We have all heard or seen these names before in restaurant menus, on television, or from our coffee fanatic friends. You might even enjoy your cappuccino on a daily basis; yet, there are many more coffee drinks for you to experience. There is such an enormous range of coffee drinks that it would be impossible to go through them all, so let’s explore some of the most popular variants.
Good quality espresso machines are the foundation of most coffee drinks. It does not refer to the type of coffee bean used, but rather to the method used in brewing it. The key difference between espresso and a normal cup of filter coffee is the use of pressure. Espresso is made by compressing finely ground coffee and forcing water through it at a high temperature. One of the advantages of this method, apart from the taste, is the speed. An espresso is served in a small cup without milk. It has a striking taste and aroma since more of the flavor is extracted by the brewing method.
Latte is short for caffè latte, which means “coffee with milk” in Italian. A latte is the natural extension of the espresso; simply add steamed milk to an espresso, and your latte is done. Flavored variants are often served at cafés and restaurants, with vanilla being particularly common.
The cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee drinks. It is very similar to a latte. The difference between them is that a cappuccino is made with foamed milk. A latte will normally have more milk in it, and as a result it tastes creamier than a cappuccino.
Mocha is the perfect coffee drink for chocolate lovers. It is a latte with added chocolate flavoring, most often in the form of chocolate syrup.
- Caffè Americano
More often called an Americano or a long black; this coffee drink is made by adding hot water to an espresso. The result is a drink which tastes like a normal cup of drip brew coffee, but it can be made in a fraction of the time.
A frappe is a cold drink, often used to refer to iced coffee. While there is no specific way of making a frappe, it is rarely just a cold coffee with ice. Most of the time a frappe doesn’t even have coffee in it; flavored syrup is used to imbue the coffee taste instead. Ice-cream or crushed ice is added to this drink to add creaminess and texture.
A macchiato, which means “stained”, is another variant of the espresso. The simplest way to describe a macchiato would be to call it a “miniature cappuccino”. It has a different taste, however, being much stronger and less creamy. It is made by inserting a dollop of foamed milk into the cup, before adding the espresso.
- Irish coffee
At long last a coffee not named in Italian! Technically speaking this is a cocktail and not a coffee, but coffee is still the main ingredient in this drink. It is made with two parts Irish whiskey and four parts hot coffee. A tablespoon of sugar (preferably brown) is stirred into the drink before it is finished with a layer of thick cream on the top. Note: Not for sale to people under the legal drinking age.
What to do with this new knowledge of the Italian Language?
Go taste whichever coffee sounds the most appealing to you. This has been a very brief introduction to the wide world of coffee, and there are many drinks I did not mention. The best way to learn what coffee you like is to try different kinds. So don’t be afraid of messing up the pronunciation – most of us don’t speak Italian anyway.