Coffee is a necessity in many people’s lives; whether you need it as a wake-up call first thing in the morning, a motivator purchased at your favorite coffee shop on the way to work, or as a pick-me-up after a busy day. And while there is a wide range of ways to make and enjoy coffee, a single shot of espresso is one of the most popular methods.
If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ve probably had an espresso coffee drink before. Espresso is one of the most popular types of coffee in the world, and, as such, people have developed and added to the simple espresso shot to create a variety of other delicious hot coffee drinks.
Espresso drinks are a great way to enjoy coffee, whether you’re looking for something strong and intense or lighter and more refreshing. Each of these drinks has its own unique flavor profile and set of qualities, and no drink is quite the same as another.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about some of the different types of espresso drinks and their ingredients. Whether you’re a coffee lover or just getting started in the world of espresso drinks, this post will have something for you!
What is espresso?
So, before we dive into the good stuff, what exactly is espresso? Espresso is a strong coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. This produces a rich, dark, and intense beverage with a unique flavor profile.
It is typically served in small amounts on its own – in either a single or double espresso shot – or as a base ingredient for many other popular coffee drinks. Because of its high concentration, it also has a higher caffeine content than regular drip coffee.
Different types of espresso drinks
So, as we’ve mentioned, espresso can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for other drinks. Here are sixteen of the most popular types of espresso drinks to tickle any coffee connoisseur’s taste buds.
A caffe latte – commonly shortened to a latte – consists of a perfect shot of espresso topped with steamed milk or milk substitute and a small layer of foam on which your barista might draw some latte art.
The usual proportion of ingredients in a cappuccino is one-third espresso, two-thirds hot milk, topped with micro-foam. It’s a traditional espresso drink that everyone loves, and the creamy, sweet taste is a great way to start the day.
A latte is typically served in a taller glass and can be flavored with syrups or spices.
Possibly the second most popular espresso drink, cappuccino is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
The key difference between a hot latte and a cappuccino is the proportion of milk to foam. In a cappuccino, the ratio is one-third espresso, one-third heated milk, and one-third milk foam. This means there is less milk and more foam, giving it a thicker texture.
A cappuccino is usually served in a smaller cup than a latte and can also be flavored with syrups or spices.
An espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk. The word macchiato means stained in Italian, referring to the way the milk stains the espresso.
Despite the milk content, a real macchiato is an intense drink that is not for the faint of heart. The macchiato’s equal amounts of espresso and milk give it a bolder taste and a more robust texture. It is typically served in a small cup and can be enjoyed as-is or with a sweetener.
A latte macchiato is a latte with a shot of espresso stained into it. In other words, it is the reverse of a regular latte where the espresso is added first. It also has less milk than a regular latte since only a third to half of a cup of steamed milk is required.
The milk is added first to this popular drink, and then the espresso is poured on top, giving it a layered appearance. The latte macchiato has a milder taste than a regular macchiato and is less intense, but it has a stronger flavor than a regular latte.
It is served in a tall glass and can be flavored with syrups or spices.
A flat white is made with a shot of espresso and steamed milk. The key difference between a flat white and other espresso drinks is that it is made with less foam, resulting in a smoother texture.
The lack of foam also means that the robust flavor of the espresso is more pronounced, making it a great choice for coffee lovers who want to enjoy the true taste of their beans. It is typically served as a small cup of coffee with or without sweetener.
One of our favorite espresso drinks and perfect if you fancy a bit of a sweet treat, the mocha latte is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup, and milk foam.
The chocolate gives the mocha its signature sweetness and rich flavor, while the espresso and milk provide a balance of bitterness and creaminess. It is typically served in a tall glass or a coffee mug and topped with whipped cream.
You can also add a variety of flavors to a mocha. Peppermint, caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut are popular options, but you can also swap regular chocolate for white chocolate for an even creamier taste.
One of the simplest espresso drinks, an Americano is made with a shot of espresso and hot water. This ratio can be adjusted to taste but is typically two parts hot water to one part espresso.
The Americano gets its name because American soldiers popularized it during World War II. They would add hot water to their espresso to make it stretch further and weaken the strong flavor of the traditional espresso. The drink became known as an Americano, and the name has stuck ever since.
It is typically served in a regular-sized coffee mug with or without sweetener.
A ristretto is very similar to a single espresso shot. In Italian, ristretto translates to restricted, an accurate name for this coffee drink because a ristretto uses the same amount of coffee as a regular espresso shot but with less water, resulting in a smaller drink with a much stronger and more concentrated flavor. Where an espresso is usually 30 milliliters, a ristretto is more like 15-25 milliliters.
A ristretto is typically served in a small cup and can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for other drinks.
A lungo is the opposite of a ristretto and is made with twice the amount of water. You pull double the water quantity through the same amount of coffee grounds as a typical espresso shot to make a lungo. As a result, the caffeine concentration increases, and coffee extraction increases, giving the lungo a more diluted espresso flavor but a strong and intense extra boost of caffeine.
A lungo is typically served in a tall glass and can be enjoyed on its own or with a sweetener.
The red eye is one of the less common types of espresso drink. It consists of a shot of espresso poured on top of a cup of drip coffee. It gets its name because it is often consumed early in the morning and is said to help you wake up and get rid of ‘red eye.’
The red eye is typically served in a regular-sized coffee mug with or without sweetener.
The black eye is similar to the red eye but with two shots of espresso instead of one, making it a stronger and more intense type of espresso drink that is not for the faint of heart.
The black eye is typically served in a regular-sized coffee mug with or without sweetener.
Of all the ‘eye’ espresso drinks on this list, the dripped eye is by far the strongest. Consisting of three shots of espresso on top of a cup of drip coffee, this drink is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a coffee drink that will keep you awake, this is it.
The dripped eye is also typically served in a regular-sized coffee mug with or without sweetener.
Despite what you may believe, cafe cortado is not just a simple shot of espresso with no milk or sugar. Cafe cortado is an exquisite drink made from espresso and an equal amount of foamed milk for the perfect pick-me-up in the morning.
A cortado is typically served in a small glass with or without sweetener. The key to making a cortado is getting the perfect espresso to milk ratio so that the flavors can meld together perfectly.
Espresso con panna
In Italian, the phrase espresso con panna translates as espresso with cream. It’s a popular espresso drink made by adding a dollop of whipped cream on top of a shot of espresso.
The espresso con panna is a deliciously strong and creamy drink perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. It is typically served in a small cup with or without sweetener.
Instead of using black coffee as a foundation for the beverage, a black tie is made using Thai tea instead. To make it, add a double shot of espresso to a cup of Thai tea. The result is a sweet and strong drink that is perfect for those who enjoy spicy flavors.
The drink is a mixture of unique and exotic flavors and is perfect for those who enjoy something different. Thanks to the double espresso and tea combination, it’s also got a pretty high caffeine kick.
A black tie is typically served in a tall glass with or without sweetener.
The espresso martini is the perfect drink for those cocktail lovers who also need their kick of caffeine. It’s made by adding a shot of espresso to a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. The result is a delicious and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion.
The espresso martini is typically served in a martini glass with or without ice. It’s also often topped with a few roasted coffee beans as a garnish.