Coffee beans are one of the greatest gifts to humanity, along with doughnuts, milk and the ability to innovate. With these gifts combined, I’m proud to say that as the keepers of the top of the food chain we have come up with a cornucopia of coffee combinations, the most popular of which we shall explore forthwith.
But first, the main ingredients. Most coffee (but certainly not all) comes in one of two forms:
Espresso is a highly concentrated form of coffee. In order to make espresso, coffee beans must be very finely ground and brewed using an espresso machine. Espresso machines force a small amount of water through the grounds to make a small drink that packs a big punch. It’s an excellent option for road trips!
- Drip Coffee.
Drip brew or filtered coffee is made by pouring hot water through a filter containing ground coffee beans. Most honest Americans just call this stuff “coffee”.
And just as humanity has evolved, so has coffee and its many variations. Here is a look at some common coffee combos.
Common Coffee Combos
- Latte: Lattes are made from espresso and steamed milk, generally with a small layer of foam on top.
- Cappuccino: Cappuccinos are a combination of steamed milk, foam and espresso. The difference between cappuccinos and lattes is that cappuccinos are considerably foamier.
- Breve: Breves are not for the faint of heart. Or the concerned of waistline. A breve is simply a latte made with half and half rather than milk.
- Americano: If it’s a drip coffee you’re after, but you’re at some fancy pants French place that only serves espresso, an Americano is the way to go. Americanos are made by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso and taste approximately like a good old working man’s cup o joe. For twice the price. With added prestige.
- Mocha: Mochas are lattes plus chocolate. And sometimes whipped cream.
- Cortado: Cortados are made from espresso and a small amount of warmed milk. The name comes from the Spanish for “to cut,” as just enough milk is added to cut the espresso.
- Macchiato: Anywhere other than Starbucks, a macchiato is a shot of espresso with a tiny bit of milk foam on top.
- Espressino: Espressino is made from espresso, steamed milk and cocoa powder.
- Black Eye: A black eye – also called a red eye, a hammerhead, a shot in the dark and a thousand other names – is a powerful combination of espresso and drip coffee.
- Café au lait: Cafés au lait differ in the American and European traditions. In America the beverage is made using drip coffee and steamed milk. In Europe, generally espresso is used.
That pretty much covers the typical beverages found in most coffee shops. However, coffee is a beverage loved the world over and many countries around the world have their own special way of mixing up the drink.
Coffee Around the World
- Café miel: Café miel is a sweet French treat made from espresso, steamed milk, honey (miel being French for “honey”)and cinnamon.
- Café touba: This Senegalese favorite is made from coffee and grains of selim (a member of the pepper family) and sometimes cloves.
- Vietnamese coffee: Vietnamese coffee is made from a strong, specially brewed coffee and condensed milk. >>Learn more about how to make Vietnamese coffee.
- Indian coffee: Indian coffee, also known as filter coffee, is made from dark roasted coffee beans and chicory. It’s brewed using a similar device as Vietnamese coffee, and is usually served with warmed milk and sugar.
- Irish coffee: Irish coffee is a combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar and cream. It’s perfect for days when you don’t wake up until 5 p.m. You know the ones.
- Turkish coffee: Turkish coffee is made from very finely ground coffee beans, which are left in the cup when served. >>Learn more about how to make Turkish coffee.
- Yuanyang: Yuanyang is a mixture of coffee and green tea, popular in Hong Kong, Malaysia and other parts of Asia.
Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or bitter, milky or dark, chances are there is the right kind of coffee out there for you.