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Different Coffee Drinks Explained

Ever wondered the difference between a latte and flat white? Our coffee drinks guide explains all the different brewing methods and what makes each coffee special.

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Once an exotic import sought in the inaugural coffee houses of 17th Century England, today coffee is the most abundant and popular drink on the planet. Around two billion cups of coffee is consumed every day, with 95 million of those cups coming from the UK. What’s more, we’re continuing to witness a boom in cafe culture as the public seemingly love to visit coffee shops in their free time.

However, not everyone knows the intricate components that make each coffee drink different and, therefore, unique. Discovering each of the different types of coffee, various brewing methods and milk textures can help you find a new favourite drink. Taking a moment to learn the distinct milk textures and espresso quantities in each coffee drink can help you find your favourite coffee beverage and elevate your coffee experience.

Not sure where to start? Here’s our guide to all the different types of coffee drinks.

The Different Brewing Styles

Coffee can be brewed in various ways, with each variation impacting the flavour and strength of your drink. Here’s our coffee drink guide to help explain what makes each coffee drink unique.

Espresso

You may be most familiar with an espresso brew, as it is commonly used for the basis of many coffee drinks in most coffee houses and cafes. To achieve an espresso brew, you will need an espresso machine that passes pressurised hot water through a filter containing finely ground, roasted coffee beans. Due to the force of the water being pushed through the ground coffee beans, it produces a highly concentrated coffee shot, which is otherwise known as an espresso. 

Ristretto

Much like an espresso brew, you need an espresso machine to pass pressurised water through your chosen coffee grounds. However, you use half the amount of water that is used when brewing espresso, creating a shorter brewing cycle that brews a darker, more concentrated shot of espresso that is stronger.

TIP : Our Ristretto coffee capsules are part of our Grand Cru coffee range. For an intense, full-bodied shot of coffee that harbours delicate citrusy flavours, our Ristretoo capsules could be to your taste. 

Drip Brew

Possibly considered one of the simplest and fastest ways to brew coffee, the drip brew method consists of pouring hot water over ground coffee that drains through a filter and into a carafe before being poured into a cup. 

Pour Over

The pour over brewing method is achieved by pouring boiling water slowly through coffee grounds that sit in a filter basket. The coffee will then drip into the cup or mug.

Although drip and pour over brew sound similar, there are subtle differences. Drip brew is quicker and less manual as the coffee drips itself when left alone, whereas the pour over method requires you to heat the water yourself and pour the water consistently for several minutes. A Chemex coffeemaker is commonly used when brewing pour over coffee.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in room temperature water for approximately 16 hours. The finished product is less bitter but highly caffeinated – not to be confused with iced coffee, which is hot coffee poured into a glass filled with ice cubes.

Our  ProCook Double Walled Stainless Steel Cafetiere, made from high quality mirror finish stainless steel, brews full-bodied and delicious coffee. 

ProCook Cafetiere Gift Set
600ml and 2 Cups
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ProCook Stovetop Espresso Maker
9 Cup
Typical Price £29Only £18Shop Now
Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine by Sage Stainless SteelTypical Price £479.95Only £399.95Shop Now
ProCook Milk Frother
800ml
Typical Price £29Only £19Shop Now
Most types of coffee found at cafes and coffeehouses are made from three common ingredients: espresso, steamed milk and foam. Additional toppings like syrups, chocolate or cinnamon can be added if requested by the customer, and most coffee drinks are served in specific cups. Sugar can be added to your coffee but is done so by the customer, at their table, and not by the barista.

What is Espresso?

The espresso is a common coffee drink and beloved by those who enjoy a shot of strong, black coffee. It is also the base of many other coffee drinks. Because of the small size of an espresso (approximately 30 ml), this coffee drink is highly concentrated. Although simple, it is difficult to master as you will want to avoid burning the coffee when passing hot water through.

What is a Double Espresso?

Otherwise known as a doppio, a double shot of espresso is exactly as it sounds – two shots of espresso. A double shot is approximately 60 ml of coffee, and much like an espresso, it is highly concentrated.

What is a Ristretto?

A ristretto is a highly concentrated espresso shot, which is ideal for those who love their coffee strong. Although a ristretto looks like an espresso shot, an espresso is weaker and more diluted.

What is an Americano?

An americano is a popular coffee drink for those who love drinking their coffee black and wish to savour the experience. Simply pour a shot of espresso before adding 90 ml of hot water.

Long Black vs Americano

Although similar, there are two important differences between a long black and an americano. Unlike an americano, a long black typically features two shots of espresso. What’s more, approximately 90 ml of hot water is added before the two shots of espresso, which typically results in more crema (a creamy top layer produced by the pressure of the coffee extraction process) than an americano.

The long black originated in New Zealand and Australia, and is more favoured in these two countries. When ordering an americano, they are likely to offer you a long black instead.

