Are you confused about all the different types of coffee drinks out there?
That’s OK, because this article will explain 20 of the most popular coffees around, so you’ll never be in the dark again.
As a coffee aficionado who has spent the last 10 years drinking a range of coffees on 3 different continents, I’m well positioned to guide you on this rocky trail ;).
In short, the coffees we’ll cover are:
Click the above image to enlarge.
Keep reading to find out more about each of these beverages. We’ve also compiled them into a handy visual infographic here.
20 Types of Coffee Drinks
1 shot of espresso | 30 ml | 30 mg – 75 mg of caffeine
Fun fact: an espresso has the highest concentration of caffeine per unit volume of any coffee.
We’re putting the espresso first on this list because it forms the foundation of many other coffees. This beverage is served as a small, strong shot of caffeine. It has a high concentration of caffeine per unit volume, so it’s great for kick starting your day.
Typically, it has 30 – 75 mg of caffeine, though some sources say it can have as much as 100 g of caffeine per shot.
2 shots of espresso | about 60 ml | 60 mg – 150 mg of caffeine
Fun fact: the double espresso is often referred to as doppio, which means “double” in Italian.
Double the caffeine, double the fun. A double espresso is 2 shots of espresso, terrific for when one shot just won’t cut it. Served in a larger cup, about 170 ml, this is a very strong beverage indeed.
Large espresso | 45-60 ml
Fun fact: lungo means “long” in Italian. Because it’s a “long” espresso.
A lungo is an espresso coffee, but with a higher volume than a standard espresso. So it has roughly 45 ml – 60 ml of coffee in a single cup, instead of 30 ml.
Small espresso | 20 ml
Fun fact: “ristretto” means “restricted” in Italian.
A ristretto is a short espresso, roughly 20 ml in volume instead of the standard 30 ml.
Black filtered coffee | French press | 8 oz
Fun fact: black coffee contains virtually no calories. So it’s great for those on a calorie restriction
Here, I’m talking about a standard cup (about 8 oz or 235 ml) of black coffee, made using a French press. Although black coffee can also mean an Americano or a drip coffee.
1 shot of espresso | hot water added on top | approx. ratio of 1-to-3 coffee-to-water
Fun fact: the americano is believed to have originated in World War II. American soldiers in Italy didn’t like the harsh taste of the local espresso. So they came up with a milder version called the americano.
Also technically a “black coffee”, the americano is a shot of espresso made up with hot water. So it’s a larger and milder beverage than the espresso, since the water dilutes the coffee.
If given the choice between a black filter coffee and an americano, I always choose the filtered. Though fewer coffee shops these days offer filtered coffee, which sucks.
1 shot of espresso | hot water added first
Fun fact: the long black is very popular in Australia and New Zealand.
Similar to an americano, the main difference is the hot water is added to the cup first in a long black. Then, a shot of espresso is added.
Also, less water is used in a long black, making it a stronger drink than the americano.
One espresso shot | steamed milk | foam milk | 1:3 ratio of coffee-to-milk
Fun fact: “latte” comes from the Italian “caffè latte”, which means milk coffee.
The similarities between the flat white, cappuccino, and latte often confused me. If you suffer from the same plight, hopefully this (and the following two) will help. The main difference is the amount of milk added.
A latte is a coffee made with one shot of espresso along with a layer of steamed milk and a final layer of foam milk on top. Flavor and syrups are sometimes added.
It has more milk than a flat white, so it’s not as strong.
One espresso shot | steamed milk | foam milk | 1:1:1 ratio
Fun fact: the cappuccino is a breakfast drink in Italy, so it’s usually not ordered after 11AM.
The cappuccino is one part espresso, one part milk, and one part foam. In other words, it has an equal amount of coffee, steam milk, and foam milk. The latte has more milk than coffee.
A cappuccino will also have chocolate powder or flakes on top.
One espresso shot | steamed milk
Fun fact: apparently, people can’t seem to agree on the place of origin of the flat white. Some say Australia and some say New Zealand. Now I know why there’s such a rivalry between the two nations ;).
The flat white is my go-to espresso drink. I prefer it to a latte because it’s stronger and more flavorful.
This beverage has about half the amount of milk in a latte, and it may also have an additional shot of espresso. Either way, it’s a stronger drink than the latte due to the higher coffee concentration.
