31 Different Types of Coffee Drinks Explained

When you walk into a coffee shop, do you step up to the counter and order your faithful cup of cappuccino, or do you take a chance on the exotic-sounding brew written on the chalkboard outside? You might wonder what exactly makes a macchiato unique compared to a cortado. The world of coffee is amazing, but all the different names can get confusing. Let us help you out by running through some of the types of drinks you will find at your local coffee shop.
Types of Coffee

Making the pilgrimage to local cafes on my travels is one of my favorite ventures. While I love a flat white during the autumn months, I also delight in grabbing a frappe after dinner to sip on as I take in the sites. Let’s get to know more about the different ways you can enjoy all the different types of coffee out there.

Types of Coffee Beans

When searching for your next favorite drink, consider the beans that make it possible. There are some principal characteristics to consider. What is the origin, how were the beans roasted, what is the coffee species? As the second most traded commodity in the world, coffee beans are big business. Most roasters use either Arabica or Robusta coffee beans to create their unique roasts. Let’s look at why it’s essential to know the difference between the two.

Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica is the most popular variety of coffee beans in the world, and for good reason. They are sweeter and less acidic than Robusta, but also lower in caffeine. Unfortunately, Arabica coffee plants are more prone to disease, making them harder to produce and therefore more expensive. Still, they make up 60% of coffee beans in the world.  

Robusta Coffee Beans

This hardy bean lives up to its namesake. It is less prone to disease and pests, making it a resilient plant that is easier to grow and harvest. Bold and bitter, Robusta is your go-to if you want a pickup that it’s high in caffeine. The strong taste of Robusta makes it great for espresso blends and making instant coffee. This bean has a strong flavor and is great for milk-based coffee drinks that will give you that extra jolt in the morning.

Types of Hot Black Coffee Drinks

Light, medium, and dark roasts all have their place under the sun. With different brewing methods, they can boast their unique flavor notes without milk or sweeteners. You might be surprised to find that a light roasted coffee tastes completely different when brewed as an espresso compared to a standard drip process.

What is Filtered Black Coffee?

Black Coffee
  • 20 grams coffee 
  • 320 mL coffee

Everyone enjoys a great cup of hot java. With straight black filtered coffee, the beans get to enjoy the spotlight and really showcase amazing flavor profiles. Plus, there are so many unique ways it can be brewed: automatic drip, French Press, pour over, Aeropress, and Chemex, just to name a few. I recently had an amazing Ethiopian specialty coffee from my local roaster/coffee shop. It was so extraordinary I bought a bag for home.

What is an Espresso?

Espresso Coffee
  • 7-10 grams coffee
  • 25-30 mL brewed

The Italian heartthrob. This drink is the chief component of almost every specialty drink you know and love. It only takes 20-30 seconds to pull a shot of espresso, but that quick extraction time has nothing to do with its namesake. It actually has to do with the amount of pressure required to extract a shot. The name comes from the Italian word “esprimere” which means “to express” or “to press out.”

Thicker and creamier than filtered coffee, espresso has a concentrated taste and a smooth finish thanks to the crema that forms during extraction. Crema is that signature red, gold foam layer that makes espresso delicious, and worthy of all the praise it receives.

What is a Doppio?

Duppio Coffee
  • 17-20 grams coffee
  • 40-60 mL brewed

Simply put, Doppio is a double shot of espresso. This might not sound very impressive at first, but let me explain. When discussing coffee, almost everyone talks about espresso in single shots. However, nearly every coffee shop offers its espresso option as a double shot (take a look next time). The majority of industrial machines use a single portafilter with dual spouts so baristas can pull two shots at a time. Larger verisons of your favorite milk specialy drink require at least two shots of espresso, if not more. So the doppio is really the unsung hero of almost every coffee bar.

What is a Ristretto?

Ristretto Coffee
  • 7-10 grams coffee
  • 22 mL brewed

The Kevin Hart of coffee. Short, strong, and yet still sweet. A Ristretto is pulled using less (or restricted) water than espresso. This process creates an even more concentrated shot of coffee.

