5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

How to Distinguish Types of Coffee Drinks

There are several dozens of coffee drinks in the world, so it’s not surprising that you can get confused about them. This is especially true when taking into account the fact that they mainly consist of the same ingredients and differ only in the order of their arrangement and the method of preparation.

With help from 5-Minute Crafts, you’ll find out how to distinguish a latte from a cappuccino and may even discover new types of coffee drinks.


Espresso is strong, black coffee. It’s made with a small amount of nearly boiling water which is forced under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. The resulting drink seems creamy thanks to the dispersion of very small oil droplets.


Doppio espresso is a double shot of strong, black coffee. This means that it’s double the amount of a single-shot espresso.


Ristretto is a small shot of a more highly concentrated espresso coffee. It’s made with the same amount of ground coffee but extracted with a finer grind using half as much water. It uses less warm water which creates a sweeter flavor compared to the bitter taste of a traditional shot of espresso or a doppio.


Lungo is less strong but more bitter, as compared to an espresso. This coffee beverage is made by using an espresso machine to make an Italian-style coffee, short black with way more water, resulting in a larger coffee. The more water that’s passed through the coffee grounds, the more bitter and watery the taste gets.


An Americano is a shot of espresso with hot water on top. The ratio of these ingredients is generally either 1/2 and 1/2 or 1/3 espresso and 2/3 water. The flavor becomes less strong and milder than that of one espresso.

Red eye

red eye is a drink that consists of brewed coffee topped off with a shot of espresso. A black eye coffee is a variation of the red eye and has 2 shots of espresso, while the dead eye has 3 shots.


macchiato is an espresso, which is made first, followed by the addition of a smaller amount of steamed milk and foam to mellow the harsh taste of the espresso. A classic macchiato has 1 shot of espresso, but there are other macchiato variations that have 2 or more shots of espresso.


A cortado is a coffee drink that originated in Spain. It consists of espresso and hot milk at a ratio of 1:1. The milk is used to cut back on the espresso’s acidity. It may be lightly foamed but not as much as in a cappuccino.


A typical latte is made with 6 to 8 ounces of steamed milk and one shot of espresso. The beverage may also be served with foam for both flavor and presentation purposes. A latte is similar to a cappuccino, but it has more steamed milk.


A cappuccino is an espresso made with more foam than steamed milk, often with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top. Unlike a latte, a cappuccino has less milk but more foam, which is usually an inch thick vs the 0.5-inch foam in a latte.

Flat white

flat white is a coffee drink consisting of espresso and steamed milk with small, fine bubbles, and a glossy consistency. It’s comparable to a latte but smaller in volume and with less microfoam. Milk that is more velvety in consistency allows the espresso to dominate the flavor while still being supported by the milk.

Espresso con panna

To make an espresso con panna, thick, whipped cream is added on top of a shot of espresso. As a result, you get a delicious rush of coffee when you break through the cream layer that is sweet and smooth. It’s a real treat.


breve is similar to a latte but has a smoother taste thanks to cream being one of its ingredients. It not only has milk on top of a shot of espresso but the milk is also mixed with cream. The classic recipe consists of 1 part espresso and 1 part steamed half and half.


The origins of the marocchino lie in Italy. Its recipe includes espresso, whipped milk, and chocolate (or cocoa powder). To make it, pour hot chocolate into a small serving cup or sprinkle the bottom of it with a light layer of bitter cocoa powder. Add a shot of espresso on top, followed by foamed milk. Finish things off with a light sprinkling of bitter cocoa.


A caffè mocha, also called a mocaccino, is a variant of a caffè latte. Like a latte, a mocha is based on espresso and hot milk but with added chocolate flavoring and sweetener, along with some whipped cream on top.


frappé coffee is an iced coffee drink made from coffee, water, sugar, and milk. Unlike other coffee drinks, a classic frappé coffee is based not on espresso but on instant coffee. First, some instant coffee, sugar (optional), and a little water are shaken or blended together until a thick foam is made. This is poured into a serving glass with ice cubes, cold water, and milk (optional). The drink is almost always served with a drinking straw, as the thick foam that forms on top is considered unpleasantly bitter by many.

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