Espresso is one of the most popular coffee types. And as you’d guess, there are many types of espresso. From bitter to sweet espresso, this article looks at nine of the best espresso drinks. But first, what is espresso? Let’s find out.
What is espresso?
Espresso is a coffee that is more concentrated than other coffee types. It is therefore served in shots. One forces hot water through fine ground coffee using the espresso machine to prepare it. The result is a highly concentrated liquid with a brown foam called crema.
It is this crema that gives the coffee a rich flavor. It comes from the coffee plant and follows the same brewing method as most coffee types. Unlike regular coffee, espresso uses finely ground coffee packed for optimal flavor extraction. Some popular espresso flavors are toasty, acidic, bitter, and sweet.
Types of espresso beans
To make espresso, you can use Arabica or Robusta coffee beans. Arabica is a favorite for many coffee enthusiasts thanks to its high quality. While Robusta beans are of low quality, they produce a tastier crema and have high caffeine levels.
Generally, espresso beans are roasted dark, hence the dark color of the drink. However, it is not rare to use lighter roasts.
Favorite Espresso Drinks
Latte coffee or Caffe latte is one of the most popular types of espresso, with a soft foam layer than a cappuccino. It comprises one to two espresso shots, steamed milk, and a frothed layer. This combination presents you with a milky coffee with a bittersweet taste.
The silky foam is the latte’s highlight. You can use coconut, soy, or oat milk if you do not use dairy products. It is thought its origin is in Italy. It, however, grew in popularity when it was introduced in America. Seattle is where it grew in popularity in the 1980s.
Cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee types around the globe. A favorite for many baristas, it has an even milk and coffee distribution, making it sweeter than a latte. Unlike latte, you use the exact amounts of milk and coffee, allowing you to achieve a mildly tasty drink. Its ingredients are chocolate sprinkles, milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso.
Like latte, its origins are in Europe and America. It also became popular in the 1980s, like latte. Its origin is Italy, getting its name from the hue of capuchin friar robes. This is because the frothed milk has a similar color to the robes.
Unlike cappuccino and latte, Americano does not use steamed milk and foam. In fact, it is a combination of water and espresso. You can serve it in different ratios, with the most popular being:
1/2 espresso to 1/2 water
1/3 espresso to 2/3 water
When preparing Americano, make sure to add espresso first. It will enable the crema to mix evenly hence producing a flavor-rich coffee. Do not add frothed or steamed milk.
Its origins can be traced back to World War II. American soldiers preferred highly concentrated coffee to the flavored one, which was common in Italy. They recreated American, birthing Americano as we know it today.
Flat white is among the new entrant coffee drinks in the coffee industry. It is gradually gaining traction among coffee lovers thanks to its creamy taste. To make flat white, you blend micro-foamed milk with one or two espresso shots. The steamed milk contains air, giving it a smooth texture.
For best results, you need to pour the microfoam precisely. Its origin is unclear, with New Zealand and Australia claiming to have invented it in the 1980s. Unlike latte, the flat white is served in small 160 tulip cups. As such, espresso has a more pungent taste than in latte.
Ristretto is somewhat similar to espresso since they have a similar brewing process. Ristretto means restricted in Italian. Here, there’s espresso limitation, with most baristas limiting it to 15 or 25 ml. It means a person looking to indulge in ristretto is after quality rather than quantity.
The barista will pass less water through the coffee, resulting in a sweeter and more concentrated coffee. If you are not an espresso enthusiast, ristretto may be a good starting point. You can use a variety of milk and beans to get that personalized taste.
Mocha is a perfect choice if you are looking for a tastier and creamier coffee. Mocha combines a shot of espresso, syrup or milk powder, and milk. Generally, it falls in the latte category, served in 1/3 espresso in 2/3 milk. To improve the mocha taste, a chocolate flavor is added. Mocha is made from Arabica beans, which are revered for their quality.
Unlike latte and cappuccino, a macchiato is among the least recognized types of coffee. Macchiato means stained or marked in Italian. As such, macchiato is strained or marked coffee. Like latte, it has a foam topping to improve its taste. This means it tastes like espresso. The main ingredients are foamed milk and espresso.
The name macchiato is the brainchild of baristas who wanted to differentiate pure espresso from one containing milk; hence the word stained. Initially, macchiato was meant for afternoons, unlike latte and cappuccino, which were consumed in the morning. There are two types of macchiato: latte and espresso macchiato.
Red eye coffee originates from the United States. It gets its name from the midnight flight from the West Coast to New York. The flight needs passengers onboard to stay awake as they cruise from coast to coast. The drink is synonymous with working persons as it helps them stay awake and alert.
Making red eye is easy. You only need coffee and a shot of espresso, mainly two shots of espresso. The red eye is relatively bitter with a sweet tone. The flavors are also more robust than other coffee drinks. It has different names depending on the state you are in. For example, Alaskans call it green eye.
Finally, we have Affogato coffee, a native of Italy. It became popular in North America through Starbucks in the 1990s. It is hot espresso with icy Frappuccino. To make Affogato, you need espresso and vanilla ice cream for that added flavor.
As the name suggests – which means drowned in Italian – you drown the vanilla ice cream in espresso. It is an ideal dessert after lunch. You can also serve it after dinner if you are a night owl.
Choose Your Espresso!
Well, there are many types of espresso. However, the above are the most popular espresso drinks. They have different levels of caffeine and can come in different flavors depending on the barista or coffee café. So, which espresso drink appeals to you? Let us know in the comment section.