Types of Coffee

Have you ever entered a cafe with friends, and had no real clue as to what everything on the menu was?

When still walking through the doorway to the mythical land of coffee, almost everyone feels this sort of confusion.

Today’s goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible when it comes to the various coffee beverages.My grandad is still convinced that “there are only 2 types of coffee, black and white. He also thinks that the instant granulated stuff tastes just as good as that stuff they have the nerve to sell for a small fortune in those fancy coffee shops!”


Brewed Coffee: This is typically coffee brewed in a drip brewing machine. Not too fancy.

Espresso: The liquid gold that comes out of an espresso machine. It is a small amount of super concentrated and flavorful coffee. It is the base of a lot of coffee related beverages.

Doppio: This is two shots of espresso. Served in a demitasse, and is typically consumed by the more extreme coffee enthusiast.

Latte: A staple in cafes across the globe. They contain espresso shots, steamed milk, and a small dollop of foam on top. Lattes are also known for having flavors added, such as vanilla or hazelnut.

Cappuccino: Another extremely popular drink. A cappuccino is a drink composed of espresso shots, steamed milk and a ton of foam. Cappuccinos weigh almost nothing, and can really showcase the skills of a barista and their milk steaming abilities. The name was derived from the brown habits worn by the Capuchin monks.


Americano: Espresso shots diluted with hot or cold water. These drinks replicate brewed coffee in a way, and are usually loaded with flavor. There is a story that states that when American soldiers went into Europe during World War II, the espresso there was too strong, so they diluted it with water, thus, the Americano was born.

Flat White: This is a drink that originated in Australia. It is composed of a succulent sweet ristretto (or Cortissimo) shot, and steamed whole milk. No sugar is needed, as the drink is naturally as smooth as silk. Due to the contrast of milk and coffee a leaf or other shape or design is made as the milk is poured out.

Revolute: Originating in the UK and similar to a Flat white but much stronger with a higher caffeine hit. It is essentially a double Cortissimo shot with either two shots, one short then one long or a short and long extraction of a large 20g shot. Micro Foamed milk is poured in blending with the Coffee leaving a spiral shape on the top.

Iced Coffee: This is brewed coffee that was made hot, and then chilled with ice. Great for watching the sun set on those hot summer nights.

Cold Brew: Coffee made using room temperature or chilled water, and is far less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee. It is usually strong in nature, so adding ice will not dilute it. It will also contain less caffeine.

Chai Latte: Chai is a sort of black tea, that has a plethora of spices added, such as cinnamon, clove, and other mulling spices. Often made from a syrup and contains lots of sugar. It is sold in many coffee shops, but is not a coffee at all so it shouldn’t really be on this page but people keep asking!

Cortado: This is slightly like a latte, but with a lot less steamed milk. Usually only enough to change the color a few shades.

Espresso Con Panna: Usually two espresso shots, topped with a bit of whip cream. The sweetness of the whip cream pairs quite well with the hot and strong espresso.

Irish coffee: A shot of espresso, and whisky with a generous amount of sugar (usually brown) topped off with thick cream. (in some areas the cream is whipped but that is not the original recipe)

Macchiato: Espresso shots topped off with a dab of steamed milk.

Caramel Macchiato: Espresso shots topped off with a dab of steamed milk and a lattice of caramel sauce on top.

Mocha: Similar to a latte, but with the addition of chocolate sauce. Meant for those with a sweet tooth, these whip cream topped beauties are sure to please the chocolate lover in you.

Cafe Cubano: Espresso shots, typically from a moka pot, that are whisked intensely with cane sugar. If the sugar and shots are mixed properly, a layer of foam will appear on top.

Espresso Romano: A shot of espresso served with a slice of lemon.

Bon Bon: A shot of Espresso over a layer of sweetened condensed milk (Dulce de leche) 80% Espresso 20% milk. An ideal afternoon drink, smooth sweet and providing a nice coffee hit. Stir it before drinking, although it is served as a separated layer.

There are also additional options to ask for.

Skinny – low fat skimmed milk. Soya – a sweet milk made from Soya beans. Double – Extra shots of espresso for a stronger flavour. Lungo – generally a longer espresso extraction that will contain more coffee.

This is but a simple list of but a few drinks you might find in your local coffee house. All of them are worth trying at least once.

Hopefully now you can march into the nearest cafe, and confidently order a flat white with a grin, knowing you will be about to enjoy a wonderful beverage.