Types of coffee drinks
If you aren’t an expert coffee drinker but have ordered at your local coffee shop once or twice, you’re likely familiar with the breadth of options on coffee shop menus. What’s the difference between a cappuccino, a latte and a macchiato? And what do you need to make each at home?
You may already have a favorite coffee drink you’d like to reproduce at home, or you may be wondering what the difference between all these drinks is and how you can get started enjoying your homebrew coffee at home.
Despite the seemingly endless variety, the most popular drinks are relatively simple and consist of coffee, espresso and water or milk, plus sometimes additional flavoring like simple syrup.
We’ve broken down what goes into making the most popular coffee drinks and what you need to make each so that you can enjoy barista-quality beverages in your kitchen.
Coffee drinks to make at home
Espresso shots are a highly concentrated and easily consumed variation of a standard cup of coffee.
True espresso must be made with an espresso machine, which forces very hot water through compacted coffee grounds with nine bars of pressure.
If you don’t want to invest in an espresso machine, you can get fairly close to the taste and strength of espresso with an AeroPress. While an AeroPress doesn’t achieve the pressure necessary to make authentic espresso, it does make an intense, potent shot of coffee.
The key to achieving a great espresso (or an espresso-like shot in an AeroPress) is to grind your coffee to a fine grind. You should also use an electric kettle to get your water temperature to exactly 200-205 degrees before pouring.
Serve your espresso shot in a 2-3-ounce Demitasse cup.
For a double espresso, all the above still applies. Just be sure to make your two individual shots separately in the AeroPress because attempting to add more water and grounds to the AeroPress at once will only lead to an under-extracted brew.
Serve two shots of espresso in a 3-4-ounce Demitasse cup.
Red-eye is a black coffee with a shot of espresso added to it. People who like red-eyes likely seek them out for the added caffeine boost. To make red-eye, simply brew coffee using your typical method (we recommend pour-over) and then add a shot of espresso. Serve it in an 8-ounce mug.
Americanos are a popular drink for people who want the high caffeine content of espresso with a slightly less intense flavor. It simply consists of a double shot of espresso over hot water.
The standard ratio on espresso to water for an Americano is 1:1. A double shot of espresso is about 2 ounces. To make an Americano, simply pour your double espresso shot over 2 ounces of water in a 5-6-ounce glass coffee mug.
A macchiato is an espresso shot covered by a layer of foamy steamed milk. They’re simple to make: brew an espresso shot and then steam some milk and combine.
The best milk to use for a macchiato is fresh whole milk. Suppose you have an espresso machine with a steaming wand. In that case, you can achieve the frothy, dry foam you need for a macchiato easily by holding the steaming wand just below the surface of the milk until it doubles in size and becomes very foamy.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, don’t fret. A handheld milk frother works nicely, too.
If you’re used to ordering macchiatos at Starbucks, then you probably anticipate a sweet, caramel flavor in your Macchiato. To reproduce that, you’ll need to drizzle caramel simple syrup on top of your frothed milk.
The ratio you’re going for is 1-2 teaspoons of steamed milk atop one shot of espresso. Serve in a 3-ounce glass espresso cup.
Cappuccinos are a creamy, comforting beverage made from about 2 ounces of steamed milk and one or two espresso shots. For a more indulgent drink, use one shot. If you like a stronger espresso taste, use two.
A latte begins with the same base as many other drink types covered here: a shot of espresso. Approximately 1-2 ounces of espresso is combined with 8-15 ounces of steamed milk. The ratio should be about one part espresso to two parts milk.
Lattes are similar to cappuccinos but much milkier, making them popular among people who want something comforting and less bitter than plain black coffee. Add flavoring syrups to your latte for a sweet experience.
Serve it in a glass latte tumbler.
Making an iced coffee at home is easy. If you just follow the steps you’d usually take to make a coffee and then pour it over ice, you’re going to end up with a watery beverage.
To start, measure out 26 grams of coffee on a digital scale. Place your coffee in the filter of your pour-over brewer.
Rather than a usual ratio of one part coffee to 15 parts water, you’re going to pour a smaller amount of water to account for the water that will be added when the coffee is iced. We recommend pouring 250 grams of water for 26 grams of coffee.
Make the best coffee drinks at home
This is a truly high-end, specialty coffee enthusiast-approved grinder. Suitable for an extensive range of brewing methods because it has 40 grind settings so that you can use it with your espresso machine, AeroPress, pour-over brewer, french press or drip coffee machine.
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If you’re making a macchiato, cappuccino or latte and need to froth milk without using a steamer wand, a wand frother is a great option. You can use it with your milk type of choice. It won’t heat your milk but will get it highly frothy and foamy.
A great choice of variety for people who like to try different flavors in their coffee. It includes vanilla, caramel and hazelnut simple syrups.
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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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