There are many ways people start their day, but I am sure we can all agree on one thing – having a nice cup of coffee is the best thing, no matter what part of the day you enjoy it.
Today I will introduce you to different types of coffee so you don’t fall into a stereotype. Let’s start with the basics.
There have been a lot of articles written about the preparation of an espresso and each website dedicated to coffee offers the “guaranteed” way how to make an espresso. Many guides talk about partially right information, however, you rarely find all the “elements” which create the taste of a good espresso.
The best would be to start with the definition of an espresso:
Espresso is a 1 fluid ounces coffee beverage extracted under the pressure of 9 bars, whereas the extraction itself takes more or less 25 seconds.
Each word from this simple definition has its meaning and none of the mentioned data can be left out if we want our espresso to taste like the one from a real master barista.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? The truth is that preparing a really good espresso is much more difficult than it looks. It’s mainly due to the fact, that the taste of coffee is influenced by many other factors, not just the parameters given in the definition. It is their harmony which makes every single espresso unique.
The difference between a macchiato and an espresso is the presence of steamed milk foam which weakens the classic taste of espresso. Various baristas in different countries have unique styles of making macchiatos. The classic and traditional process of making a macchiato is the following:
- An espresso in a little short glass or alternatively in an espresso cup.
- Steamed milk and foam which are positioned on the top of the espresso.
A professional’s trick: Thirds are essential in this case. In other words, you want your macchiato to have three colored layers. At the bottom you should have the espresso, then the layer where milk and the coffee mix, and finally it should be topped off with steamed milk.
Ristretto is a beverage from South Italy, more precisely from Sicily. It is very similar to an espresso; however, its volume is around 0.7 fluid ounce.
Local coffee lovers have decided to shorten the espresso because of the hot weather in the region. So it was necessary to reduce the beverage’s volume in order, not to overheat the body more than it already was.
In terms of taste, ristretto should be a little less bitter, on the other hand, sweetness and acidity are emphasized.
Thanks to a higher extraction the strength of the beverage is of course bigger.
4. Café Latte
Café latte has a volume of more than 8.5 fl oz. In comparison to cappuccino, the difference lies in the overall volume and the share of foam is smaller in a latte as well.
Café latte is prepared and drunk from a coffee cup. In Italy, it was created as a version of coffee for kids and currently is one of the less popular beverages.
It is basically a latte macchiato which you prepare by foaming the milk into a micro foam and pouring it into the cup. After 30 seconds, the milk foam separates from milk and creates a more solid layer on the surface.
The espresso is poured as the last ingredient and produces the classic stain on the top of your coffee. You can often create three layers while pouring in the coffee; however, it is only a bonus, not a must.
Americano is an espresso with added hot water which increases the volume and it is typically done in a 1:5 ratio. If a customer orders a “large espresso”, Americano is the only right option to go with. There are two methods and both are acceptable.
You can pour the espresso first and then add water (the customer pours it in according to his or her taste) or you start with the water and follow it with the espresso afterwards, which is also called a long back.
A big portion dissolves either way, so don’t get sad (standing next to the coffee machine or sitting at the table), that’s normal.
The biggest sin while preparing an Americano is letting the water flow all over the portafilter. This way you create only an undrinkable liquid containing ligneous matter and a far too big amount of caffeine.
The name Americano has a special legend linked to its origin. According to this story it was created during the WW II when American soldiers didn’t like the strong espresso and that is why they mixed it together with water.
6. Irish coffee
It is often (or was) called Gaelic Coffee and spread across the entire world, plus it can be rightfully considered the mother of all coffee-based cocktails.
The legend says that it started in Shannon (an Irish region) in approximately 1930. Joseph Sheridan, the owner of a pub created this drink to warm up visitors at the airport, and thus Irish coffee was born.
Irish coffee is a beverage of 8.5 fl oz which contains a shot of original Irish whiskey mixed with filtered brown sugar coffee. On top you have a 1 inch layer of whipped cream that should still be liquid in its essence.
A true Irish coffee gives the customer the mixture of contrasts – cold cream is put together with hot, sweetened and spirits flavored coffee. When prepared right, this coffee based pleasure can leave even the best drinks from well-renowned bars in the dust.
This coffee variation is a beverage of a total volume of 5 – 6 fl oz whose basic ingredients are a shot of espresso and warm milk.
According to the original Italian recipe it should have a 1 inch high thick foam on the top of hot milk. The newest variant is the so-called Seattle style cappuccino which instead of the thick foam has a micro foam on the top. This novelty is more bound with milk and after a sip creates a pleasant, almost velvet sensation in your mouth.
The most common mistake while preparing milk-based drinks is using a different extract than the 1 fl oz espresso.
Heating up the milk to above 150 °F during the whipping is another mistake. By doing this you change the structure of milk proteins, which changes the taste as well, and the beverage becomes too hot.
The goal of a barista is to create a beverage with no visible bubbles, the coffee level mirrors the edge of the cup and it doesn’t stick out. Chocolate sprinkles or even cinnamon have no place on a cappuccino. These taste changers most often camouflage the fact that the coffee is made from low-quality ingredients.
Remember, you can’t get a lip burn if the espresso-based beverage is well-prepared.
Affogato means “drown” in Italian and this subtle variation got its name thanks to the double pouring of delicious liquids – firstly you add the golden liqueur wine, followed by a strong espresso.
Fill each cup with 2 scoops of ice cream, pour a quarter of hot coffee over it and sprinkle the whole ensemble with chocolate. To be served immediately. The coffee melts the ice cream beautifully, simply amazing.
The choice of the liqueur wine is all yours. In Italy they are used to have cookies such as cantuccini or amoretti right next to the cup, they even dip them in sweet wine. Delicious!
Cortado means “slice” in Spanish and it is precisely in Spain, Portugal and Latin America where this coffee is extremely popular.
The name is literal because the espresso is “sliced up” with warm milk. It’s served in cups which force you to slow down and enjoy the creamy taste.
If you can’t decide whether you want an iced or hot coffee try Cortado!
10. Vienna Coffee
The credit for the creation of Vienna coffee as we know it today can be assigned to locals from Vienna and their picky habits.
They didn’t like the Turkish coffee served in coffee houses so Jerzy Kulczycki (the owner of the first coffee house in Vienna) changed it a little bit. He decided to add whipped milk and honey and thus the “Wiener Melange” – Vienna coffee was born.
To prepare the Vienna coffee you need two basic ingredients – a top quality espresso and tasty whipped cream.
Unfortunately, the tasty cream is often substituted by whipped cream in a can which takes away the pleasure of drinking a Vienna coffee.
This particular type of coffee is served in a taller cup and a small glass of water should be served with it.