Using less water is only part of the equation. The barista also adjusts the coffee grind to a more fine setting so that the full flavor can be extracted in less time. Next time you are at your favorite coffee shop, try ordering your cappuccino with ristretto shots instead of espresso to have a more intense coffee experience.

What is an Americano?

Americano Coffee
  • 7-10 grams coffee
  • 130 mL brewed

The Americano has a muddled origin story. The most common story is that soldiers stationed in Europe during WWII found espresso too strong and bitter compared to their beloved drip coffee. So they would ask for hot water to dilute espresso, creating the Americano. Other stories say the Americano was invented after WWII while soldiers were stationed in Italy.

No matter the reason, an Americano is a great way to extend the life of an espresso. Created using a shot of espresso diluted with steaming hot water. Traditionally, hot water is poured over the espresso to create an Americano, but many baristas will pour the espresso over hot water because it is more aesthetically pleasing.

What is a Long Black?

Long Black Coffee
  • 17-20 grams coffee
  • 120 mL brewed

When making coffee, two shots of espresso are always better than one. Originating in Australia and New Zealand, the Long Black share similarities in preparation to the Americano. The biggest difference is the use of two shots of espresso or ristretto in each cup. An additional espresso means added crema, increased flavor, and more texture than an Americano.

What is a Lungo?

Lungo Coffee
  • 7-10 grams coffee
  • 50-60 mL brewed (110 mL with a side of hot water)

If you reach the bottom of your espresso only to wish you had been able to spend more time together, then you probably want to order a Lungo next time. Using the same amount of coffee as a shot of espresso, however a Lungo is pulled over a longer period of time. The longer extraction time means more flavor and more caffeine (double win). You may find some coffee shops serve Lungo with a side of hot water in case you want to dilute it even further.

What is a Red Eye?

Red Eye Coffee
  • 20 grams for drip coffee and 17-20 grams for espresso
  • 350-400 mL brewed

Never be late for your early morning flight again with this intense coffee combination. Take your favorite cup of black coffee and drop in a shot of espresso. Easy, right? Use that extra dose of caffeine to catch the next flight or make it through that early morning meeting.

What is a Black Eye?

Black Eye Coffee
  • 20 grams drip coffee
  • 34-40 grams espresso
  • 400 mL brewed

Any other time, asking somebody to give you a black eye is a quick way to get punched in the face. Luckily, baristas are not so aggressive and will instead happily deliver a caffeine-fueled cup of coffee as you rush through the terminal. With two shots of espresso combined into a mug of drip coffee, you are sure to make it through the day wide awake!

Types of Hot Milk Coffee Drinks

Delicious and creamy, these coffees are like a warm blanket to keep you cozy all winter long. That’s why milk-based drinks make up the majority of orders at your local coffee shop. With so many variations, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone.

What is a Macchiato?

Macchiato Coffee
  • 1 Shot Espresso
  • 70 mL combined

Don’t let its size fool you. This small drink has an intense flavor with a smooth finish. It is made by taking a shot of espresso and adding a splash of steamed milk.

Macchiato is the Italian word for “stained” or “marked.” Why is that important? Well, espresso on its own has a light brown appearance, and adding just a touch of steamed milk doesn’t drastically change the overall color. So to cut down on confusion, baristas add a spot of foam to mark the cup as a Macchiato.

What is a Cortado?

Cortado Coffee
  • 2 shots espresso
  • 140 mL combined

Hailing from Spain, this drink uses equal parts milk and espresso to create a perfectly smooth blend. The word cortado is the past participle of “cortar,” which means “to cut” or “dilute.”  Steamed milk, with minimal foam, cuts the bitterness and tones down the acidity of espresso without overpowering the flavors. June 25th is National Cortado Day, so go out and celebrate!

What is a Flat White?

Flat White Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 160 mL combined

If you love the flavor of a cappuccino, but don’t want a foam mustache, order a Flat White the next time you step up to the counter. Coming from the land down under, this drink originated in Australia and New Zealand. During the 1980s, there was some pushback against foamy coffee drinks, which led to the creation of Flat White. Utilizing steamed milk from the bottom of the jug, instead of the top, keeps this drink creamy instead of frothy.

