27 Different Types of Coffee, Explained

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Kaye Published: September 9, 2021 Modified: October 8, 2021
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Bored of placing the same coffee order from your neighborhood café menu? Or are you just interested to learn about the different types of coffee drinks? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you through coffee 101: from getting to know all kinds of coffee drinks, beans, and even brewing methods. Continue reading to find out more. 

15 Types of Hot Coffee Drinks

Different types of hot coffee drinks explained

In this section, we list different types of coffee drinks that are usually served hot in cafés. For a quick summary, you may refer to the coffee infographic above that details the basic characteristics of each kind.

Black Coffee

If you’ve ever wondered what black coffee is, you should know that it’s just your pure unadulterated good morning coffee. It doesn’t have extra ingredients like sugar or milk, and it’s made entirely with water and ground coffee beans. Given this fact, you can expect that it’s a bold and strong coffee drink with a dark, uniformly liquid appearance. This is the one to go for if you want to enjoy the classic coffee flavor.

READ ALSO: Coffee Maker With Grinder: 12 of the Best For Coffeeholics

Espresso

With one of the most recognizable coffee names out there, still not many people know what espresso actually is. At its core, an espresso drink is a highly concentrated coffee brew that’s meant to be served as individual espresso shots. It’s usually served in a demitasse which is a type of cup considerably smaller than your regular coffee sizes.

Apart from the standard single shot espresso, there are also different types of this drink that you should know about. The first one is the doppio or double espresso which, like its name suggests, is a serving of coffee that is double the amount of the Italian small coffee. This double shot espresso is used in popular drinks like the dirty chai latte. There is also the lungo which is like a more watered-down version of the espresso. Sweeter drinks are also available in the form of the espresso con panna which has a whipped cream topping, and the affogato al caffè which is espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato.  

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Caffè Americano

While it might look similar to a plain black coffee, the caffè Americano actually has a completely different base and flavor. Instead of brewing the drink from coffee grounds and water, it’s made with water and espresso (ratio of two parts to one). Some might also confuse this with the long black. Although these two have the same components, they are entirely different coffee drinks. That’s because in the Americano, water is poured into the espresso, whereas the opposite is true for the long black. 

Caffè Latte

Latte coffee is widely regarded as one of the best coffee options for beginners. That’s because this Italian drink is made with espresso diluted with two parts of milk (hence the name caffè latte which means milk coffee or coffee milk). It also has a thin milk foam layer on top, providing a pleasantly creamy and frothy texture that you wouldn’t normally get from a serving of Americano. It can also be infused with other flavors, with the famous pumpkin spice latte as a good example. Baristas, or people who make coffee drinks, usually serve them in a bowl or a wide-mouthed mug with a 10 to 15-ounce capacity.

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Cappuccino

This type is often confused with other espresso-based café drinks. The cappuccino is very similar to the caffè latte in terms of both appearance and actual components. So, what makes the former different? The answer is actually in proportion: a standard cappuccino recipe is made with equal parts espresso, milk, and froth. Hence, it’s also creamier and foamier. You’d often find this served in a smaller five-ounce cup. And yes, cappuccinos have caffeine – although it might not be as concentrated as other undiluted types. 

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Caffè Macchiato

Caffe macchiato is another coffee shop staple. But what does macchiato mean? Its name is an Italian word that translates to “stained” or “spotted,” reflecting the drink’s appearance. There are two types of this coffee beverage: the latte macchiato and espresso macchiato. The former is milk “spotted” with a shot of espresso, while the latter is espresso with a bit of milk. Compared to the latte and cappuccino, a macchiato doesn’t have a layer of foam on top. The standard serving of this drink is three ounces. 

Flat White

The Australian flat white coffee is espresso with a flat layer of hot milk foam on top. Compared to a cappuccino, it’s less foamy and less milky. It’s also smaller than a latte since this type of coffee is traditionally served in a wide-mouthed ceramic cup with a capacity of 5.5 ounces. 

Caffè Mocha

While some might confuse caffè mocha as one of the other names for coffee, it’s actually a type of the said beverage. Also known as mocaccino, this is one of the sweetest coffee types you can try since it’s composed of one part espresso, two parts steamed milk, and chocolate or cocoa powder. Although, you can also enjoy using a simple mocha drink mix. This extra element sets it apart from other milky coffee kinds like the latte. Baristas often serve this in a tall glass with a capacity of 16 ounces.

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Irish Coffee

This is one of the most popular boozed coffee types. Irish coffee is a cocktail concoction of Irish whiskey, hot coffee, sugar, and cream. Unlike other coffees, it’s best to serve this Irish beverage in a stemmed wine glass with a six-ounce capacity.   

