The Different Types of Coffee Explained

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Regardless of why you’re drinking coffee, what matters most is how it tastes, smells, and whether or not it makes you feel alert and happy in the morning. That being said, everyone has their favourite order – perhaps a latte, a piccolo, or maybe a long black. With so many styles of coffee the choice can be a bit overwhelming when you walk into your favourite cafe.  The exact definition of what constitutes a flat white or a cappuccino has changed over the decades and the drinks still vary greatly depending on where in the world you order them. The following article goes into detail about the main styles of coffee drinks that you will find in coffee houses nowadays.

1.Espresso or also called short black coffee

The short black is the foundation of any espresso drink. The term ‘short’ refers to the fact that this is simply an espresso shot with no extra water is added apart from what is used to brew the coffee.

2.Café Americano or also called the long black coffee

You can make this type of coffee quite simply by adding hot water to a shot of espresso coffee.  How much water goes into a long black varies from café to café, but ‘enough to fill the cup’ is a good rule of thumb. Most machines dispense water that’s at tea brewing temperature instead of drinking temperature. Therefore, considerate baristas might mix some cooler water into their long blacks so they can be drunk sooner rather than later. For larger drinks a double shot of espresso may be used to maintain the ratio of water to coffee.


A fairly popular option for coffee drinkers, a latte consists of steamed (or scolded) milk and a single shot of coffee. The general rule of thumb with these is that they will be served with espresso, steamed milk and around 1cm of milk froth will settle on top.

4.Piccolo Latte

These are essentially smaller, stronger lattes. They’re either served in an espresso cup and are the same as a short macchiato that’s been topped up, or are served in a latte-shaped glass which is about the size of an espresso cup. The genius of a Piccolo Latte is that this drink is based on a Ristretto shot of coffee. A Ristretto is an extraction of espresso that produces about 15-20mls of liquid.


A cappuccino is similar to a latte. However, the key difference between a latte and cappuccino is that a cappuccino has more foam and chocolate placed on top of the drink. Possibly the most popular type of coffee in the world, a cappuccino consists of three layers.   The first is a shot of espresso, then a shot of steamed milk, and finally the barista adds a layer of frothed, foamy milk. This final layer can also be topped with chocolate shavings or powder.

6.Flat white

Flat white coffee is made the same as a cappuccino expect it does not have any foam or chocolate on top. The aim of a flat white is generally to serve an espresso-based drink, with un-texturized milk. This is milk that has not had air incorporated into it while being stretched. What makes a flat white unique though is the balance of coffee to milk. A good Barista can steam the milk in such a way to make it light and creamy.


Although it has similarities to a cappuccino, a macchiato is different in that it is a shot of espresso which is then topped off with foamed milk dashed directly into the cup. People also fill their macchiato with milk to various levels ranging from barely any milk at all, to half-filled or topped up completely. Macchiato can have foam on it, but it’s usually just a small layer of foam to allow the taste of the espresso to shine.

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