Have you thought about expanding your coffee horizons and trying new types of coffee, whether it’s beans or brews? That’s great. But do you know how many options are out there?
Even I didn’t realize exactly how many different types of coffee drinks are out there.
The fact is there are many different types of coffee drinks out there just waiting to be enjoyed by you.
Let’s take a look at every type of coffee that exists so you have access to a convenient list when are you are ready to try something new.
Different Types of Coffee Beans
There are many different types of coffee species, not unlike the different species of other fruits out there. Still, most of the beans produced and used can be divided into two main species: Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica beans account for a majority of the coffee produced and sold in the world today. And, the account for about 60% of the world’s coffee consumption. They’re generally considered to be of a higher quality than the other bean types and are grown predominantly in Latin America.
Robusta beans, on the other hand, are a much stronger and bitter bean that is produced and used in many types of espressos and even for those that prefer a really strong coffee. They tend to have around double the caffeine content of Arabica beans.
Two less common types are Liberica and Excelsa, which are rarely seen, especially in the United States. The former is grown exclusively in the Phillipines and is not imported at all into the States. On the other hand, the latter (which is often considered a genus of Liberica beans) only makes up about 7% of the world’s consumption and are grown in Southeast Asia.
For those of you who want a little extra info on each of these, read on:
Starting with a fan favorite among coffee connoisseurs, estimates for Arabica’s prevalence in the world production range from 60 to 75 percent. These plants are occasionally referred to as the mountain varieties because they are grown at higher altitudes with ample shade and steady rainfall.
Overall, this is the most “delicate” or least hardy of the different types. That means that growing it in the wrong environment could severely and negatively the success of the crop. Also, they are more susceptible to diseases. (We mean plant diseases, not the flu)
While there is obviously a high amount of variation among different localities, Arabica beans tend to have brighter bodies. Also, they usually have with more complex flavor profiles and aromas, which is why they tend to be more popular among serious coffee drinkers.
These beans are showcased best by hot brewing, especially manual techniques like pour over. However, their depth and complexity can get overshadowed or diluted if you go for creamers and sugars or cold brewing methods.
Next, the other very common type of coffee bean is Robusta. Rather than gaining its popularity through quality and depth of the brew, these plants are popular for for their high caffeine level and hardiness.
While they do thrive in hotter climates and varied rainfall, Robusta beans are known for being able to put up with a much wider range of climates and altitudes. Also, they withstand diseases much better than other varieties. That resistance makes them better for growing in large crops.
Higher quality robust tends to have a lower acidity and heavy body. These brews stand up better against things like cream and sugar, making them great for something like Vietnamese Coffee. And it works well in blends like Death Wish that are specifically curated for their caffeine kick.
Liberica and Excelsa
Excelsa is actually a sub variety of Liberica; however, the two types have very different profiles, so many people still consider them two completely different types.
Liberica beans peaked in popularity in the 1890s when coffee rust destroyed 90% of the world’s Arabica crops. The Philippines were the first to start any kind of serious production and thus became a major supplier.
These beans were (and are when you can find them) known for having a distinct, woody or smoky flavor with a full body and floral or fruity aroma.
However, after the Philippines declared independence, trade between there and the United States was cut off. So by the time a crop of Liberica could be reestablished, Arabica had already reclaimed the top spot for coffee production. It has remained that way since then.
On the other hand, the tart and fruity Excelsa bean type is a bit easier to find. It grows on massive 20 to 30 foot coffee trees (as opposed to the max 6 ft trees that Arabica grows on). These beans are mostly used to add an extra layer of complexity and depth to coffee blends, rather than being sold on their own.
Their light-roast-esque flavors stay true even with slightly darker roasts which is why some people do still seek them out.
Varieties and Varietals Explained
First off, let’s dispel some confusion about these terms. If you’ve been dabbling in the coffee community for awhile, you’ve likely come across them before but might not know exactly what they are referring to.
A coffee’s “variety” is a classification term that identifies a specific subspecies or genetic makeup of the coffee plant. The term “varietal” is used for the resulting brew or product that comes from a singular variety of coffee. Among coffee varieties there are original (naturally occurring) varieties, Sub-varieties, mutations, interspecific hybrids, and infraspecific hybrids.
If you’re into botany, going further will likely be pretty interesting, but it may just seem like a bunch of nonsense to other people. So know that you don’t really need to be familiar with every single variety to buy good coffee.
They mainly differ in growing potential and requirements as well as look (bean and leaf shape), which is more important to farmers than it is to you. The quality of the brand you’re buying from should indicate how well they work with the variety they’re growing.
But for those of you who are interested, let’s look at some of the more well-known varieties (these all technically fall under the Arabica family tree):
Typica is your “typical” Arabica. It’s a variety that encompasses a number of the most popular and most sought after regional coffees including Kona, Java, Jamaican Blue Mountain, and more. This variety started in Yemen before being spread far and wide through trade. It first made it to Malabar India and Indonesia before eventually reaching the West Indies.
