Espresso coffee is arguably the most popular coffee drink in the world – it’s enjoyed by millions of people.

A drink of such immense global repute is bound to exist in different types to suit the preferences of different cultures around the world.

The most common of espresso coffee drinks are:

  • Flat White
  • Red Eye Coffee
  • Au lait
  • Macchiato
  • Cortado
  • Cappuccino

But before diving into knowing these different types of coffee drinks, it is important to establish what defines an espresso coffee, and get to know a little history about this renowned beverage.

Espresso Coffee: What is it?

To many baristas, espresso coffee is defined as a type of coffee whose preparation involves the use of the espresso machine and characterized by three main ingredients – high-pressurized hot water, steamed milk, and finely-ground coffee.

It is the variation in the ratio of each of these ingredients during preparation that brings out the different types of espresso coffees.

But what makes espresso coffee so special?

This is a very divisive question among coffee experts in different regions. Some experts say that espresso coffee has a much higher caffeine content per unit volume compared to other types of coffee – as much as 212 milligrams of caffeine per 100-gram serving.

Some feel that espresso coffee bears a much richer and a much fuller taste than regular coffee, a claim attributed to the absence of filters during its preparation. These filters are said to compromise with the natural taste of coffee.

Different Type of Coffee

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to know more about all your favorite espresso coffees.

1. Café Au Lait

This is a type of espresso whose only ingredients are coffee and hot milk. As its French name might suggest, this espresso has its origins traced back to the 20th century France. While it may seem similar to white coffee, café au lait requires hot milk in its preparation instead of cold milk that is used in making white coffee.

2. Cappuccino

For most people, it is the cappuccino coffee that comes to mind anytime they hear the word “espresso”. Arguably, the most popular of all espresso coffees, cappuccino represents espresso coffee in its original form.

As a matter of fact, the origin of the cappuccino predates the invention of the espresso machine by hundreds of years. But interestingly, the cappuccino does not have its origins in Italy, but in Austria.

3. Red Eye Coffee

It is also referred to as dead eye coffee, canadiano, or black eye coffee.  The red-eye coffee gets its name from the eye-like structure it creates on the cup while serving. Others believe that the coffee got its name from its consumers who needed to stay awake throughout the night.

4. Macchiato

The macchiato or rather café macchiato is a type of espresso which is prepared using very little milk (usually one or two teaspoons) and known for creating a distinctive white spot on the espresso. Essentially, when “café macchiato” is directly translated from Italian means “spotted coffee”.

5. Cortado

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The cortado is another common espresso coffee beverage. It gets its name from the Spanish word “cortado” meaning “cutting” or “to dilute”. This is due to the fact that milk seems to dilute into the coffee during its preparation.

This beverage is extremely popular in Mexico where its preparation is almost similar to that of the café macchiato. In Cuba and other South American countries, this espresso is commonly known as the “cortadito”.

6. Flat White

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Another immensely popular espresso coffee is the flat white espresso. The espresso has its origins traced to the 1980s Australia. It’s prepared by pouring double shots of espresso and somewhat resembles Caffe Latte except it has a smaller volume.

Espressos Come in Different Tastes and Sizes

There are so many ways to enjoy your espresso. Don’t limit yourself, try as many as you can until you find “the one”!

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