Intro: Steaming hot confusion in a cup? Not anymore! We have cracked the code to distinguish coffee types that always seem to blend together.
As coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, it's no surprise that there are a multitude of varieties to choose from, which can be quite befuddling. The differences between each brew don’t just deliver you a refined palate that lets you enjoy your joe more, it also gives you some serious bragging rights!
Iced Coffee & Cold Brew
Iced coffee and cold brew are both served cold, but their brewing process is as distinct as a penguin and a polar bear. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then suddenly chilled, while the cold brew is steeped slowly in cold water, producing a silky-smooth taste as serene as snowfall. So, if you want to relax with a coffee that has a soothing feel, give the cold brew a try.
Espresso & Ristretto
Though they may seem visually similar, espresso and ristretto are actually two separate coffee shots, each possessing its own distinct personality and flavour profile. Espresso is the high-strung, Type-A personality of the coffee world — it's made with finely ground coffee and high-pressure water, resulting in a bold and intense flavour meant to wake you up. Ristretto, on the other hand, is the laid-back, go-with-the-flow type of coffee shot — it uses the same amount of coffee as an espresso but less water, resulting in a sweeter and smoother taste that's perfect for sipping slowly as life rolls on by.
Macchiato & Cortado
A macchiato is an espresso shot that comes topped off with an ample amount of milk foam, making it strong and visually striking. A cortado, on the other hand, features equal amounts of milk and espresso, creating a subtle and creamy taste. So, if you’re hankering for a strong coffee with a touch of milk, go for the macchiato. But if you prefer a balanced coffee with a creamy texture, then cortado is the way to go.
Caffè Latte & Flat White
Caffè latte and flat white are two espresso-based drinks that both use steamed milk, but they have distinct differences in their milk texture and amount. Caffè latte has a higher milk-to-espresso ratio with a thinner layer of steamed milk, resulting in a creamier texture and sweeter taste. Flat white, on the other hand, has a lower milk-to-espresso ratio with a thicker layer of steamed milk, creating a velvety texture and stronger coffee flavour. So, depending on your taste preference, you can choose between the sweet and creamy caffè latte, or the bold and velvety flat white.
Mocha & Coffee with Chocolate
Coffee and chocolate have been an inseparable duo for a time we can’t remember. Maybe it's because they're both complex and sophisticated, yet can also be comforting and indulgent. Each drink has a dash of chocolate, either in the form of syrup or melted chocolate, but they are quite different in tasting notes.
A mocha is concocted from a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup, resulting in a rich and velvety texture with a strong chocolate flavour. On the other hand, coffee with chocolate is simply a regular cup of coffee with some chocolate in it. It may do the trick for some, but a mocha offers better blended-out flavours. Coffee already has chocolatey flavours, so adding chocolate may not make a difference to the taste and if you’re adding sweetened chocolate, it makes it quite sugary. So if you're looking for a drink with a more pronounced chocolate flavour, order a mocha.
In conclusion, while it's easy to confuse certain coffee types, taking the time to learn about their unique characteristics can truly enhance your coffee-drinking experience. From the velvety-smooth mouthfeel of cold brew to the bold and daring nature of espresso, there's a world of coffee flavours waiting to be explored. By paying attention to the nuanced notes of each brew - like the milky richness of a latte or the understated sweetness of a cortado - you can elevate your coffee game to new heights. So, go ahead and savour the complex flavours and aromas of your favourite coffee, and never settle for a bland and uninspired cup of mud again!