Espresso is a delicious Italian-style cup of coffee that you can serve in various ways to suit any coffee drinker. Whether you prefer something sweet, bold, creamy, or cold, we’ve curated a list of the best types of espresso drinks you have to try for your next dose of caffeine.
Discover the difference between a macchiato and a mocha, a latte and a long black, and a cappuccino and a cortado with this tell-all list of the most commonly ordered espresso coffee drinks below.
Different Types of Espresso Drinks
As you know, espresso is prepared from finely ground coffee beans by passing water under high pressure and temperature in an espresso machine. The correct size of coffee grounds is essential to brewing espresso. Espresso drinks are curated by using pure espresso shots as the basic element.
Learn more about the 19 different types of espresso drinks below. Whether you prefer your brew hot or cold, this complete list has all your favorite espresso drinks.
A long black is popular in Australia and New Zealand that’s similar to an Americano. This delicious beverage combines a double shot of espresso or ristretto (a stronger, more concentrated shot of espresso) and ~100 to 120 ml of water boiled between 155ºF and 175ºF (70ºC to 80ºC.)
You can prepare a long black similar to an Americano. Still, a long black reverses the pour so that you add the espresso to the hot water rather than the hot water added to the espresso.
This reversal of the preparation process is the main difference between the two popular espresso drinks because it enhances the flavor and creates more crema (the creamy foam at the top of an espresso shot) than an Americano.
An Americano was popularized in Italy during World War II when American soldiers found Italian espresso too strong for their tastes. Soldiers would dilute their cups of espresso with water, thus creating the popular espresso beverage commonly enjoyed worldwide, not just in Italy or America.
Like a long black, an Americano is a regular espresso shot with hot water. To prepare an Americano, pour water boiled between194ºF to 201ºF (90ºC to 93.8ºC) over a shot of espresso in a 2:1 ratio.
A macchiato is one of the most delicious and popular espresso drinks with a small amount of milk. Macchiato is an Italian word that translates to “stained” in English, referencing the milk in the glass that changes the espresso’s color.
An espresso macchiato is a middle ground between a latte and a simple espresso shot. While an espresso shot has a natural crema, a macchiato uses a dollop of steamed milk made into a dry foam for a more significant top froth than a standard espresso.
To prepare an espresso macchiato, steam around one ounce of milk at 150ºF (65.5ºC) and add it to a regularly prepared espresso cup.
Espresso Con Panna
Add decadence to your favorite espresso drinks with a dollop of whipped cream. The espresso con panna is an espresso topped with whipping cream. You may use a single or double shot of espresso to prepare it. The drink is often called a Viennois outside of Italy.
To prepare this delicious espresso drink, make a cup of espresso as you usually would and top it with a dollop of whipped cream. Like a macchiato, this espresso shot is creamier than a standard espresso cup.
The Vienna-style espresso drink resembles an espresso con panna, aka the Viennois. The main difference between the two whipped cream-topped espresso drinks is the size of each serving and a dash of cocoa powder.
You usually serve a Vienna espresso in an eight-ounce glass, compared to the two-ounce cup the Viennois is typically served in. Plus, a Vienna-style espresso drink features a dash of powdered cocoa on top of the whipped cream for an extra dose of deliciousness.
If you must stay up all night, try one of the best espresso drinks called the red eye. A red-eye coffee is similar to an Americano because it’s a shot of espresso that’s been diluted. Instead of diluting espresso with water, a red eye uses coffee to reduce the intensity of an espresso.
Prepare a red eye by pouring hot brewed coffee over an espresso shot. You can also prepare a black eye coffee with a double espresso shot diluted with coffee or the lazy eye coffee with espresso mixed with decaffeinated coffee.
While most associate espresso with Italy, Spain has also influenced the types of espresso drinks we consume regularly. Cortado is a Spanish term meaning “cut” in English. True to its name, a cortado espresso cuts the acidity of an espresso shot by adding equal parts steamed milk.
To prepare a cortado, pour steamed milk over a shot of espresso in a 1:1 ratio. For example, you make a four-ounce cortado with around two ounces of steamed milk and a two-ounce espresso shot.
A latte, also known as caffé latte, is one of the most popular types of espresso drinks that you can flavor in hundreds of different ways. A latte is similar to a cortado espresso drink but has more milk, a sweeter taste, and a frothier texture.
A standard latte is prepared with espresso and milk in a 1:2 ratio, meaning you have one-third espresso and two-thirds hot milk. Lattes use frothed and steamed milk for its distinct top foam and overall creamy texture. Steaming milk releases the sweetness, giving lattes a sweeter flavor than many other espresso drinks.
A mocha combines the best parts of chocolate and espresso flavors into one delicious drink. Mochas are a creamy and chocolate-flavored espresso type that takes inspiration from a latte.
Prepare a mocha espresso by making a shot of espresso as normal, adding around two teaspoons of cocoa powder, and then adding steamed milk. Like a latte, a mocha uses a ratio of 1:2 for espresso to milk for a creamy-tasting drink you’ll want seconds of. You may also use chocolate syrup or melted chocolate to prepare it.
