Espresso Based Coffee Drinks

Never go to Starbucks again without knowing what the different coffee drinks are. Even better, make the drinks yourself to impress your friends and save some money. For some it could be a small fortune!

While you’re at it, why not show off your new barista skills in these coffee mugs which can be customized as if you have your own coffeehouse!

Okay let’s get started, in order to make spectacular drinks, you’ve got to start with great tasting, fresh coffee. The only way to ensure your coffee is fresh is to roast it yourself, or buy it straight from the roaster.

The internet is a great place to buy fresh coffee because they can ship it out within a day or so of the coffee being roasted! It is not subject to waiting on the shelf until someone decides to buy it. You will love the difference in fresh roasted coffee versus what you will get at the grocery stores.

Here are the most common espresso based beverages:

Straight Espresso

A straight shot of espresso is not as popular in the U.S. as in Europe. In fact, it is Italy�s most commonly consumed coffee drink.

Part of the reason is because the American pallet is not as accustomed to the strength of straight espresso. In addition, American roasters frequently over-roast the beans leaving a bitter taste. To make matters worse, many coffee bars have neglected to properly train their baristas (the person who extracts the espresso).

Nevertheless, here are the variations of the straight shot and remember, always extract directly into a pre-warmed demitasse (small, 2-3 ounce cup), because the shot will cool extremely fast.

 Coffee Drinks

The Straight Shot:

  • Ristretto � (or short shot) Meaning restricted, this is a shot that is stopped at � of an ounce. This restricted extraction ensures that only the best qualities of the coffee are extracted and not the bitter elements. This is the preferred straight shot in Europe.

  • The Single � Basically a shot extracted to 1 ounce.

  • The Lungo – (or long shot) a shot extracted to 1.5 ounces.

  • The Double � A 2 ounce shot using twice as much coffee in the portafilter.

The Americano:

An Americano is a really good way to enjoy a regular strength cup of coffee. Simply extract a shot of espresso and fill the rest of the 6 to 8 ounce cup with hot water. This makes a smooth cup of coffee similar to drip brewed.

 Coffee Drinks

The Espresso Macchiato:

Macchiato means �marked� in Italian. Therefore this drink is a shot of espresso marked with a small amount of foamed milk dabbed on top with a spoon and served in a demitasse.

Espresso Con Panna:

Con Panna means �with cream� so basically this drink is the same as a Macchiato except using a dab of whipped cream instead of foamed milk.


By far the most difficult coffee drink to prepare properly, there are misconceptions about the cappuccino in the United States.

Most Americans think of a cappuccino as espresso with dry, tasteless foam spooned on top. When prepared properly, a cappuccino is made with velvety, wet foam that mixes with the pour instead of a large bubbled meringue floating on top of the espresso.

The secret is discussed on my frothing milk page. But simply stated, the cappuccino is a shot of espresso with steamed milk poured in without holding back the foam (like in a latte).

The Caffe Latte:

The latte is the coffee drink preferred by most Americans and is easy to prepare.

Start with a single shot of espresso for a 6 to 8 ounce drink. Pour in steamed milk, but hold back the foam with your spoon until about 70% to 75% full. Then top it off with foam.

For a larger latte (12 to 16 ounces) use a double shot to maintain the coffee flavor.

Flavored Coffee Drinks

When using flavored syrups, add the syrup directly to the espresso and then stir thoroughly before adding steamed or cold milk. This help the syrup dissolve and mix thoroughly.

Also any of these drinks can be made cold, just use cold milk (not steamed) and add ice and blend if desired.

 Coffee Drinks

The Caffe Mocha:

The caffe mocha is a variation of the latte but with chocolate syrup added before adding the steamed milk. After the milk is added, an additional stir may be required.

Typically, mochas are topped with whipped cream and sometimes chocolate sprinkles.

Also Read : If You Love Coffee and Espresso

Flavored Lattes and Cappuccinos:

There are many high quality flavored syrups on the market that can flavor any kind of coffee drink. Some of the more common flavors are vanilla, hazelnut, Irish cr�me, caramel, peppermint, and butter rum.

Even some fruit flavors do well in coffee. Just add the syrup to the espresso, stir, and add steamed milk and stir once more. If you like, top with whipped cream and/or sprinkles.

One more thing, if you’re like me, after a while of drinking these drinks you may need to check out some weight loss tips! Just kidding, but those calories really can sneak up on you.

For more information, check out my page on coffee syrups.

For drinks made from drip brewed coffee, see my coffee recipes page.

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