With approximately 2.25 billion cups consumed every day, coffee is the world’s drug of choice. Not only is coffee a great way to boost your energy levels, but it’s also a gloriously rich tapestry of flavors and styles. If you’ve only ever tried regular coffee before, it’s well worth trying out some of the different varieties.
Even if you think you’re not a coffee fan, some of the milkier versions may change your mind. This page explores some of our favorite coffee types that everyone should try at least once!
The Basics of Good Coffee
The quality of the food and drink you make is dependent on the quality of the ingredients you use. The same is true of coffee. You should buy the best quality coffee you can afford. Ideally, you should buy whole coffee beans rather than pre-ground products (more on that here).
There are several reasons for this:
- Whole beans stay fresher for longer; some compounds in coffee are sensitive to the air and begin to oxidize upon exposure.
- Grinding yourself lets you choose how coarse or fine your ground coffee is. This is a huge factor in getting the flavor you want out of your beans.
- Keeping your coffee in bean form until you need it protects it from moisture in the air.
You can still make delicious coffee with pre-ground products, but most professionals prefer to home grind their beans.
Ordering Milk-Based Coffee in a Cafe
By default, most milky coffees like cappuccinos and lattes are made using full-fat milk. The reason for this is that the higher fat content makes it much easier for steam to inject air into milk without scalding or splitting it.
Semi-skimmed and skimmed milk can absolutely be used, but it may result in a less tasty drink. Also, remember that a good barista will heat your milk to just the right temperature to get the job done. If you ask for your coffee served “extra hot”, they’ll oblige you, but your milk will probably be scalded and less delicious.
Why Are Coffee Names Italian?
Many coffee names are Italian in origin. Perhaps the main reason for this is that most professionally made coffee is espresso-based. Espresso is a huge part of Italian coffee culture.
As cafes in North America and Europe became more modernized in the 80s, many locations used either commonly used or repurposed Italian names for their stores and drinks. The approach seems to have stuck!
A cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee that’s topped with frothed milk and often powdered chocolate. A pressurized steam wand is used by a barista to push hot steam into milk. With this coffee drink, plenty of air is allowed to enter, resulting in a fluffy cloud of warm milk and coffee.
The name cappuccino allegedly takes its name from an order of 16th-century friars. No, seriously. The white color of a cappuccino is similar to the robes worn by the capuchin friars.
Who Should Try a Cappuccino?
When made correctly, a cappuccino is a warm comforting indulgence. While not necessary, many people enjoy theirs with a generous sprinkle of chocolate on top. So, if you want to indulge, give a cappuccino a try.
Many cafes make a cappuccino with a single espresso shot meaning the coffee flavor is relatively weak with this drink. So, feel free to ask your barista for a single-shot cappuccino next time you order.
This is sometimes called a caffè latte which means “milk coffee” in Italian. This is a pretty apt description of the drink. Hot steam is injected into milk resulting in a silky smooth consistency. The microfoam that this process creates is perfect for making beautiful patterns on top of the coffee.
A trained barista can leave latte art hearts and other shapes in your drink.
Who Should Try a Latte?
The ratio of coffee to milk is higher with a latte compared to the weaker cappuccino, but it’s still a relatively mellow drink. So, for a warm comforting treat with a reasonable coffee kick, give a latte a try.
Macchiato literally translates as “marked” or “stained” coffee from Italian. A small amount of frothed coffee is added to an espresso base. This coffee is typically served in a much smaller cup for a dainty, sophisticated experience.
Who Should Try a Macchiato?
The coffee flavor is pretty strong with a macchiato as there’s only a small amount of milk that comes alongside it. If you like espresso but want to shake things up a touch, give it a go next time you’re out.
A cortado is a similar idea to a Macchiato only much more frothed milk is used. A roughly 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk is used when making this drink. A more experienced barista will be able to leave an intricate pattern on the top of your coffee.
It’s worth noting that many coffee shops get macchiato and cortado orders mixed up. But, don’t be surprised if your underpaid barista gets this one wrong; it’s ordered way less often than lattes and cappuccinos.
Who Should Try a Cortado?
If the strong notes of espresso are too much for you when drinking a macchiato, the smoother tones of a cortado might be for you.
Take a latte and mix some chocolate into it. You’re now looking at a delicious mocha. This is sometimes also called a mochaccino. As well, most cafes tend to use powdered chocolate when making this one, but some fancier places may melt the chocolate directly for you.
It’s worth noting that the term “mocha” also refers to a specific type of coffee bean that is originally from the port city of Mocha in Yemen.
Who Should Try a Mocha?
If you like hot chocolate and you also like milky coffee, we may have just introduced you to your new favorite drink.
What Coffee Will You Try?
If you’ve only ever tried a standard black or white coffee and think you don’t like the drink, we urge you to give some of these types a go. We’re confident that one or more of these coffees might just change your mind, especially if they’re made by a good professional barista.
If you’re looking for more info on coffee, visit Honey’s article, HERE.
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