Some subvarieties of Typica include Sumatra, Bergendal, Rume Sudan, Amarello de Botancatú, Blawan Paumah, and Java Mocha. Also, there are a number of Typica mutations, including Mokka*, Pluma Hidalgo, Creole, Ethiopian Harrar, Blue Mountain, Villa Sarchi, Ethiopian Sidamo, Ethiopian Yiragacheffe, San Ramón, and Sidikalang (just to name a few).
*Not to be confused with the Mocha drink, which the original chocolatey flavor of these Yemeni beans inspired.
Bourbon is probably one of the most common sub varieties of Typica. It got its start in the early 1700s when the French brought an Arabica Typica plat to the island of Bourbon (now Réunion). A slight mutation occurred and the variety eventually spread across Central and South America. These plants are popular because they produce more coffee cherries than other Typica varieties.
Sub-varieties of Bourbon include French Mission, N39, Mayaguez, Arusha, Jackson, K20, Kenya Selected, and SL35 ; and Pointu, Semperlorens, Caturra, SL34, Tekic, and Pacas are mutations from this variety.
This is an original variety of Arabica. It is named for the Ethiopian village that it originated from and wasn’t actually planted/harvested commercialy until the 1950s. It is resistant to coffee rust and is now primarily grown in Panama.The trees are rather tall with notably long leaves that mimic the shape of the beans.
Obviously, these aren’t nearly all of the coffee varieties that are out there, but we figured it might help to get an idea of how they are all interconnected. For further reading, Medium has a helpful “periodic table” to help demonstrate the connections. And the World Coffee Research catalog is a great research if you want to more specifically explore individual Arabica varieties.
If you’re interested in exploring a variety of coffees every month, I’d recommend checking out your list of the best coffee of the month clubs.
Now let’s more on to the simultaneously less and more complex world of coffee drinks, shall we?
Types of Coffee Drinks
Of course, where the biggest differences in coffee comes from are in the drinks themselves. There are many different brew methods out there that give coffee some of its most unique flavors. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular coffee drinks out there today.
Black Coffee – Coffee served straight from the carafe after brewing without adding anything to it to alter the flavor. Here’s why you should try it.
Coffee with Sugar and/or Milk – Coffee brewed much like black coffee only after brewing is complete dairy such as cream or milk and sugar or an artificial sweetener is added to alter the flavor.
Espresso – A brew method and coffee that is ground and packed very fine. A small amount of water is added creating a different taste and strength of the coffee.
Filtered or Drip Coffee – A method of brewing where coffee is placed into a paper filter and hot water is poured onto it allowing it to drip into the carafe below.
French Press Coffee – Coffee made with a french press brewer that uses a plunger to press the coffee to separate the finished drink from the coffee grounds.
Iced Coffee – Slightly different from cold brew coffee, iced coffee is prepared using a hot brew method and then cooled before serving.
Percolated Coffee – A brew method where hot water is cycled through the coffee grounds using gravity to reach the desired strength.
Vacuum (Siphon) Coffee – A brew method using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce the final cup of coffee.
Caffe Gommosa – An espresso poured over a single marshmallow.
Café Con Hielo – The iced coffee version of espresso with 50 ml of espresso served over ice.
Cortado – An espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity.
Doppio – A double shot of espresso served in a demitasse cup.
Espresso con panna – Coffee made with whipped cream.
Espresso Romano – A shot of espresso served with a slice of lemon on the side.
Guillermo – Two shots of hot espresso poured over lime slices, sometimes served on ice.
Lungo – The opposite of the Ristretto, this drink is made with more water.
Ristretto – Espresso made with the same amount of coffee but half the amount of water.
Milk or Water Added
Antoccino – A single shot of espresso served with steamed milk in a 1:1 ratio.
Caffe Americano – An espresso drink where hot water is added to espresso creating a coffee similar in strength but different in taste to regular drip coffee.
Cafe au lait – Strong coffee made with scalded milk in a 1:1 ratio.
Cafe Zorro – A double shot of espresso added to water using a 1:1 ratio.
Cappuccino – Espresso made with hot milk and steamed milk foam.
Espressino – A drink made from espresso, steamed milk and cocoa powder.
Flat White – An espresso made similar to a latte only with textured milk.
Latte – Espresso made with steamed milk in a 1:3 to 1:5 ratio with a little foam.
Macchiato – An espresso made with a small amount of foamed milk, similar to a cappuccino only stronger.
Vienna Coffee – Coffee or espresso made with whipped cream with milk added on some occasions.
Around the World
Black tie – A double shot of espresso combined with traditional Thai iced coffee and sweetened condensed milk.
Cafe Bombon – Popularized in Spain, this drink is an espresso made with sweetened condensed milk.