Red Eye

The red eye is a drink that consists of brewed coffee finished with a single shot of espresso on top. It might have one of the more peculiar drink names on this list, but it’s aptly named when you consider the ability of this caffeine-on-caffeine combo to keep you awake when you need it the most. There are a few coffee styles similar to this one that you can also try, and one of which is the black eye. It has a bolder taste since it consists of brewed coffee, a double shot of espresso, and cream.

Cortado

Cortado is a strong and creamy Spanish coffee drink that consists of equal parts espresso and warm, steamed milk. Unlike the latte or flat white, the milk component of this drink isn’t frothed. This type of coffee is best served in a small, five to seven-ounce glass.

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Café au Lait

This French drink consists of equal parts coffee and hot milk. These components are reflected in its name, as café au lait is French for “coffee with milk.” It’s also known as café con leche in Spain. Any type of coffee base would work for this drink, really – from simple drip and French pressed coffee, to the more complex espresso. So despite its fancy name, it’s actually one of the few kinds of coffee that you can easily achieve at home. Serve in a six-ounce footed bowl for a more authentic experience.

Ristretto

Ristretto is an Italian coffee type that is similar to espresso but is much more concentrated. Needless to say, it’s the opposite of decaf coffee since it’s jam-packed with caffeine. This drink requires the same amount of coffee grounds as the latter but more finely ground. Plus, this only needs water that is half the amount of what you need for an espresso. All these make it stronger. In coffee shops, it’s standard to serve ristretto shots in demitasse cups.

Breve

Breve is among one of the slightly sweeter coffee drinks as it consists of one shot of espresso and half-and-half (equal parts whole milk and cream). It’s warm and frothy, with just the right amount of creaminess. This drink is best served in a standard cappuccino cup with a five-ounce capacity.

READ ALSO: 15 Best Coffee Substitute Drinks to Switch up Your Daily Routine

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Decaf

Among the many different kinds of coffee, decaffeinated or decaf coffee is an excellent choice for those who plan to cut down on their caffeine intake. That’s because this type undergoes a special process that removes almost 97 percent of the coffee bean’s original caffeine content. Drinks similar to this decaffeinated caramel coffee are perfect for late-night cravings, too.

8 Types of Iced Coffee Drinks

Different types of iced coffee drinks

Cold coffee drinks are usually served with extra ingredients like sweeteners and cream. For a quick summary of the differences between the most popular types, use the coffee chart above for reference. 

Iced Coffee

The name of this coffee drink pretty much sums up what it actually is: coffee that is brewed traditionally, and then served over ice in a tall glass. It can contain sweeteners and cold milk to enhance the drink’s flavor even more, such as in this cinnamon-caramel iced coffee recipe.  

Cold Brew

This is one of the most sought-after coffee products right now. Unlike iced coffee, cold brew coffee isn’t brewed with hot water. Rather, the coffee beans undergo a steeping process at room temperature or cold water for 12 hours or more to extract all the flavors. As a result, it has a sweeter and less acidic taste overall. You can also stir milk or chocolate into this drink for variety. 

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Frappuccino

We can’t talk about sweet coffee drinks without mentioning this trademark Starbucks beverage. This modern concoction basically is a mixture of ice-blended coffee or crème and a plethora of flavors, from fruit to chocolate syrup, like in this vanilla Frappuccino recipe. It’s served in a tall transparent glass, displaying the drink’s attractive colors. Then, whipped cream is squeezed on top to finish off this fun and playful drink for your coffee bar ideas.

Iced Latte

Iced latte is perfect even for casual coffee drinkers. Similar to the hot drink, the main components of this beverage are espresso, with a splash of creamy milk on top. The only difference is that this is served over ice in a tall glass.

Nitro Cold Brew

Also one of the more popular types of coffee at Starbucks, this drink is a modern reinvention of the cold brew. Like the original, it’s also produced by slowly steeping coffee beans in water. What sets it apart is the fact that it undergoes a special nitrogen infusion process. This results in a smoother mouthfeel and naturally sweeter taste without extra sweeteners.

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Iced Espresso

The basic components of this coffee espresso beverage are ice, cold water, and of course, espresso shots served in a short, wide-mouthed glass. Although sometimes, it can also have other ingredients like cold milk, cream, and sugar for sweetness like in this espresso smoothie recipe.

Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona is one of the coffee drink recipes that’s amassed instant popularity over the course of its short existence. Part of its charm lies in the fact that you can easily recreate it at home with minimal ingredients and effort. Compared to regular coffee where java is the base and milk is the frothed topping, this one is the opposite of that. For the dalgona coffee, the base is a tall glass of milk. Then, it’s topped with a whipped coffee component that is made with equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and hot water. 

Mazagran

If you’re looking for more coffee ideas apart from the more usual ones, you can explore international varieties like this one. The mazagran is a sweetened Algerian iced coffee drink that is made with coffee, lemon juice, ice, and sugar. Some versions may use espresso as the base, and others may also add a boozy element like rum.

