The Most Popular Espresso Drinks
The many joys of drinking coffee is getting to explore different types of coffee drinks until you find one you like most. However, what is at the base of some of the most popular coffee drinks? Espresso.
Whether you’re a fan of ristretto or want to treat yourself to a flat white, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best espresso-based drinks and how they’re different in taste and intensity.
Let’s start with the basics. Espresso is a small yet strong drink. It is brewed for a very short time using high water pressure. The result is a bold, complex flavor. Bear in mind, this will be your base for most coffee drinks, so it’s important to know how to brew a perfect cup of espresso and the ideal grind size for this brewing method (fine).
With a word that comes from the term ‘to restrict,’ it is no surprise that ristretto is a punchier, stronger type of espresso made with the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular espresso shot but half the amount of water. For this coffee drink, we recommend an even finer grind than what is used for a regular espresso.
Think of this coffee drink as the opposite of a ristretto. It is prepared with double the amount of water used in the 1:2 ratio of a classic espresso. This makes for a softer, less intense brew as it’s more diluted. In essence, lungo coffees offer a different experience while still retaining the essential qualities of espresso.
Certainly, you’ll find inventive ways of consuming macchiatos - either with sweeteners or intricate milk foam art. But, at its core, a macchiato (meaning "stained" or "marked”) is an espresso shot topped with a small amount of milk or foam. The story here? Back in the day, baristas would line up several espressos and - to tell a macchiato apart from an espresso - top them with milk foam.
We can trace this drink back to the original 19th century Viennese “Kapuziner,” referring to the delicate brown color reminiscent of a monk’s robe. Typically, a cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk foam. This drink has undoubtedly become an Italian classic despite its origins, with many Italians embracing a ‘cappuccino-a-day' lifestyle.
This Australasian drink has become very popular over the years with many coffee shops including them on their menus. Many compare it to lattes, but flat whites are smaller, stronger-tasting drinks, usually made of double ristrettos or double espressos. Topped with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam, this coffee drink should have a creamy texture and a stronger coffee flavor.
The americano derives its name from how American soldiers in Italy during WWII, would take their coffee. Finding espressos a little too strong for their liking, they would ask for a more diluted version. This involved softening the espresso taste with hot water. The method is pretty much the same still, and many enjoy this drink because of its similar taste to filter coffee.
Finally, we have the cortado! This Spanish coffee drink is a shot of espresso, softened or “cut” with an equal amount of warm or steamed milk, hold the foam. The result is a balanced-tasting cup with a velvety, creamy texture that still highlights the rich espresso flavor.
If you’re looking forward to putting these drinks to the test, why not try preparing a few of them at home? With our X54 Allround Home grinder you can control the grind size to ensure it’s a perfect fit for whichever coffee drink you go for. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the tastes and textures you like best, as well as discover the best coffee type for a particular brew method or espresso based drink.