To make a shot of ristretto, water is forced through the ground coffee just like the process of making espresso but more quickly. There’s less caffeine compared to regular espresso but the same amount of coffee oils and flavor. It’s short and sweet,: What’s not to love?
2. Flat white
The flat white is a pretty hip drink. It was developed in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s and is slowly gaining traction stateside. It’s made by pouring steamed milk from the bottom of a pitcher, aka “microfoam,” over ristretto.
3. Café cubano
The sweet and saucy Cuban espresso is an espresso shot sweetened with raw cane sugar during the brewing process. It serves as a base for other drinks like the traditional café con leche or the cortado.
“Cortado” is Spanish for “to cut,” and this drink is a shot of espresso cut with warm milk. It’s served in a small demitasse that forces you to slowdown and appreciate its coffee creamy goodness.
5. Red eye
A close relative of the Americano, the red eye is espresso mixed with brewed coffee. Other names include a Black Eye, a Shot in the Dark, an Eye Opener, and an I Can’t Do This Anymore.
The name yuanyang refers to Mandarin ducks. The male and female look very different — like the coffee and milk tea used to make the drink — but still represent conjugal love in Chinese culture. Romantic drink is romantic.
7. Café con hielo
Café con hielo translates directly to “coffee with ice” but this drink is straight up iced espresso. Perfect for those days when it’s a fiery hellscape outside and your bed is too good to pass up.
8. Vietnamese iced coffee
In the 19th century, the French introduced coffee to the Vietnamese during their colonial occupation. Fresh milk was scarce, so they used sweetened condensed milk in local coffee and the cà phê đá, literally “ice coffee,” was born.
9. Café frappé
Before the frappuccino, there was the Greek frappé: foam-covered iced coffee. It was invented accidentally when a Nestlé employee was serving their instant coffee mix at a fair, but couldn’t find hot water. He improvised with cold water and ice, and the drink was a hit.
10. Espresso con panna
Espresso con panna is Italian for “espresso with cream” in Italian and it’s just that—sweet whipped cream mingling with the bitterness of coffee OMNOMNOM GIMME.
11. Café viennois
A classic in the cafés of Budapest and Vienna, the viennois is made of espresso, hot milk, and whipped cream. Make it iced and it’s MMM YUM.
The final and most decadent evolution of the two former drinks, the affogato is ice cream or gelato with espresso, and sometimes coffee liqueur, on top. “Affogato al cafe” means “drowned in coffee” so can we be like, “LET’S GET AFFOGATO’D!”
13. Caffè corretto
This drink is prefect for the classy pregame. The corretto is an Italian cocktail of espresso, grappa, and sambuca or brandy. Now that’s what I call a coffee buzz AYOOO!
14. Irish coffee
The classic cocktail is made of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar topped with thick cream. It was invented in the 1940s by a man named Joe Sheridan who added whiskey to coffee and served it to customers to warm up in the winter.
So play around with your new coffee vocab and a whole new world of caffeine will open up to you!
This post is not meant as an exhaustive glossary of coffee drinks. For a more complete understanding of coffee terminology, check out three of the best books ever written on the topic: Left Coast Roast, The Infinite Emotions of Coffee, and The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. Other great resources for news and city guides are Sprudge and the coffee posts Liz Clayton and Erin Meister write for Serious Eats.
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