4 Types of Coffee Beans

Coffee beans on a wooden surface

How many types of coffee beans are there? The answer comes down to four: arabica, robusta, liberica, and excelsa. These different types of beans come from all parts of the world. Each has its own unique flavors and characteristics, which may also be affected by the types of coffee roasts. For a more in-depth look, you can continue reading this short type of beans list.

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Arabica

Arabica coffee beans (Coffea arabica) are the most widely produced among all cultivars. They have a smooth and slightly sweet taste, with dominant notes of sugar, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. In addition, these Arabian beans have a mild fruity character. With their low acidity level and tame bitterness, these definitely make arabica beans some of the best coffee beans in the world. 

Robusta

Robusta coffee beans (Coffea canephora) are the second most dominant cultivar. They originate from sub-Saharan Africa, and nowadays they’re mostly produced in Africa and Indonesia. In terms of flavor, robusta beans have a distinctly strong, earthy, and grainy taste. They also leave behind a nutty aftertaste. Compared to Arabica, they are bolder and more bitter with twice as much caffeine. 

Liberica

Liberica coffee beans (Coffea liberica) are a Central African cultivar. They’re now also grown in other African countries like Seychelles, and Asian countries like the Philippines and Malaysia to name a few. Compared to other coffee varieties, these beans have a polarizing strong and smokey presence. They also have a floral and spicy quality that you won’t usually find in other coffee bean types.

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Excelsa

Although excelsa coffee beans (Coffea liberica var. dewevrei) have recently been categorized under the liberica family because of their physical characteristics, one cannot deny that the flavors they produce are very different from a standard liberica bean. This kind of coffee bean has a distinct fruity yet roasted quality that works best when blended with other types. They are widely produced in different countries in Southeast Asia.

9 Types of Brewing Methods

Different types of coffee brewing methods

All the different types of coffee are made with their own distinct brewing methods and/or preparation techniques. Some might be achievable using simpler types of coffee makers and tools, while others might require specialized types of coffee machines and grinders. Discover the most popular brewing methods below. 

French Press

Making French press coffee entails manually brewing a cup of joe. This method calls for a French press which is a piece of equipment that looks like a beaker with a plunger for steeping and filtering coffee beans.  

Espresso

This is a popular Italian brewing method that requires a special coffee maker known as the espresso machine. In this piece of equipment, a small amount of hot water is pressurized and pushed through a layer of compressed ground coffee, resulting in thick and highly concentrated espresso shots.

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Cold Brew

In the brewing method for cold brew coffee, beans are steeped in cold or room temperature water for at least half a day to extract the flavors from the beans. A cold brew machine can be used for this. Unlike brewed coffee, it isn’t subjected to heat. The steeped coffee is then filtered to separate the grounds from the liquid before serving the coffee drink.

Percolator

Using a coffee percolator is another convenient brewing method that you can easily achieve at home. This tool may look like an ordinary kettle at first, but it has a filter basket for holding coffee grounds within the pitcher itself. This is connected to a funnel inside where hot water can continuously pass through, effectively extracting the bean’s flavors in the process.

AeroPress

The AeroPress is a cylindrical-shaped manual coffee maker that you position on top of a cup before use. Ground coffee beans are steeped inside the tool, then the hot coffee is forced out and filtered when the plunger is pushed. This leaves you with clean brewed coffee that is ready for consumption.

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Moka Pot

The moka pot is another piece of brewing equipment that resembles a metal kettle. It is made up of two levels: the upper chamber and the bottom which serve as the water tank. As the water boils, it moves up through a funnel that passes through the pot’s coffee filter basket. After this, the brewed coffee is released in the upper chamber.  

Drip

As long as you have a standard drip coffee maker, water, and coffee grounds, you can brew coffee any time at home without a problem. Simply push the button on your piece of equipment, and it will do the work for you by continuously dripping water on the beans until your drink is ready. 

Pour Over

With this method, you can achieve one of the easiest coffee drinks to make at home: pour-over coffee. All you’ll need is a coffee cone that you position on top of a cup, and a paper filter that you place inside the cone. Fill the contraption with ground coffee beans, slowly soak them with water using your best gooseneck kettle, and you’ll have freshly brewed coffee in no time.

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Single Serve

Using single-serve coffee pods is another quick and efficient brewing method. With your choice of a coffee capsule and the best Nespresso machine or Keurig at your disposal, you can have café-quality drinks with coffee with just a push of a button.

Experiment With All Types of Coffee Drinks, Beans, and Brewing Methods

Now that you’re well-versed with the different types of coffee, you can try exploring flavors and blends beyond your go-to coffee shop orders. If you’re up to it, you can also dabble into trying new brewing methods at home. Who knows, your future favorites might just be around the corner!

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Kaye

Kaye is a writer and a recent oat milk convert. With a background in Language Studies, she has founded a deep appreciation of cultures, traditions, and the power of words. In her spare time, she enjoys testing some of the trendiest and most accessible recipes on the internet.

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