What is a Macchiato?

For those who want the intensity of an espresso with a dash of steamed milk, the macchiato may be the drink for you. The macchiato consists of one shot of espresso and approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of steamed milk. It’s then served in a glass espresso cup.

If you enjoy added sweetness, you may be able to add flavoured syrup to your macchiato. A caramel macchiato is a popular syrup choice.

What is a Long Macchiato?

A taller version of the standard macchiato that consists of two shots of espresso and 2 to 4 teaspoons of steamed milk. The long macchiato is very identifiable because of its distinct layers of coffee and steamed milk.  

What is a Cortado?

Not to be confused with a macchiato, the cortado consists of one shot of espresso plus 30 ml of warm milk and 1 cm of foamed milk on top. The additional warm milk helps reduce the acidity of the coffee.

What is a Cafe Breve?

A cafe breve is similar to a cappuccino, but with steamed half-and-half instead of milk (there’s also no chocolate powder on top). This coffee beverage is ideal for those who love decadently rich espresso drinks with a rich and creamy texture. Typically, the ratio of a cafe breve consists of one shot of espresso, 90 ml of steamed half-and-half and 1 cm of foam.

What is a Cappuccino?

A beloved favourite, the cappuccino is a common coffee drink enjoyed during breakfast time in Italy and makes for a wonderful, sweet treat because of its foam and chocolate powder. Made from one or two shots of espresso, 60 ml of steamed milk, 60 ml of foamed milk and topped with a sprinkling of chocolate powder for added indulgence. 

What is a Latte?

Considered an introductory coffee drink due to the high milk content that helps cut through the acidity and bitterness of the coffee. A latte is typically served in a latte glass and is made from one shot of espresso, 230 to 300 ml of steamed milk and 1 cm of foam on top.

For added flavour or sweetness, you can add numerous flavoured syrups to your latte. Popular flavoured syrups include caramel, hazelnut, vanilla and the well-loved seasonal pumpkin spiced syrup.

How to Make an Iced Latte

An iced latte is preferred during the warm summer months, and they’re incredibly simple to make. A warm, shot of espresso and steamed milk are poured over ice, which cools the coffee. However, for a sweeter treat, you can try using condensed milk instead. Usually enjoyed through a straw!

What is a Flat White?

The flat white originates from New Zealand and Australia but has since become a popular coffee drink across the world. Although it is comparable to a cappuccino, a flat white lacks a foam layer and chocolate powder. Instead, it has one or two shots of espresso, 120 ml of steamed milk, and is served in a smaller cup than a latte.

Flat White vs Latte

Although differences between a flat white and a latte are subtle, they are two completely different drinks. A latte has more steamed milk than a flat white and is topped with foam, whereas a flat white has less steamed milk, no foam, and uses the steamed milk from the bottom of the milk jug for a creamier consistency.

What is a Mocha?

The mocha fuses chocolate and coffee to create a deliciously rich, chocolate-coffee concoction. A shot of espresso makes the base of a mocha before chocolate syrup, steamed milk and whipped cream are added. Typically served in an Irish coffee mug.

What is a Vienna?

While there are a few variations on the Vienna, the most common consists of two ingredients: espresso and whipped cream. The whipped cream replaces the usual steamed milk and provides a creamy texture and extra sweetness.

What is an Affogato?

An affogato is considered a coffee-based dessert rather than a drink found at a cafe. They are, however, very enjoyable and easy to make. You can easily make an affogato by pouring a shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What is a Cafe au Lait?

Unlike all the above coffee drinks, a cafe au lait is made from French press coffee instead of an espresso shot. Steamed milk is also replaced with scalded milk, too.

Coffee Drinks Guide

CafetieresStovetop Espresso Makers Coffee Glasses

    Diagram of Different Coffee Drinks

Image of Different Coffee Drinks

Making Barista-Style Coffee at Home

It’s possible to make barista-style coffee within the comfort of your own home. All you need is a coffee machine that brews quality espresso coffee and a way to steam and froth milk. With the help of our coffee capsules and coffee machine, you can brew yourself a flavourful, full-bodied shot of espresso and pour the coffee drink of your choice, whether it be a latte, flat white or cappuccino.

We have everything you need to brew a barista-style coffee within the comfort of your own home. Our Grand Cru range includes five luxurious flavours, all of which have their own flavour notes and strengths. Simply place your coffee capsule of choice in your coffee machine and let it brew.

While your coffee is brewing, steam your milk. This can be done with a milk frother wand or your coffee machine’s built-in milk frothing wand. The Sage Creatista Pro includes a milk froth wand featuring 8 texture levels and 11 different milk temperature settings, so you can easily make your 

You might need these:

Coffee CapsulesCoffee MachinesCoffee Accessories

The Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine by Sage is a beautifully crafted coffee machine which includes a professional steam wand and brewing method for barista-style coffee at home.

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