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A Beginner's Guide to Espresso Drinks

Dec 8

Espresso drinks are a special coffee drink which contains several shots of espresso, which are "pulled" from an espresso machine.

The most popular espresso drinks are the Cappuccino (Caffe Latte), Mocha (Caffe Mocha), but there are many other options and everybody has a personal favourite.

This is a list of the most well-known types of espresso drinks we've compiled for your convenience. You can choose from classic latte or the elegant macchiato, and even an espresso cocktail. Perhaps you're in need of to refresh the coffee drinks you drink types...but if you want to make them yourself go to the recipe for more information! These recipes are part of our Barista Series where we teach you how to make high-quality coffeehouse drinks at home. Are you ready to start drinking?


The primary ingredient in each drink below, let's begin by definining espresso. Espresso is the process of brewing coffee. It's a method to make coffee where a small amount of water that is near boiling is pushed through finely ground coffee, under pressure.

In preparation for brewing, coffee is finely ground into a portafilter basket and then tamped into an elongated "puck," and secured in the espresso maker. When the machine is engaged with water, it is delivered at a very stable temperature through a mechanical pump. In order to force the coffee through the machine, it utilizes 9 bars of pressure to fill the space above the espresso puck.

In essence, an exquisitely balanced shot espresso is meant to sip by itself. The flavor? The flavor? Along with being strong the espresso shot is expected to have a rich and balanced flavor profile beneath the shiny crema surface.


A latte is described as a coffee drink that includes espresso, steamed milk and a layer foam. It contains 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, with one thin layer of foam on top.

A latte needs to have an exact type of foam. The milk must have a texture that is almost like microfoam. It isn't easy to achieve that texture without the steamer. We'll show how you can achieve this using various tools you may have.


A Americano is an espresso drink made of hot espresso and hot water. It's also known as a Caffe Americano. It can be prepared using one or two shots espresso, as well as varying amounts of water. The robust espresso roast is diluted to make a drip coffee. This could be the origin of the name. While it's unclear which country the name originated from the term is believed by many to have been created during the 1970s. "Americano" is American in Italian or Spanish which refers to its strength being closer to the American-style drip coffee.

Does an Americano include milk? Never. A true Americano does not include milk like a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato. You can add milk if you like, but then it's not the real version of the drink.

Espresso Macchiato

Caffe macchiato, also known as espresso macchiato is a shot espresso, topped off with frothed milk. The word "macchiato" is the word that means "stained" in Italian which means that the dark espresso gets stained by the milk foam placed on top. According to some sources, the macchiato was invented as a method of drinking espresso late into the afternoon.

A latte macchiato, is, on the other hand is macchiato. A latte macchiato is made up of steamed milk colored with espresso.


A cappuccino is a drink made with steamed milk, milk foam and espresso. Although it's similar to a cafe latte (cafe-latte) the ratio of steamed milk in a cappuccino is different. Here's a breakdown of latte vs cappuccino:

A cappuccino contains equal amounts of espresso, steaming milk and foam ( 1/3 each).

1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam are the key ingredients of a Latte. This chart will assist you in understanding the concept!

The distinctions between these two drinks are subtle and the same goes for the taste.

According to the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, the institution that regulates espresso, the ideal cappuccino cup has an elliptical bottom, with thick walls and is made of porcelain. The bottom of the cup is made of thicker material to improve heat retention. The traditional color of the cup is bright white for aesthetic reasons. The best cappuccino cups, however, are made from either porcelain, or from double wall tempered glass.

Flat White

A flat white is a coffee drink with espresso, steamed milk and a layer foam over it. It's similar to a cappuccino and latte but is a bit thinner in foam on top. Modern coffee shops tend to blur the lines between the three different types of coffee drinks. The main differences between a flat white and latte vs cappuccino: are

Flat White is the least fluffy, and has about 1/4 inch of microfoam at the top. The steamed milk can be stretched between 20 and 25 percent.

Medium-frothy Latte, with 3/8 inches of microfoam over the top. The milk that is steamed is stretched 25-35%.

Cappuccino should be creamy, however, it should not be foamy. It should be topped with about half an inch of foam on top. The steamed milk, which is between 30-50 percent, is the most stretched of all three.

Mocha Latte

Mocha, or mocha latte also known as mocha is a mocha-like beverage that is made by steaming espresso milk. It is usually flavoured by chocolate syrup. Baristas can create a variety of variants of what constitutes mocha. The drink can be made with different levels of espresso shots, various amounts of steamed milk , and various amounts of chocolate syrup. Starbucks culture has seen mocha grow in popularity since the 1980s.

Red Eye Coffee

Red eye coffee is a coffee drink that blends drip coffee with one or two shots of espresso. The name could refer to the experience of taking the "red eye flight" an air traveler's flight that is overnight, which causes passengers to have tired red eyes.

The number of espresso shots used in the drink is determined by the name: Red Eye is one shot. Black Eye is two shots and Dead Eye or the Green Eye has three shots. If you are ordering at a coffeeshop, however, you can simply place an order for "red eye coffee" with the option to specify the number of espresso shots you prefer. Again, this coffee contains: drip coffee, as well as 2 or 3 espresso shots, based on the strength you'd like to have.