What is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 150 mL combined

The classic! One shot espresso, add steamed milk, and finish with a thick layer of foamy goodness on top. If you want to get fancy (and we know you do), sprinkle some cocoa or cinnamon on top to accentuate one of the most beloved drinks in the world.

The creation of the Cappuccino predates espresso. First called Kapuziner in 18th Century Viennese coffee houses. Here, baristas added milk to strong coffee until it matched the color of capuchin monk’s robes. Centuries later, this combination is still being enjoyed by the masses. 

What is a Cafe Latte?

Cafe Latte Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 200mL combined

In this coffee drink, milk takes center stage. A Caffe Latte is considered the best way to introduce your friends to the world of coffee. The name is derived from caffellatte, which breaks down into caffee e latte, meaning “coffee and milk.” The foam layer is thinner than a cappuccino, but it is perfect for creating magnificent latte art.

What is a Cafe Mocha?

Cafe Mocha Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 200 mL combined

The lovechild of hot chocolate and espresso. Bitter coffee beans, combined with creamy milk and the sweetness of chocolate, create the ultimate indulgent drink. This sensational drink also goes by the name mochaccino. One shot of espresso, a full helping of steamed milk, and a foam layer on top sprinkled with cocoa all combine to create this crowning achievement.

What is a Cafe au Lait?

Cafe au Lait Coffee
  • 90 mL strong coffee
  • 180 mL combined

This fancy-sounding French drink is surprisingly simple. Combine equal parts coffee and scalded milk to create a minimalist drink perfect for those who want more coffee flavor. Typically made from strong french press or drip coffee instead of espresso, Cafe au Lait is a mix of equal parts coffee and milk. I like to grab one on my way back to work after lunch.

What is a Cafe Bombon?

Cafe Bombon Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 60 mL combined

Just when you thought we were running out of things to combine with coffee, somebody in Spain grabbed a can of sweetened condensed milk and proved the world wrong again. Made famous in Valencia, Cafe Bombon quickly spread to the rest of the country. With a name that means “confection,” you had better get your sweet tooth ready.

What is a Dirty Chai Latte?

Dirty Chai Latte Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • Chai Tea
  • 160 mL combined

Take an already delicious Chai Latte and add a shot of espresso to create the most fantastic crossover in history. Fusing the flavors of India with Italy may sound crazy, but I recommend you try this concoction. Plus, it packs an extra punch thanks to the caffeine in black tea combined with espresso.

What is an Espresso Con Panna?

Espresso Con Panna Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 40 mL combined

If you think whipped cream makes everything better, then you and I are on our way to a lasting friendship. While not considered a traditional Italian drink, this small delight is a crowd-pleaser. A single shot of espresso served in a demitasse, or espresso cup, with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Espresso con Panna has style and flavor to match.

Types of Iced Black Coffee Drinks

Here’s a fun fact: summer is hot. To help cool off, it helps to switch to an iced version of your favorite beverage. Thankfully, coffee lovers are always coming up with new ways to enjoy their favorite bitter bean.

What is an Iced Coffee?

Iced Coffee
  • 200 mL coffee
  • 200 mL ice

This variation on classic black coffee involves brewing a more potent coffee that becomes diluted as the ice melts. Use larger chunks of ice to ensure your drink doesn’t become too watered down. Iced coffee can be enjoyed on its own or with a splash of milk and a shot of simple syrup. A variation called Japanese Iced Coffee brews concentrated coffee directly over ice using a pour over method.

What is a Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold Brew Coffee
  • 150 mL coffee
  • 150 mL water/milk
  • 80 mL ice

Cold Brew is the espresso of the iced coffee world. It’s slowly steeped with cold water, anywhere from 6-36 hours. The long brewing process creates a more concentrated coffee with a smooth taste that is less bitter and higher in caffeine. It’s recommended to dilute with filtered water or a splash of milk.

What is a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
  • 250 mL coffee

Overly ambitious coffee aficionadoes decided to take cold brew coffee to the next level. Using techniques from the beer industry, cold brew is put on tap and infused with nitrogen to create an amazing velvety head of foam. The bubbles give it a fun, fuzzy, and creamy texture that adds to the sweet flavors in cold brew coffee. Bonus, because nitrogen is a preserving agent, Nitro Cold Brew stays fresh for a long time. This means it can be bottled and sold around the world.

