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The 10 Different Types of Coffee Drinks Explained

0 commentPost by : Jasmin Tétreault
The 10 Different Types of Coffee Drinks Explained

Thrilled about your new espresso machine but unsure of various coffee drinks? Coffee shops offer a wide variety of beverages, which can be confusing. We'll elucidate the distinctions among popular coffee drinks to enhance your brewing experience and enjoyment.

Different types of espresso-based drinks explained

Understanding specialty coffee intricacies requires becoming acquainted with fundamental espresso-based beverages. As you taste these drinks, you'll develop a more profound understanding and appreciation for coffee and the unique experiences they offer.


Beginning with espresso as the foundation, myriad coffee drinks can be created, from small shots to frothy lattes. For a deeper understanding of recipes and preparation, consult our guide to espresso!

As a coffee world staple, espresso's 1:2 to 1:3 bean-to-water ratio delivers a syrupy, chocolaty, and intense shot perfect for quick energy.


The ristretto, a 1:1 to 1:1.5 ratio espresso, provides a highly concentrated shot with a strong, bold taste. Though best paired with dark roasts, its popularity has waned due to recent light roast trends.


Contrary to popular belief, the alongé or lungo isn't just an espresso that you leave flowing longer or with added water. The alongé has a specific recipe of a 1:3 to 1:4 ratio. This results in a less intense flavor and texture but gains a ton of clarity. If you want to taste the terroir of the coffee, this is the one to go for. 


The americano, a highly popular espresso-based drink, features espresso with hot water added in a ratio of 1:4 to 1:8, creating a beverage with exceptional clarity while retaining the rich espresso flavor. Interestingly, the name has historical roots, originating from American-style drip coffee, as Italian cafés adapted their espresso offerings to accommodate American patrons seeking a familiar taste.


The affogato is not an espresso-based drink per see, but it does require a shot of espresso. An affogato is one scoop of your favorite ice cream (or sorbet!) topped with a hot and freshly brewed shot of espresso. It's an Italian classic, combining sweet and creamy with bold and intense—perfect for a summer afternoon or for a fancy dessert! 

Milk-based Drinks

The world of popular coffee drinks has long featured milk as a cherished addition. In recent times, alternative options such as almond, oat, and soy have gained traction, making these delightful beverages more inclusive for individuals with varying dietary preferences. While the latte may be the most recognized, an assortment of other classic milk-based coffee drinks, each with its unique characteristics, are waiting to be explored and appreciated.


A macchiato, derived from the Italian word for "stained," is an espresso infused with a modest portion of steamed milk. This addition imparts a delicate creamy texture without rendering the beverage excessively heavy or sweet. For those seeking a simple, classic option with a touch of elegance, the macchiato is an excellent choice. It particularly suits those who savor espresso's bold taste but prefer a hint of milk to mitigate any bitterness or acidity.


Ever wish you could have a tiny latte with a lot less milk? A cortado might be exactly what you're looking for. A cortado is an espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk added to it. This creates a rich and creamy drink that has somewhat of a sweetness to it. If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, then a cortado might be right up your alley. But be warned: it's deceptively filling!

Flat White

The flat white, originating from Australia and New Zealand, is similar to a latte but features less steamed milk and a lower concentration of microfoam—expertly steamed milk with minuscule bubbles. This distinctive blend creates a sweet, creamy experience while highlighting the coffee's natural flavors. Ideal for those who appreciate the taste of coffee but find a latte too milky or sweet, the flat white offers a delightful alternative, bridging the gap between a latte and a macchiato.


The cappuccino is one of the most recognizable coffee drinks out there. It is an espresso with a generous amount of steamed milk and topped with velvety foam. A cappuccino is made with one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third foam (the thickest kind of microfoam). This results in a drink that is very rich and creamy but still has plenty of caffeine to give you that afternoon pick-me-up that you need. Just be careful not to have too many, or you might end up wired!


A latte, consisting of espresso, a significant volume of steamed milk, and a small amount of foam, yields a creamy, smooth, and sweet beverage with reduced caffeine content. Appropriate for indulgent afternoons, its comforting texture allows for a pleasant experience without excessive acidity or bitterness.

Coffee Drink FAQs

What are some espresso drinks?

Espresso drinks include espresso, ristretto, alongé, and americano. What differentiates them is the ratio of coffee beans to water during preparation.

Which espresso drink is the best?

Selecting the finest espresso drink hinges on personal preference, with some relishing the intense taste of a double-shot espresso and others gravitating toward sweeter options like cappuccinos or lattes, guided by their taste and sought-after flavor characteristics.

Is a cortado the same as a Flat White?

No, a cortado is not the same as a Flat White. A cortado is an espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk added to it, while a Flat White is an espresso with more steamed milk and foam than a latte. If you’re looking for something light and quick, go for the cortado, but if you want a heartier drink to savour, choose the flat white!

What is the difference between a latte and a cortado?

The main difference between a latte and a cortado is the amount of milk used. A latte has a lot more steamed milk than a cortado, resulting in a sweeter and creamier drink. Cortados have more of the espresso's natural flavor because they use less milk. So, if you're looking for something a bit more intense where you can still savour the flavour of the beans, a cortado might be the way to go.

What are the 4 types of coffee beans?

The four predominant coffee bean varieties, Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa, exhibit distinct characteristics: Arabica is the most popular and superior in quality, Robusta has a bitter taste and higher caffeine content, and Liberica and Excelsa contribute unique flavors to blends.

How many types of brewed coffee are there?

There are four popular coffee brewing methods: drip, espresso, pour-over, and cold brew, each with different equipment and flavor profiles. Other honorable mentions include French Press, Moka Pot, percolated, and Siphon Coffee.

Which type of coffee is best?

Selecting the ideal coffee type depends on your unique taste preferences. For a robust and intense flavor, espresso is an excellent option. Meanwhile, if you're seeking a smoother and creamier taste, a latte or cappuccino might be more appealing. With a range of options available, exploring different types of coffee can be a fun adventure to find the perfect match for your palate.

What is the common type of coffee?

Arabica is the most prevalent coffee type due to its mild and sweet flavor profile with low acidity, which makes it an excellent choice for both home and commercial brewing. Moreover, it's the most widely grown coffee variety worldwide.

No matter which type of coffee or espresso drink you choose, remember to use high-quality beans from Café Fabrique to get the best flavor out of your espresso machine! Happy brewing!

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