Guide to the Types of Coffee

Different types of Coffee

Espresso — Coffee beans extracted under pressure with steam

Americano — Espresso and hot water

Latte — Espresso with steamed milk

Cappuccino — Espresso with a mixture of steamed and foamed milk

Caramel Macchiato — Vanilla, steamed milk and espresso, drizzled with caramel

Frappuccino — Sweetened coffee blended with ice

Mocha — Espresso and chocolate syrup or chunks with steamed milk and whipped cream

Chai — Steamed milk with tea and spices

Wet — 1/2 foam, 1/2 steamed milk

Dry — Just the foam

Skinny — Uses skim milk

Drip Coffee & Espresso

The drip or strained coffee contains hot water and coffee and it becomes espresso when a coffee maker mixes hot water with fined powered coffee beans with pressure. This makes a unique coffee beverage which is a bit thicker and richer in taste than basic coffee. You can add cream or milk if you don’t like the electrifying taste of black coffee.

How to Identify: Espresso can easily be identified for its brown foamy creamy look.


Cappuccino is a popular type of beverage and you will find it in almost all coffee shops. It contains hot water, milk and coffee and an espresso machine is used to create foam on the top but some baristas (one who serves hot or cold drinks) add some liquid milk on top to create coffee art.

How to Identify: It has a rich taste of milk, has foam on top or sometime liquid milk and is very similar to drip coffee but white brownish in color.

Latte Macchiato

Latte macchiato is a coffee beverage which is made by staining milk with coffee which is literally the meaning of the French word ‘latte macchiato’. It is basically liquid milk with foamed milk on top made using a machine. It also contains a small amount of coffee which is added using a straw or as barista likes.

Latte macchiato is usually served in a beer like mug so that the stained milk is visible, with a straw to drink the liquid milk at the bottom.

How to Identify: It is served in a tall beer like mug with liquid milk in the bottom with foamy milk on top stained in brown.

Caffè Latte

Caffè latte is actually the opposite of the latte macchiato in the way that in caffè latte the milk is added to espresso. It is usually served in large mouth coffee mugs because the milk is on top and many coffee shops greet their customers with some beautiful coffee art work.

How to Identify: The main ingredient is espresso with milk poured on top in foamy or creamy form and you may find some coffee art work.

Caffè Americano or Long Black

Caffè americano is a less popular type of coffee recipe because of its strong taste and look. It is usually served without the addition of milk or cream and is prepared by mixing hot water and espresso. It is made by adding espresso on top of hot water which makes a unique blend and you must try it atleast once to see if you likes it.

How to Identify: It contains hot water and espresso and has black color with some brown reddish foamy bubbles on top.

Caffe Shakerato

You might be surprised to learn that Caffe shakerato is actually a cold drink rather than a hot beverage. It is made by mixing or shaking ice cubes, vanilla liqueur or flavor and some espresso together in a mixing can or a blender.

If it is hot out there and you still want some coffee then caffe shakerato is the beverage to try and it takes less than five minutes to prepare.

How to Identify: It is cold or of room temperature and it has ice and espresso.

Guide to Types of Coffee

When a new customer walks into a coffee shop with a puzzled look while browsing the menu, baristas (or coffee shop bartenders) are prepared to give a brief lesson.

“We try to head them off before they order if we haven’t seen them before,” says Nicole Millard, operations manager and espresso trainer at Java House, 211 1/2 E. Washington St.

If not familiar with coffee shop lingo, new customers might assume a cappuccino or latte is similar to those sugary coffee drinks that come out of a machine at a convenience store.

Most convenience store cappuccino machines use a powdered mix and water which is whipped to create a foamy drink. A flavored liquid syrup is injected into each drink.

But a “real” cappuccino or latte doesn’t have any sugar flavoring or, for that matter, much water besides steam.

In their purest form, cappuccinos and lattes are shots of espresso with steamed milk and foam. No chocolate, no caramel, no whipped cream.

Espresso is shot of concentrated coffee created by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee. Unlike coffee dripped-brewed through a filter, which takes several minutes, espresso brewing takes about 25 to 30 seconds.

“It is a shot of pure coffee,” says Julie Lammers, co-owner of Coffeesmiths. “It is the finest and freshest coffee you can offer.”

Many baristas, such as those as Java House, grind the beans and hand tamp the coffee grounds of each espresso they make.

The consistency of tamped grounds is important, Millard says.

“Tamping compresses the grounds of espresso evenly so no pockets of air get through,” she says.

Properly brewed, an espresso will have a layer of light reddish brown cream — crema — on its surface.

Crema, the frothy part of espresso, contains the bulk of the coffee’s natural sugars and oils. While mixing in the steamed milk for a cappuccino or latte, it is important to not break up the crema, Millard says.

So, if they both contain espresso and steamed milk, what is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

Size, for one thing, Millard says.

Typically, a cappucinno is smaller than a latte and has less milk per espresso. At Java House, a cappuccino is 6 ounces and a latte is 16 ounces. Like a latte, only much more foam; normally half milk half foam

Cappuccinos are usually served straight up — without any flavoring. Lattes can be ordered straight up or with flavoring.

“If somebody wants something with a flavor, they want a latte,” Millard says.

While espresso is coffee in its purest form, specialty coffee drinks can add up in caloriesdepending on type of milk or syrup in them, Lammers says.

Calories can be cut here and there. For example, a “skinny” uses skim milk. Sugar-free syrups can also be used.

Each customer has their own tastes, whether it be a straight espresso shot or super sweet latte.

“It’s really about what you prefer,” Lammers says.

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