One espresso shot | steamed milk | chocolate | 1:3 ratio of coffee-to-milk
Fun fact: whipped cream is sometimes added on top, though this is optional.
Combining coffee with chocolate is a genius move. The mocha is a very tasty beverage indeed, but usually has a ton of calories in it.
It’s one shot of espresso, followed by chocolate powder and steamed milk. The ratio is roughly the same as a latte, in that you have 1:3 coffee-to-milk.
Regular hot coffee | poured over ice
Fun fact: iced coffee is often confused with cold brew. See next section.
As we outlined in a previous article, iced coffee is brewed hot like regular coffee, and then poured over ice. So it makes for an outstanding summer beverage.
Because the ice dilutes the coffee, it’s sometimes brewed at double strength.
Coffee grounds steeped in cold water | 12-24 hours
Fun fact: cold brew has more caffeine in it than most coffees because the grounds are left to steep for 12-24 hours. It’s also a large beverage and more volume means more caffeine.
Cold brew is sometimes confused with iced coffee. But as we saw in the last section, iced coffee is regular hot coffee that’s poured over ice.
On the other hand, cold brew is actually never heated. Coffee grounds are left to steep in cold water. And then they are poured into a glass to consume (with or without ice).
Iced coffee with milk | flavored with syrup and added cream
Fun fact: A Frappuccino is actually a trademarked coffee from Starbucks. So you won’t see the name anywhere else.
The Frappuccino started as an experiment at a Los Angeles Starbucks. And the rest is history. I’ve never had one of these, but I hear they’re quite decadent.
Check out the Starbucks website for more information – the site lists several versions, such as Pistachio Frappuccino® Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino® ; Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, etc.
Iced coffee with milk | flavored with syrup and added cream
Fun fact: The frappe was invented by accident in Greece. And you can make it using tea, juice, or hot chocolate instead of coffee.
The frappe is similar to the Frappuccino, except it’s not exclusive to Starbucks. It’s an iced beverage that’s been shaken or blended. So it has a creamy, foamy texture and sometimes will have whipped cream and toppings on it too. It’s not unlike drinking a caffeinated cake – who said coffee wasn’t fun, haha!
One shot of espresso | dash of milk
Fun fact: you can add caramel to a macchiato, giving a “caramel macchiato”. I’ve had one of these before, but it was the size of a regular coffee so I’m not sure if it was technically a “macchiato”.
As if there weren’t enough coffees with milk. The macchiato is simply an espresso shot with a dash of milk added. That’s it. It’s much smaller than a latte or cappuccino.
One shot of espresso | equal amount of milk | ratio of 1:1 coffee-to-milk
Fun fact: “cortado” means “cut” in Spanish, because the espresso is cut with milk.
A cortado is like a macchiato, except it has the same amount of milk as coffee. So it’s basically a 30 ml espresso shot with 30 ml of steamed or foamed milk added on top. This means it has less acidity than a macchiato.
Black coffee | Irish whiskey | Cream
Fun fact: technically, you need Irish whiskey in an Irish coffee. But if you want to experiment, try using scotch or bourbon instead. It’s OK, I’m Irish so I’m allowed to say this ;).
I hate to admit it, but I’ve never had an Irish whiskey (even though I’m Irish). I don’t like the idea of adding whiskey to any kind of coffee. Anyway, the main ingredients here are black coffee, whiskey, and cream.
If you want to make this yourself, here’s a solid recipe from the BBC.
Cup of drip coffee | one shot of espresso
Fun fact: the red eye can be so potent, it’s sometimes called a “depth charge”. Boom!
A red eye is a regular cup of black coffee, with a shot of espresso added for an extra kick.
One shot of espresso | Equal amount of half and half | Ratio of 1:1 coffee-to-half and half
Fun fact: the word “breve” means short in Italian, so named because it uses half and half instead of milk.
Half and half is half whole milk, half cream. A breve is like a cortado, but it uses half and half instead of milk. This makes it richer and creamier than a latte, and it’s very popular in the States.
So what do you do now?
My advice is to go and try one of the coffees on this list before the week is over.
Ideally, it should be one you haven’t tried before.
You’ll expand your coffee experience and become a wiser individual in the process. Keep this infographic as a useful reference.
And speaking of becoming wiser, have you read our article on 26 other words for coffee? If not, be sure to check it out.