after dinner.


Other than the ten mentioned above, here are some drinks that are also worth noting.

1. Ristretto

One standard espresso shot with half the amount of water

2. Cold Brew

Coarsely-ground coffee with room temperature water, brewed for a long period of time

3. Frappuccino

Ice-blended beverages with different flavors

4. Con Panne

Espresso with whipped cream

5. Cortado

One-half (1/2) espresso, add one-half (1/2) steamed milk, add very thin foam

5. Irish Coffee

A coffee cocktail with Irish whiskey, fresh cream, and brown sugar

6. Red Eye

A cup of drip coffee with a shot of espresso

7. Piccolo Latte

One shot of espresso or ristretto, add steamed milk, and a small amount of micro-foam.

Piccolo latte is latte in an espresso cup. The espresso taste is strong but a bit mellowed down because of the steamed milk and micro-foam.

8. Drip Coffee

Ground coffee with drip coffee-maker

Familiarizing one or two favorites will surely make ordering coffee a breeze for you! You can even try each one if you like (but not all at once of course) so that you will know what you love best. The next time you order coffee, at least you know what to expect.

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