What is a New Orleans Iced Coffee?

New Orleans Iced Coffee
  • 350 mL coffee
  • 100 mL ice

In a city known for amazing foods, comes another fantastic creation. Take one part chicory, ten parts coffee, and add 100 parts water, let it steep for 12 hours, and create this modern take on iced coffee. To complete the experience, simple syrup or brown sugar is added at the end to truly sweeten the deal.

What is a Shakerato?

Shakerato Coffee
  • 2 shot espresso
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 100 mL ice

If James Bond drank coffee, this would be it. Take two shots of espresso, add sugar, put it in a shaker with ice, and treat it like a maraca. The shaking transforms the texture and creates a velvety drink that is capped with creamy foam. A proper Shakerato is served in a stemmed glass (now that’s fancy). Your move Mr. Bond.

What is an Espresso Tonic?

Espresso Tonic Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 120 mL tonic
  • 50 mL ice

For those who enjoy a bitter drink, espresso tonic is a great combination. Pour a shot of espresso over ice and add tonic water to create the bubbly concoction. The quinine’s citrus flavor pairs well with floral notes found in many espressos. Espresso tonic is popular in Europe and is quickly gaining an audience stateside.

Types of Iced Milk Coffee Drinks

Add milk to any coffee, and you immediately create a creamier version of an already amazing drink. But when it gets hot outside, why not take those marvelous drinks and add a bit of ice to form a refreshingly bright and flavorful mixture.

What is an Iced Cappuccino?

Iced Cappuccino Coffee
  • 1 shots espresso
  • 150 mL milk
  • 100 mL ice

Thick foamy milk and a shot of espresso splashed over ice are all I need to make it through any afternoon. Add some vanilla syrup and a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top to create a truly indulgent variation on this Italian classic.

What is an Iced Latte?

Iced Latte Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 200 mL milk
  • 100 mL ice

Milk really does make coffee better. And an Iced Latte embodies that completely. Espresso and steamed milk with a light frothy texture are all I need to get that summertime vibe. I will admit, if there is a can of whipped cream nearby, I can’t stop myself from adding an avalanche of cream on top.

What is a Frappe?

Frappe Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 100 mL milk
  • 150 mL ice
  • 20 grams sugar

One of my favorite dessert drinks. Take espresso, milk, and ice and put them in a frappe maker to get a smooth and foamy, chilled experience to cool off with. Grab a straw so you can enjoy it while walking the boulevard on summer vacations.

What is a Cappuccino Freddo?

Cappuccino Freddo Coffee
  • 2 shots espresso
  • 100 mL milk
  • 120 mL ice
  • 20 grams sugar

No better way to get that international vibe than to enjoy this favorite Greek style coffee. For this delicacy, milk is frothed in a frappe maker and poured over espresso and ice. You don’t have to be in the Mediterranean to enjoy this iced beverage, but it doesn’t hurt either.

What is a Vietnamese Iced Coffee?

Vietnamese Iced Coffee
  • 240 mL coffee
  • 40 mL sweetened condensed milk
  • 150 mL ice

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee beans. The French brought Robusta beans to the region in the 19th century, and coffee culture became an instant phenomenon. This iced coffee is made with sweetened condensed milk, which is the perfect counterbalance to the incredibly strong, dark-roasted coffee from this country. 

What is an Affogato?

Affogato Coffee
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1 scoop of ice cream

Not technically an “iced coffee”, but come on, it’s made with ice cream, and that’s close enough. To make affogato, take an espresso shot and pour it over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to create the perfect dessert treat. Grab your spoon and enjoy it before it melts!

Final Thoughts

Hot or cold, with a splash of milk, or a layer of foam, there is a coffee out there for you. And if you can’t decide, get adventurous and ask the barista to surprise you! It’s fun to explore the world when you know there are so many types of coffee waiting for you to enjoy.

Picture of About the Author Kris Silvey

About the Author Kris Silvey

As a semi-professional at-home barista and full-time software engineer, my love for coffee borders on obsession. By combining my passion for coffee with an engineering mindset, I strive to perfect my brewing process and share that knowledge with each of you.

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