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A Beginner's Guide to Espresso Drinks

Dec 14

Espresso drinks are specialty coffee drinks that comprise one or more espresso shots "pulled" out of an espresso maker.

The most popular espresso drinks are Cappuccino (Caffe Latte), Mocha (Caffe Mocha), however there are many more and everyone seems to have their own personal favorite.

We've created a list that includes some of the most loved kinds of espresso drinks. There are a variety of options to choose from, such as the traditional latte or the exquisite macchiato, and even the espresso cocktail. You may have to refresh your knowledge about different coffee drink varieties. If you're planning to make these at home then click on the recipe for more. The recipes form part of our Barista Series where we teach you how to prepare coffeehouse-quality drinks at home. Are you ready to begin drinking?


Let's start by introducing espresso, the principal ingredient in all drinks below. The first and most important thing to understand is that Espresso is a coffee brewing method. This is a method of making coffee with a tiny amount (or near boiling) of water, and the finely ground coffee that is pressured.

Coffee is ground to a fine powder and then made into the shape of a "puck" prior to being placed into the espresso machine. When the machine is engaged with water, it is delivered with a high stability temperature via a pump. To force the coffee through the espresso machine, it employs 9 bars pressure to fill the space above the espresso puck.

At its heart, a perfectly balanced shot of espresso is meant to sip in a single sip. What is the flavor? The taste? Espresso shots should not only be strong , but should also have a balanced taste and a distinct flavor profile beneath the shiny crema.


A latte could be described as a cup of coffee that contains espresso, steamed milk, and a layer foam. The latte contains 1/3 espresso and 1/3 steam milk. It also has a thin layer foam on the top.

One thing you should be aware of about one of the most popular latte drinks is the kind of foam that you're hoping to achieve. It is important for the milk to reach an almost "wet-paint" kind of texture, which baristas refers to as microfoam. It isn't easy to achieve that texture without the steamer. We'll show how to do this with the various tools you have.


A Americano is an espresso drink made using hot espresso and water, sometimes referred to as a Caffe Americano. You can make the drink with just one or two shots espresso, and various ratios of water. The robust espresso roast is blended to produce drip coffee. This could be the cause of the name. The precise origin of the term is not clear and is believed to have come into existence in the 1970's. The coffee's strength is closer to that of American-style drip coffees.

Does an Americano include milk? Never. A true Americano does not include milk like a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato. It is possible to add milk if it's your preference but it's not the real version of the drink.

Espresso Macchiato

Caffe macchiato, also known as espresso macchiato is an espresso shot made of espresso topped with frothed milk. The word "macchiato" means "stained" in Italian which means that the dark espresso gets colored by the milk foam that is placed on the top. There are some reports that the macchiato was invented as a method of drinking espresso until the end of the day.

A latte macchiato however, is macchiato. A latte macchiato comprises steaming milk that has been stained with espresso.


Cappuccino is an espresso beverage that includes milk foam that has been steamed, milk, and espresso. It's similar to a latte (cafe latte) but the amount of steamed milk is different. Here's the breakdown of cappuccino vs latte:

Cappuccino is prepared using equal amounts of espresso, steaming milk, and foam ( 1/3 each).

A latte is made up of 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, with a thin layer of foam over it. This chart breaks it down!

The differences between these drinks are subtle and so is the flavor.

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

Flat whites are drinks made of coffee consisting of espresso, steamed milk and a layer of foam. It's like a cappuccino or latte, however it is a bit thinner in foam on top. Modern coffee shops often blur the lines between the three different types of drinks. The main differences between flat white and latte are

Flat White is the least frothy, with about 1/4 inch microfoam at the top. The steamed milk is stretched between 20 and 25 percent.

Medium-frothy Latte, with 3/8 inch of microfoam over the top. The milk that has been steamed is stretched 25-35percent.

Cappuccino is creamy but not foamy. It's got about an inch of microfoam in the its top. The milk that is steamed of 30 to 50%, is the most stretched of the three.

Mocha Latte

Mocha or mocha latte, also known as mocha is a mocha-like drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It is usually flavoured with chocolate syrup. The barista can make many variations on what constitutes mocha. Mochas can be created with varying amounts of espresso shots, a variety of steamed milk and amounts of chocolate syrup. Starbucks culture has seen mocha grow in popularity in the late 1980s.

Red Eye Coffee

Red eye coffee is a combination of drip coffee as well as two or three shots of espresso. The name could refer to having the "red eye flight" an airline flight that's overnight, which causes passengers to be tired and have red eyes.

There are a few variations on the name of this drink that are referring to the number of espresso shots: red eye is one shot Black eye is two shots as well as dead eye, which is green eye has 3 shots. If you buy it from an espresso shop it is possible to make a purchase of "red eye coffee" with the option of specifying the number of espresso shots you want. This coffee consists of drip coffee, one to three espresso shots, based on the strength you want.