Espresso Drinks (Important Facts, Popular Types, and How to Make Them)

You have your favorite espresso beans and machine, and your now ready to make one of your favorite coffee drinks. Maybe you get confused at the local coffee shop as to which drink is which and exactly what is behind each name.

Each espresso drink has its own variety of ingredients that make up its unique character. While some are so vastly different than the other, there are others that are very close but yet claim there own stance. For example, The Macchiatto is an espresso shot that is “stained” with a little drop of milk, while a Caramel Macchiatto is a very sweet drink, closer to a desert, with multiple ingredients that make up its composure.

What is the best temperature for espresso?

This temperature is controlled by the thermostat of the espresso machine and should be 190 to 196 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the brew in your cup will be between 160 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat loss occurs in the brew group, the air, and the cup.

How many BARs of pressure does it take to make espresso?

Espresso is simply a method, a way to brew coffee. In fact, any coffee can be brewed as espresso—though some types taste better than others. Making espresso involves pushing hot water through a compact ‘puck’ of grounds at high pressure, usually at around 9 bar (9 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level).

What temperature should milk be frothed at?

What is the optimal temperature for steaming and frothing milk? Milk proteins will start to break down and burn around 170°F. The ideal temperature for steaming milk on a home espresso machine is between 150°F155°F. Most cafés serve coffee beverages between 155°F – 165°F.

Re-steaming milk won’t act as a simple reheat. It will continue to cook and burn the milk, giving your coffee a strange, burnt or bitter flavor. If the milk is heated too much, the proteins in the milk go through a change that is not fixed by simply cooling it down again.

At what temperature does milk boil?

212.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Milk is a mix of butter fat and water so it is slightly heavier than water. The boiling points of liquids are due to the gravity of the liquid. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), while milk boils at 212.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is frothed milk the same as steamed milk?

Steamed milk is the cornerstone of the traditional latte. Frothed milk is produced not only by heating the milk with the steam wand, but by using it to inject air into the milk, creating small bubbles that will become the foam on your cappuccino.

All drinks are approximate as some may desire more or less of the ingredients. Each drink can be enjoyed in many different ways as coffee is that “SOMETHING” to build around.

1 oz espresso (1 shot)


The original straight up! For many this is a love or hate idea, but when we consider coffee, this is as raw as it gets. Pour the shot into a tiny cup and you’re finished. Settle in and enjoy the taste of super strong espresso coffee.


2 oz espresso (2 shots)

For those who love there coffee strong and want more of it, this is it. 2 espresso shots, often referred to as the ‘double espresso’.


3 oz espresso (3 shots)


2 oz espresso, 4 oz hot water

This is a drink that was favored by the American soldiers in World War 2 while in Italy. The story is they were not as keen on the strong espresso the Italians drank so they helped it out by adding some water, hence getting its name.  Adding water to espresso weakens it but makes the taste more palatable to some. If you are used to regular brewed coffee, then this may be a smart choice. An addition that is favored with this drink is a little milk, however you soon might not be drinking espresso at all.


2 oz espresso, Steamed milk 2 oz, foamed milk 2oz

This is a popular trendy drink favored by baristas and youth. Although it eventually caught on with the larger population and the larger food market. Traditionally cappuccino is a breakfast drink and ordering after 11am in Italy may get you some strange looks. Most americans will drink this for breakfast but there is a percentage that will drink it between meals also. If you want a Dry Cappuccino, order it without the steamed milk. Dry Cappuccino– espresso 2 oz, foamed milk 4oz.


2 oz espresso, 10 oz steamed milk

The sweet tasting coffee treats for milk lovers. This is the drink that created Latte art(creative designs in the crema of coffee.) Espresso mixed with steamed milk and a thin layer of frothy milk on the surface creates a lovely drink.


2 oz espresso, 2 oz chocolate, 1 oz steamed milk  

Chocolate Lovers! I’ve found your coffee. This is a beverage for customization. Additions from cinnamon to marshmallows can make this a very happy drink. This is a drink with a shot of espresso under a layer of chocolate that is under a layer of steamed milk.


2 oz Espresso, .75 oz milk drop

Macchiato means ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ in Italian. A tiny drop of milk is used to change the difference from that of a normal espresso. The idea is that a small amount of milk moderates, rather than overwhelms, the strong espresso while adding a touch of sweetness. This is an espresso shot with a tiny amount of milk added, served in a espresso cup.

Caramel Macchiato

1 oz espresso, 4 oz milk, 1 oz caramel, 3 oz hot water, whipped cream

Known for its attractive pattern of criss-crossed carmel, this may be closer to a desert than a beverage. This sweet coffee drink is not to be confused with ‘The Macchiato’. Caramel Macchiato begins with a shot of espresso, a layer of caramel,  steamed milk covered with milk foam, then whipped cream, drizzled with caramel.


2 oz espresso, 3 oz vanilla ice cream

What a great match! Only one way to find out. Some restaurants and cafes consider this a desert rather than a coffee drink. A scoop of ice cream or gelato, and a shot of espresso. The Affogato!

Cafe con hielo– 2 oz espresso, icecubes

Flat White

2 oz espresso, 4 oz steamed milk

A Flat White is smaller, with the same amount of espresso but less milk, which makes the coffee stronger. The milk in a Flat White is prepared differently as well using a technique that produces what we call ‘stretched milk’(creating micro foam bubbles using the steam wand.)

Long Black  

2oz espresso, 3oz hot water

No this is not an Americano! There is a subtle difference. To make a Long Black, the hot water must be poured in the cup first, and the espresso is added after. I know it seems pointless, but you’d be surprised at how some coffee drinkers may get if you tell them it is just the same as an Americano. The idea with a Long Black is the espresso retains the crema that will just sit on top of the coffee drink.


.50 oz concentrated espresso

A Ristretto(short pull) is about half the size of an espresso. It is a shot of espresso that is pulled for half the amount of time, but with the same amount of coffee. It is also about half the size of an espresso. The main idea is that a Ristretto is the first half of a full extraction, giving the coffee a more concentrated flavor and a different balance of the compounds. Trying one at the same time of an espresso is recommended to really understand the difference.


Lungo is Italian for long. It is the opposite of the Ristretto(short pull). A Lungo is a shot of espresso that is pulled for double the amount of time but with the same amount of coffee, creating a larger volume than the normal espresso shot. It is also less strong but more bitter than a normal espresso shot. Compared to an Americano or Long Black, the Lungo should still be pulled shorter and also have a distinctly different taste.


2 oz espresso, 3 oz half & half

The quaint alternative to the Latte that originated in the U.S. Its second name – the Half and Half gives more of a clue of its contents. The difference between this drink and a cappuccino is a breve uses half milk and half cream and a cappuccino uses milk.

Con Panna

2 oz espresso, 3 oz whipped cream

Here is another one for the sweet tooth. This is a super simple espresso with whipped cream known as Cafe Vienna. Traditionally served in a tiny cup, this hot drink is one of the oldest known ways of serving coffee.


2 oz espresso, 1 oz hot milk

Travel to Spain or Portugal you’ll see the cortado everywhere. This is a very popular variation in certain countries and unheard of in others.  Latin America favorite. The Cortado is an espresso mixed with an equal amount of warm milk- not frothed or foamed.

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