Coffee is probably the second most popular drink on the planet, after a glass of water. As a coffee enthusiast with a passion for coffee, I wanted to write down all the different types of coffee I’ve tried over the years. Maybe as a reference point, or a guide for anyone standing in a coffee shop, staring at the overwhelming menu. I think we can spend all day discussing variations and personal twists people like to put on their favorite cup of joe so for now I’ll stick to the basics.
I remember being young standing in a coffee shop looking at the intimidating menu thinking I may just stick to what I know and order a black coffee but a voice inside of me told me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. So, I ordered and a Mocha, beginning my journey into what has now turned into a passion.
There are many things that determine the taste of your final brew. The origin of the bean, roasting, and brewing methods are key factors in the resulting taste of your cup. Since coffee is so diverse it would take a lifetime to write down all the different types of coffee available, so forgive me if I missed your local favorites.
The Basic Cups
Black Coffee – The patriarch of the family, black coffee is as old as time itself. Well, I’m not entirely sure of that but basically black coffee is just your brewed beans without any additions of sugar, milk, cream, etc.
Black Coffee With Milk/Cream & Sugar – The common drink found in most drive through cups around the world. I can imagine everyone who drinks coffee has had a double-double before.
Iced Coffee – Here is something only a brave marketing agent could have come up with. Selling coffee cold. Iced coffee is a little different from cold brew in its preparation method. This type of coffee is brewed hot but served over ice, therefore making it iced coffee. Usually with added syrup or milk and sugar to dull the bitterness of black coffee.
Cold Brew – Unlike iced coffee, cold brew is made with cold water. Hence the name. Coffee beans are placed in a container with a large amount of water and left to brew for anywhere between 1 to 2 days. The coffee is never heated but sometimes sweetened by sugar or other additives.
Turkish Coffee – A brewing method that uses finely ground coffee beans without a filter. Sugar is often added during the brewing process, resulting in strong coffee. Interesting fact, Turkish Coffee originated in Yemen.
If you think espresso means quick or fast coffee you are incorrect. “To express” or “to press out” are better translations for espresso. Therefore, café espresso means pressed-out coffee. If you think there are many different types of coffee, wait until you see how many different types of espresso there are. Coming from Italy around the early 1900s, espresso didn’t catch on until the 1970s. Its defining quality is a concentrated dose of coffee usually served in a little cup resembling a shot glass. You do need a special machine and a little know-how to make a good espresso.
Espresso – Made by forcing boiling water through finely-ground coffee with the help of a special coffee maker known as ‘An Espresso Machine’. This household favorite is a staple in the coffee community.
Normale – The formal name for a shot of espresso. If you ever find yourself in Italy, you may hear people order espresso by saying ‘normale’.
Ristretto – A stronger version of an espresso shot. Made with equal parts coffee as the normal but only half the water.
Doppio – A double shot of espresso.
Lungo – Espresso made with much more water than a regular shot of espresso. Also usually made with a double shot.
Americano – The idea here is simple, a shot or a double shot of espresso with hot water in a coffee mug. Sounds a lot like black coffee, right? Trust me, the taste is not the same.
Red Eye – Black coffee topped with a single shot of espresso.
Black Eye – The same as a Red Eye but with a double shot of espresso.
Lazy Eye – Two shots of espresso over a regular decaf cup of coffee.
Cappuccino – A delightful combination of espresso, milk, and steamed milk foam. First, pour the espresso into a cup, followed by the milk, and finally, you add the steamed-milk foam on top.
Latte – A famous coffee, 1/3 espresso, and 2/3 steamed milk. I am sure you’ve seen Latte art before.
Mocha – Espresso-based drink mixed with hot milk and cocoa powder or varieties of chocolate syrup. A creamy flavorful cup of coffee.
Macchiato – Espresso with a spoonful of foamed milk. Just enough milk to change the taste of a plain espresso.
Cortado – A Spanish variation of the espresso, served with a splash of milk.
Café Bombon – Espresso served with sweet, condensed milk. A must-try for people with a sweet tooth.
Carajilo – A shot of espresso mixed with alcohol, worth a try if you ask me.
Frappe – Greek iced coffee made from instant coffee, water, and little sugar and milk. While the coffee sits at the bottom of the cup the milk/foam is added on top.
Romano – An espresso with a twist of lemon. Who had time to come up with this one?
Irish Coffee – Half coffee (any brew will do) and half Irish whiskey. Usually topped with cream.
Affogato – Desert type of coffee. A scoop of vanilla gelato served with an espresso shot poured overtop.
My coffee journey has only begun, and I am sure it will continue until the world runs out of coffee beans or I run out of time. There are so many variations to try and I can’t wait for my list to keep growing. I’m going to keep trying different types of coffee. Meanwhile, if you have anything to add to my list feel free to share a drink I may have missed and share your favorite coffee with the community.
I’ve always seen coffee as a way of bringing people together. Everywhere I go people seem to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and that’s what drives my passion. There’s always a new brew to master, and there’s always a new face to enjoy it with. Hitch a ride with me on a coffee-fueled adventure to find a perfect cup.