If you don’t have unsweetened cocoa powder, feel free to substitute hot chocolate powder mix for an even creamier-tasting coffee experience.
A black tie is one of the types of espresso drinks you might not have tried before. This delicious drink combines espresso, tea, milk, cream, and spices for a caffeinated beverage that’s distinct in flavor.
Inspired by Thai iced coffee, a black-tie coffee drink is a hot beverage that combines brewed sweetened tea and spices with espresso and dairy. Brew Thai tea and let it steep for up to 15 minutes. While the tea steeps, prepare a shot of espresso.
After you’ve prepared the espresso and tea, grab a glass and add a dollop of condensed milk. Pour the espresso shot, add the tea, then top with steamed milk or cream. Feel free to enjoy a black tie hot or over ice.
Cool off on a hot day with an iced espresso. This type of espresso drink is the cold version of hot espresso shots or an Americano.
Make an iced espresso by brewing a normal shot of espresso, shaking it with ice to chill it, and then served over ice. Like an Americano, an iced espresso gets diluted with water from the melting ice cubes. Sometimes, an iced espresso is also served with milk.
An iced coffee differs from an iced espresso because iced coffee uses cold brew coffee instead of espresso, giving iced espresso a bolder flavor.
Combine an iced beverage’s refreshing taste with a cappuccino’s creaminess with an iced cappuccino.
An iced cappuccino is the cold version of a hot cappuccino but served over ice with equal parts espresso, milk, and milk foam.
Iced cappuccinos and iced lattes are similar and frequently confused because they contain the same ingredients but in different ratios. Because iced cappuccinos have less steamed milk than a latte, the sweetness of the milk is more combined with the espresso flavors for a bolder-tasting iced cappuccino than a sweeter-tasting iced latte.
Iced Vanilla Latte
An iced vanilla latte is the cold version of a hot latte. An iced vanilla latte is a great way to cool down and enjoy a dose of delicious caffeine with a sweet and foamy top layer during the summer months.
Like a regular latte, an iced latte layers espresso with steamed milk and frothy cream on top. Unlike a regular latte, an iced vanilla latte adds a dash of vanilla to the mixture and is served over ice instead of hot.
A latte macchiato is a creamier version of a regular macchiato. While a macchiato already includes a dollop of steamed milk, a latte macchiato adds more creaminess with additional milk.
To prepare a latte macchiato, you need to froth milk, as you would for a latte, and prepare espresso as you normally would. First, add the frothed milk into the cup, then add the espresso for a creamy and delicious beverage that keeps you warm and caffeinated.
The famous coffee chain Starbucks popularized the sweet and tasty treat that is the caramel macchiato. A caramel macchiato is prepared the same way as a regular macchiato but served with vanilla syrup and drizzled with sweet caramel sauce.
Typically, Starbucks adds a dollop of whipped cream on a caramel macchiato making this drink an espresso evolution inspired by the espresso con panna, macchiato, and vanilla latte.
A cappuccino is one of the best types of espresso drinks if you enjoy a creamy caffeinated beverage with the bold taste of espresso. This drink is fantastic for those who want to savor a cup of espresso but want more volume per cup and a less bold taste.
A cappuccino gets prepared with espresso, milk, and foam in a 1:1:1 ratio. Cappuccinos are similar to a latte but have less steamed milk and more foam than a latte. Like a latte, the steamed milk in a cappuccino makes this beverage sweeter than a traditional shot of espresso.
While a cappuccino is a commonly ordered type of espresso drink, a dry cappuccino is less asked for but just as tasty.
Dry cappuccinos have the same ingredients as a regular cappuccino but in different proportions, similar to how a latte and macchiato use the same ingredients to create different flavored cups of coffee.
You’ll see the difference if you look at a regular and dry cappuccino side-by-side. A traditional cappuccino has more milk than top froth, while a dry cappuccino has less milk than milk foam on top. Both options use identical amounts of espresso.
A flat white espresso drink is a cross between a latte and a cappuccino. This frothy and creamy caffeinated beverage uses espresso and steamed milk. The smaller volume of micro foam and a higher espresso-to-milk ratio makes a flat white unique from other types of espresso drinks.
What makes a flat white unique to a latte is the serving size. Typically, you serve a latte in a larger glass (usually around 240 ml), while a flat white is served in a smaller ~160 ml glass.
An affogato is one of the best types of espresso drinks if you’re looking for a delicious dessert with a dose of caffeine. Affogatos are a dessert that lets you play with your food by pouring a shot of espresso over plain or vanilla gelato.
This decadent dessert and espresso drink in one is a fantastic way to mix the sweetness and creaminess of Italian ice cream with the bold flavors and aromas of espresso. An authentic Italian treat, an affogato typically has two scoops of vanilla ice cream per one shot of espresso shot. However, you can adjust the ratio of gelato to espresso as preferred.
Now that you know all the delicious ways to serve a hot or cold cup of espresso, you can try out these various types of espresso drinks in your kitchen or enjoy them at a local cafe.
From a classic espresso shot to espresso-flavored desserts, there is a type of espresso drink for those who enjoy the strong flavors of espresso and those who have a sweet tooth.
Let us know in the comment section below which of these types of espresso drinks is your favorite.