While there are coffee snobs, there are also coffee lovers who are happy with any coffee concoction put in from of them. These coffee lovers think they enjoy a good latte or macchiato, but the only difference between the two they can gather is the different cups the barista places them in. The general coffee lover has an extensive vocabulary, but they’re never quite sure of the full distinction in terms.
So what is your coffee order and what does it consist of?
For those who enjoy a good coffee but don’t understand the different categories you see on the coffee shop wall, we’ve got you covered. Here are the various terms you may see when deciding what coffee with milk option you want.
Lattes are mostly steamed milk with espresso, a little bit of foamed milk, and perhaps a flavored syrup like vanilla. The bitterness of coffee is cut by the amount of milk used in a latte. Try this fun latte at home, or this tea-based one for those that avoid coffee.
A cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. A cappuccino is an unflavored latte made with more foam than steamed milk and a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top. A similar drink to a cappuccino is the flat white, which is essentially a cappuccino without the foam. (Imagine an espresso drink with steamed milk.)
A galão is a hot coffee drink closely related to the latte and cappuccino except it contains much more foamed milk, making it a lighter, less acidic drink compared to the other two.
The macchiato is an espresso-based drink that has a small amount of foamed milk on top. A macchiato is not as creamy as a cappuccino, but with milk, it’s not as strong as a shot of espresso on its own.
A mocha is made with espresso, steamed milk, foam, and chocolate syrup. There’s a quick iced version you can make at home, as well as a dessert you can joke about being your daily cup of joe. Meanwhile, an affogato is a shot of espresso and a scoop of ice cream, while a con panne is simply a shot of espresso topped with lots of whipped cream. (Both sound like great options.) For a more traditional coffee drink, a cortado is equal parts espresso and warm steamed milk, which is used to cut back on the espresso’s acidity.
Café au lait is a black coffee with a splash of warm milk instead of cold milk.
Iced coffee is simply a coffee with ice served with milk, cream, or sweetener. Think of a drink like this coffee cooler, but with ice cubes that haven’t been blended. However, you can also ice espresso-based drinks like the mochas, macchiatos, lattes, and flat whites listed above. A cold brew is made by steeping coffee beans for hours before adding cold milk or cream while a frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink that’s topped with whipped cream and syrup. Frappuccinos can be cream-based instead of coffee-based, which is a good option for the younger family members who don’t need the extra caffeine. Here is a fun recipe similar to a frappuccino to make for the kids who want to join you for your coffee break at home.
Now that you can differentiate the categories on the coffee shop menu, it’s time to pick your favorite coffee and milk pairing and deliberate the best cookie to add to your order. Barista, we’ll take the same!