Cafe Cubano – Originally from Cuba, this coffee drink is an espresso that has demerara sugar added.
Caffe Creama – A long espresso drink primarily served in Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy beginning in the 1980s.
Ca phe sua da – A coffee drink originated in Vietnam that literally means “iced milk coffee. ” It is made by mixing black coffee with a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk and poured over ice.
Egg coffee – A Vietnamese drink made with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and Robusta coffee.
Eiskaffee – A German drink made with iced coffee and vanilla ice cream.
Galao – Originating in Portugal, this drink is an espresso mixed with foamed milk and served in a tall glass.
Irish Coffee – Coffee combined with whiskey and cream and sometimes sweetened with sugar.
Kopi susu – Coffee made with sweetened condensed milk that is then allowed to cool so the grounds sink to the bottom of the glass.
A Little Something Extra
Bulletproof Coffee – 1 cup black coffee, 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp coconut oil blended until creamy
Chai Latte – Espresso mixed with spiced tea and steamed milk.
Liqueur Coffee – Coffee brewed with 25ml shot of liqueur. Sometimes served with cream.
Mocha – Sometimes called a cafe mocha, it is similar to a latte only chocolate syrup is added.
Calories in Coffee
A common talking point when it comes to comparing coffee is calorie count. While a plain black drip coffee or a shot of espresso may have virtually no calories on their own, the same cannot be said for all coffee delights.
Related: Our Best Coffee Maker Buying Guide
While there are the die-hard black coffee drinkers, there are still a lot of coffee fans who prefer to show in a little something extra. However, that seemingly insignificant addition might be throwing off your caloric intake more than you expect.
Here are a few common things that get added to both drip coffee and espresso listed with their calorie counts:
- Sugar: 16 calories for 1 teaspoon
- 2% milk: 15 calories for 2 tablespoons
- Whole milk: 19 calories for 2 tablespoons
- Heavy whipping cream: 101 calories for 2 tablespoons
- Half-and-half: 37 calories for 2 tablespoons
- Fat-free milk: 10 calories for 2 tablespoons
To help put this into perspective a little bit, let’s do some comparisons. Say you put just 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of 2% milk in your coffee at home. That will put you at about 36 calories (drip brew has about 5 on its own).
Now, if you go for a second cup, you’re at 72. That’s about the same as munching on a sugar cookie and will take 10-15 minutes of walking to burn off. So, in all it’s not too bad, even if you do opt for the whole milk.
However, many people opt for much more milk than the 2 tablespoon servings, which can make a pretty big difference. Furthermore, when you start reaching for specialty drinks at your local coffee shop, the tune starts to change a little bit.
Calorie Counts on Popular Drinks
*These are with standard whole milk. Ordering a drink with a milk alternative will affect these numbers.
Let’s start with the baseline, shall we? One shot of espresso has about 1 calorie. So even if you’re ordering a doppio, the amount is pretty negligible. The same goes for lungos and ristrettos since changing the amount of water you’re brewing with doesn’t impact the calorie count by any significant margin.
If you splash in a bit of milk for a macchiato, you bring things up to about 13-18 calories.
Americano or Long Black
While, yes, these are technically two different drinks, the ingredients are the exact same: a couple shots of espresso plus some extra water. That puts this drink at about 3 calories. So we’re still in pretty safe territory.
Cappuccinos will have slightly less calories than many other milk-based drinks because they are less milk and more foam. They tend to land somewhere between 110-135 calories.
If you go for a flat white instead, the extra milk will put you at about 155-170 calories.
A latte is generally one of the higher-calorie drinks you can order; however, the calorie count varies pretty wildly depending on the milk you use. (Makes sense because it’s mostly milk.) Ordered without modification, they’re typically about 120-150 calories. And while they may seem like the healthier option, Chai lattes usually have MORE calories than their espresso-based counterparts.
TIP: Size Matters!– While you can get a small latte down to about 70 calories with the right milk choices, keep in mind that a Venti from Starbucks will be about 250 calories even with nonfat milk.
This is one of the most calorie intensive drinks you can order. Though the calorie count will vary. depending on where you order it, they’re generally about 290 calories. That chocolate syrup really does a number on this one.
Since this drink is becoming rather popular both in and outside of the paleo community. Our recipe is about 200 calories, but some recipes (including the one used by the original Bulletproof brand) can put you at about 500. So this is definitely one to look out for!
That was some list. As you can see, there are tons of different coffee drinks out there ready for you to enjoy. How many different types of coffee have you tried? I know there are several on this list that I haven’t enjoyed yet. I can’t wait to try them.
If you’re trying to impress someone on your list with an exotic coffee they may not have tried, check out our favorite coffee gifts and get some inspiration.
Did we leave a coffee drink off of this list? If so, let us know and we will make sure we add it right away. Until then, we hope you enjoy all of these delicious coffee drinks.