17 Popular Types of Coffee Explained
We’re spilling the beans on what really goes into your cup.
Ever felt the urge to venture from your normal coffee routine only to realize you don’t actually know another way to take your daily jolt of caffeine? The names of other coffee drinks all sound familiar, but who actually knows the difference between a latte and a cappuccino? A cold brew and a nitro? And how would one even go about making one?
Whether you’re learning to be your own at-home barista or just looking to navigate a new section of your coffee shop menu, it can be helpful to understand what actually goes into your mug. From cold to hot, here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular types of coffee drinks.
Types of Warm Coffee Drinks
As simple as it gets, black coffee is served straight from the carafe without any additives to alter the flavor. It's made with ground beans steeped in hot water and served warm for a mid-level concentration of caffeine and coffee.
Espresso can be served as a solo shot or used as the base for many other coffee drinks. It’s made of finely ground, dark beans that are packed finely to create one strongly caffeinated shot.
A popular coffee shop order, lattes are often considered an introductory coffee drink. The bitterness of coffee is cut by the amount of milk used in a latte. It’s made with a shot of expresso, steamed milk, and a touch of foam, and it can be flavored with syrups like vanilla.
Similar to a latte, a cappuccino is a creamy drink characterized by a thick foam layer. Compared to a latte, it uses more foam than steamed milk.
Often an alternative to black coffee, an americano is made from one shot of espresso and hot water. The water dilutes the espresso without impacting the level of caffeine.
Also known as a double espresso, this highly-caffeinated drink is made of two shots of espresso, It should come as no surprise, since doppio is the Italian word for double.
A macchiato is not as creamy as a cappuccino, but with steamed milk it’s still not as strong as a shot of espresso or a doppio.
A cortado is made from equal parts espresso and steamed milk. The warm milk balances out the espresso, reducing the acidity.
A red eye boosts the caffeine level on a regular cup of coffee by adding a shot of expresso.
Café au lait
Café au lait is a fancy name for a black coffee with just a splash of warm milk.
The perfect match for a chocolate lover in need of a caffeine fix, a mocha is a chocolate espresso with foam and steamed milk.
A ristretto is an espresso shot that uses less hot water than a standard shot of espresso or a doppio. This creates a sweeter taste.
For those looking for more than one type of buzz, an Irish coffee is sure to check all the boxes. Made from black coffee, sugar, and whiskey, this alcoholic coffee is often topped with whipped cream.
Types of Cold Coffee Drinks
As simple as it sounds, an iced coffee is a coffee with ice. Most take an iced coffee with a dash of cream, milk, or sweetener, similarly to how you’d take a warm coffee.
Cold brews take iced coffee to another level by steeping grinds for anywhere from 6-36 hours, depending on the intended strength. It’s also most often served with cold milk or cream.
Nitro coffee is essentially cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. The result is a sweeter, thick, velvety drink.
The frappuccino found fame in chain coffee shops for a reason. Sweet and flavored, this icy, blended coffee drink is a real treat. For the ultimate dessert-like finishing touch, it’s often topped with whipped cream and caramel or chocolate.