Coffee and its enjoyment have been around for a very long time. From the early Ethiopians who enjoyed it as a staple up to today’s hustling business districts that consume Starbucks coffee, it has been on constant and ever-increasing demand. People have been also inventing and re-inventing coffee preparation the whole time which in turn paved the way for other avenues of coffee appreciation.
What was previously just a black invigorating liquid is now available in different forms. Coffee-making has become a revered art form that made available various coffee-infused beverages. Below are some of the more popular coffee drinks:
- Espresso – it is a strong black coffee in its purest form. It’s produced by forcing steam through finely-ground dark-roast aromatic coffee beans at a high pressure in an espresso machine. A thick, golden-brown crema (foam) on the surface indicates a good espresso.
The espresso is a very important part of the coffee culture as it serves as the backbone for most of the specialized coffee beverages that are available today. Cappuccinos, lattes and other all begin with an espresso.
It is usually enjoyed on its own, as preferred by purists, or with small amounts of sugar.
Variations abound with this brew. Adding a bit of steamed milk creates an espresso macchiato. Adding a some grappa, cognac or sambuca makes it an Espresso corretto while topping an espresso with whipped cream makes it an espresso con panna.
- Cappuccino – one of most popular coffee drink. Most coffee shops have these on the menu though there might be different versions of it. The recipe for true cappuccinos is equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk/milk froth. Upon preparation it is common practice to sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate gratings to the cappuccino froth. Variations include a “scuro” and “chiaro” which means you prefer your cappuccino with more or less milk respectively. Of course there’s also iced cappuccino.
- Americano – a single shot of espresso added to a cup of hot water. This can be enjoyed with either milk and/or sugar though it’s common practice to minimize the amount of milk. This is also prepared with ice.
- Cafe Latte – consists of one part espresso and two parts steamed milk with 1cm of milk foam. Skilled baristas often have crafty ways of pouring the foam creating miniature artworks on the surface. Sugar is added to taste. This is also commonly used for dipping Cookies, spongy cakes slices or Italian bread. Vanilla, chocolate, and caramel are some of the other flavorings that can be added to the latte. Variations include combining Café Lattes with chai, matcha, and royal milk teas.
- Café Au Lait – A traditional French drink that is similar to the caffe latte but is made with brewed coffee instead of espresso. It is 1 part brewed coffee and 1 part steamed milk and is considered a weaker form of caffe latte. Sugar is added via the drinker’s preference. It’s also used for dipping. Café Au Lait is sometimes also served in bowls to accent its French origins.
- Café Mocha or Mochachino – a cappuccino or caffe latte topped with chocolate syrup or powder. Preparation of this beverage is varied but a common trait is that the syrup is added before milk. Similarly, it can be topped with cocoa powder or grated chocolate. Add a twist of whipped cream.
- Caramel Macchiato – commonly prepared by combining espresso, caramel and foamed milk or steamed milk though this type of beverage is very varied. Sugar may be added although this drink is already sweet by itself. Vanilla is often added for extra flavor.
- Café Cubano – is a type of espresso originating from Cuba. It refers to an espresso shot that is sweetened with demerara sugar while it is being brewed. The name usually covers other drinks that are based in the Cuban espresso.
- Cold Brew – this is prepared by steeping coarse-ground beans are in room temperature water for extended periods usually 12 hours or more. The coffee grounds are then filtered afterwards and is served with water or milk. Cold brewed coffee naturally seems sweeter due to its lower acidity.
These are the more popular varieties of coffee drinks. There are other variations out there. Exploring them all opens up a world of coffee enjoyment!