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The Most Popular Espresso Drinks - A Beginner's Guide

Dec 21

Espresso drinks are an exclusive coffee drink, which includes the possibility of having one or more shots espresso which are "pulled" from the espresso machine.

The most popular espresso drinks are Cappuccino (Caffe Latte), Mocha (Caffe Mocha), but there are many other options and everybody seems to have their own personal preference.

Here's a list of the most popular espresso drinks that we've compiled for your convenience. You can choose from the classic latte , the sophisticated macchiato. There's even the espresso cocktail. Maybe you need a refresher on your coffee drink types...but should you decide to make them at home, click over to the recipe to learn more! The recipes form part of our Barista Series where we teach you how to make coffeehouse-quality drinks at home. Are you ready to begin drinking?


Let's start by introducing espresso, the main ingredient in all drinks below. Espresso is a method for brewing coffee. It's a method to make coffee, where a small amount of water that is near boiling is pushed through finely ground coffee, under pressure.

To prepare for brewing, coffee is finely ground into a portafilter basket and then tamped into the shape of a flat "puck," and secured in the espresso machine. The machine takes over and provides water at a highly stable temperature using a mechanical pump. In order to force the coffee through the machine, it utilizes 9 bars of pressure to fill the space over the espresso puck.

In essence, the perfect shot of espresso is meant to be consumed by itself. How is the taste? The taste? Along with being strong, a shot of espresso is expected to have a rich and balanced flavor profile beneath that glossy crema on the top.

Espresso is served in small cups named demitasses, which holds around 2 -3 fluid ounces, the volume of a double, or a triple espresso shot. The best espresso cups are made from porcelain, or double wall tempered glass. However, double wall tempered glass is a great alternative, that gains more and more popularity.


A cappuccino is an espresso drink consisting of steamed milk, foamy milk and espresso. It's similar to a cafe latte (cafe latte) however, the proportion of steamed milk differs. Here's a comparison of the two: a cappuccino and a Latte.

A cappuccino contains equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam ( 1/3 each).

1/3 espresso, 2/3 steam milk, and a thin layer of foam are the main ingredients in a Latte. This chart can assist you in understanding the concept!

The differences between these drinks are subtle and so is the taste.

According to the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, the institution that regulates espresso, the ideal cappuccino cup has an elliptical bottom, with thick walls and is made of porcelain. The bottom of the cup is made of thicker material to improve heat retention. The traditional color of the cup is bright white for aesthetic reasons.


A latte is a coffee drink with espresso, steamed milk , and the foam layer over it. It is made up of 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steaming milk, and a a thin layer of foam over the top.

A latte must have an exact type of foam. The milk should have a texture that is almost like microfoam. It's difficult to achieve that look without a steamer, so we'll show you how you can simulate it using the various tools that you may have at your table.

Latte is served in wide cups, which give the barista more space to create the latte art. The wide cup also mitigates the issue with the foamed milk, which is not desirable when creating latte art. The best latte cups for home baristas are made from thick porcelain, or double walled borosilicate glass.

Flat White

Flat whites are drinks made of coffee that include espresso, steamed milk and a layer of foam. It's similar to a cappuccino and latte, but has a less dense layer of foam over it. Modern coffee shops often blur the distinction between these three kinds of coffee drinks. In general, the most significant differences between a flat white and latte vs cappuccino: are

Flat White has a 1/4 inch of microfoam at its top. The steamed milk is stretched 20 to 25%.

The latte is medium-frothy with about 3/8 inch microfoam on top. The milk that is steamed is stretched between 25 and 35 percent.

Cappuccino should be creamy, however, it should not be foamy. It should contain about 1 inch of microfoam on top. The milk that has been steamed is stretched out the most of all three at about 30-50%.


A Americano is an espresso beverage that is made from hot water and espresso, sometimes referred to as a Caffe Americano. You can make the drink with just one or two shots espresso and varying ratios of water. Making the espresso's dark and strong roast will bring the taste closer to the taste of drip coffee which might be the reason for the name! While it's not certain exactly where the term came from, it is believed to have come into existence in the 1970s. "Americano" is American in Italian or Spanish, referring to its strength being closer to the American-style drip coffee.

Does an Americano allowed to consume milk? Never. A true Americano does not include milk like a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato. You can include milk if you'd like but it's not the authentic version of this drink.

Espresso Macchiato

A caffe macchiato or espresso macchiato is an espresso shot made of espresso topped with frothed milk. Italian for "stained", macchiato means "stained". This is in reference to the foam of milk included in the espresso. Some sources say the macchiato was created in order to enjoy espresso in the afternoon.

A latte macchiato, in contrast is macchiato. The latte macchiato contains steaming milk stained with espresso.

Mocha Latte

A mocha or mocha latte is a drink made of espresso and steamed milk that is flavoured with chocolate syrup. There's lots of variation about what constitutes a mocha. it's all up to the barista! The drink can be made with different levels of espresso shots, different quantities of steamed milk and different amounts of chocolate syrup. Mocha became popular through Starbucks culture beginning in the 1980s in America.

Red Eye Coffee

Red eye coffee is a drink that mixes drip coffee with one or two shots of espresso. The name likely refers to experiencing an "red eye flight," an airline flight that's overnight, causing the passengers to experience tired red eyes.

There are a few variations on the names of this drink which refer to the amount of espresso shots. Red eye is one shot and black eye has 2 shots and dead eye or green eye is three shots. If you order at an espresso shop it is possible to place an order for "red eye coffee" with the option of indicating how many espresso shots want. This coffee includes: drip coffee, one to three espresso shots, depending upon the strength you want.