Beginner’s guide to different types of espresso drinks

by Anne · Update JAN 18 2021

When you walk into a cafe and see the menu, do you wonder what the differences are among the coffees? In this article, we will outline the basic types of expresso coffee and the differences between them.
In this lesson, we will break all drinks into two categories-- black coffee and milk coffee, and introduce the popular coffee of both categories, as well as how they differ from each other.


Black coffee

shot of Espresso

It's a very intense concentrated beverage with a rich taste and smooth structure. Before you drink it, it's best to stir it so all the layers mix together.

double shot of Espresso

If you want to drink a little more coffee but with the same intensity, just order a Double Espresso or Espresso Doppio. It's the same recipe the only difference is that barista uses bigger cup, usually the one for Cappuccino to capture, Espresso shots from both spouts, The benefit is that the price is usually better than you order two Single Espressos. 


American coffee

Americano is basically a diluted Espresso for those who prefer less intense coffee. You can expect it to be served in a Cappuccino cup. The barista first add around 100 to 120ml of water and then pour an Espresso shot. Coffee remains the flavor characteristics of Espresso, but the intensity is milder.


Lungo is a longer Espresso that is produced by adjusting the grinder and running a longer shot (30 g to 40 g) or by adding extra hot water in addition to your regular espresso. 

Filter Coffee

Filter Coffee or Batch Brew. The flavor is usually more refined, less intense and also develops as the coffee cools down. Therefore, it's an excellent option for someone who wants to drink a big cup of black coffee.


Milk coffee


Cappuccino is arguably the most popular coffee drink in the world. Cappuccino is a Single Espresso with foamed milk. The coffee to milk ratio is around 1:6 or 1:7. Usually, cups are around 150 to 200ml what creates a nice balance between coffee and milk. Latte art shows the skills of the barista. The precision of their steaming technique and can make your day a little bit better.  

Espresso Macchiato

If you want to taste more coffee your option is Espresso Macchiato. Espresso Macchiato is the smallest milk espresso drink served in an espresso cup. The coffee to milk ratio is around 1:2.



Cortado sometimes also called Piccolo is a small milk Espresso drink often served in a glass cup. It mixes a single shot of Espresso with a foamed milk in 100 to 120ml of cup. The coffee to milk ratio is around 1:4.

Flat White 

A very popular Espresso milk drink coming from Australia and New Zealand is called Flat White. It mixes a double shot of Espresso with a foamed milk in a cup for Cappuccino or even smaller. The coffee to milk ratio is like Cortado, around 1:4, but you get more caffeine and a bigger drink.


Café latte

If you want to drink more milk and less coffee, your option is Café Latte. It's served in a relatively big cups around 300ml and it mixes a single shot of Espresso and foamed milk. The coffee to milk ratio is around 1:14.

Now that you know the basics, what is your favorite type of coffee?