Confused by the selection of drinks available in your local coffee shop? Here are our top ten types of coffee explained.
We’ve all seen the McDonalds advert where they have a cheeky dig at local independent cafes? So you walk into a new coffee shop, the barista gives you a friendly smile and asks you what you’d like. You take one look at the board on the wall and see a large confusing list of coffee types. Here is the lowdown on the different types of coffees to help you choose.
ESPRESSO - A small and intense coffee with a syrupy body, approx 1.5oz in size (I know we use the metric system but for some reason, coffees sizes tend to be talked about in fluid ounces, nope, I’ve no idea why either) A great espresso is one of life’s true pleasures, a bad one can be really quite challenging. Designed to be drunk in a maximum of 3 sips, if you are a cyclist and enter a cafe wearing lycra, this is the only drink you are allowed to order. It’s the law.
DOPPIO - traditionally a double espresso, but most cafes will now serve you a double espresso as standard. If you want a single, make sure you ask. So now a Doppio could well be a double double. That’s a lot of caffeine, so best not given to children.
LONG BLACK A long black is when an espresso is diluted by being added to hot water. The perfect long black is one part espresso to two parts water. A good half way house between an espresso and a filter coffee. Can be served with cold milk so don’t be afraid to ask. An Americano is subtly different in that water is added to the coffee.
FILTER - A less intense, larger sized coffee drink where the coffee is immersed in water for longer, but not under pressure like with an espresso. Far more subtle in flavour and complexity than espresso based drinks. Will often cost more as it is labour intensive when made to order, but worth it. Definitely one to persevere with if you are not a fan immediately. The go to drink for a lot of us and easy to reproduce at home.
BATCH BREW Another form of filter coffee but pre made in larger quantities, so cheaper. Perfect if you’re running to catch a train. When fresh, can taste as awesome as regular filter, but risks being a bit flat if it has been left to sit too long. Always ask the barista when the pot was made and if older than 30 minutes, ask them to make a fresh one for you.
MACCHIATO - technically the word means, ‘marked’ or ‘stained’ it is simply an espresso with a small scoop of cappuccino style foam layering the top. The slight addition of milk just takes the intense edge of an espresso. A quite wonderful thing.
FLAT WHITE - A small espresso based drink made with milk. Typically 5-6oz in size, the milk should be evenly textured throughout and served at around 65 deg C to give the drink additional sweetness. The new standard in espresso based milk drinks. If you ask for your Flat White to be extra hot, your barista will nod accommodatingly, quickly run the handle of your cup under the hot water tap and then serve you the drink as normal.
CAPPUCCINO - Sadly slightly going out of fashion, but still an awesome coffee when made correctly. Usually served in a slightly larger 6-8oz cup that a flat white but more intense in flavour as the top 1/3 has much more heavily textured milk than the remainder. Harder for a barista to do good latte art so expect a heart at best. You are allowed chocolate sprinkles on a Cappuccino but every time you do, a fairy dies.
LATTE - Come on, do you really have to ask? Ok, so usually the largest milk drink on a menu, 10oz is about standard. Milk will have less texture than in a flat white. A great breakfast drink especially if you are going to dip your croissant in it. I give latte drinkers a hard time but its a wonderful coffee to relax with.
MOCHA Hot chocolate with a shot of espresso added. Can be a great way to ruin decent coffee if made with cheap chocolate powder, but a good single origin coffee and single origin chocolate is great.
And there you go, types of coffee explained. There really isn’t anything too intimidating about it. You’ll soon develop a favourite and if you’re in a new place for the first time and unsure, ask the barista to make you their favourite instead.