From cappuccino to iced latte, there are many types of delicious espresso-based coffee drinks—most of which consist of some combination of espresso and milk. That leaves us with the question: How can these two ingredients produce different types of espresso drinks?
The answer lies in the different coffee-to-milk ratios and the different milk texturing ways baristas use to make these drinks. This article shares a detailed list of the six best types of espresso coffee to help you brew or order your favorite drink with confidence.
1. Caffè Latte
Caffè latte is the most popular coffee in America. Caffè latte or latte is made of ⅓ espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothy foam on top.
Microfoam topping is the real highlight of this milky coffee. It is made with a single or double shot of espresso coffee. This coffee drink with espresso can be topped with cocoa powder and cinnamon. You can add flavoring syrup if you are a fan of sweeter drinks.
The commercial version of Caffè latte: American
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 2 shots of espresso + 4-6 oz of steamed milk + 1 cm of foam
An Americano or Caffè Americano is a breakfast coffee drink made with hot water and espresso. Hot water is poured over the single or double shot of espresso coffee, resulting in a drink that has a similar strength and volume to regular black coffee.
The water dilutes the strong taste of espresso a bit when mixed with it while maintaining the high level of caffeine.
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 1 shot of espresso to 3 oz. of hot water
3. Flat White
Flat white is an espresso drink similar to cappuccino and latte but has a thin layer of the micro-foam on top, giving it a more concentrated coffee taste. It is made with a single or double shot of espresso, topped with a flat layer of steamed milk and micro-foam.
Stretched milk is used to make flat white instead of regular milk. The secret behind a delicious cup of flat white coffee with a creamy kick of steamed milk is using the right milk-to-coffee ratios.
Origin: Australia or New Zealand
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 1 shot of espresso to 4 oz. of steamed milk and 20mm micro-foam
Mocha is one of the most popular espresso drinks, which is essentially a single or double shot of espresso with hot chocolate, steamed milk, and whipped cream. This chocolaty drink is usually served with dessert or at the end of the meal. Chocolate syrup or cocoa powder cuts the acidity of espresso and gives it a creamy flavor.
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 1 shot of espresso to 1-3 oz. of steamed milk
No list of best espresso coffee drinks is complete without the Cappuccino. Originating in Italy, this creamy coffee beverage can be found in almost every part of the world. A traditional cappuccino calls for one-third espresso coffee, one-third steamed milk, and one-third foamed milk. Espresso gives a robust flavor, and the top layer of milk foam maintains its warmth for a longer time.
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 2 shots of espresso, 2 oz. steamed milk and 2 oz. milk foam
Cortado is a Spanish coffee drink that is equal parts espresso and milk. Unlike macchiato coffee, espresso flavors are not diluted, but they’re more balanced with warm milk. It is made using half espresso and half steamed milk. However, cortado uses steamed milk, not the frothy or foamy milk used in other Italian coffee drinks with espresso.
Milk-to-coffee Ratio: 1 shot of espresso to 1 oz. of steamed milk and 1cm milk foam
There are many other drinks you can make with espresso and milk, but there are six of the most popular options you’ll find in almost any cafe. Explore all of them and find which one you like most!
Photo Credit: Image source: Unsplash (Cyrul Saulbier)