Coffee for dummies (types of coffee from macchiato to cortado defined)

If it doesn’t include a shot or two of espresso and isn’t enjoyed in a dimly lit, “quirky” café full of hipsters and unexplained objects, it ain’t coffee. So much for Frappuccinos then, huh?  In honour of Cappuccino Day this month, let’s give thanks to real coffee. (Well, real in the eyes intense, yet sad philosophy majors turned failed actors turned latte artists.) Memorize these definitions and you’ll never embarrass yourself in an independent café again.

coffee for dummies

Espresso

Number of espresso shots: one for single or two for a double (If you need more than two shots, you should probably just take a nap.)

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: n/a

Ratio of foam to espresso:  n/a

Best enjoyed: Straight or with a sprinkle of sugar in one go standing at the counter or collapsed in your chair after a heavy meal.

Americano

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: 1:1 (Increase the amount of water to espresso for a long or decrease for a short Americano.)

Ratio of milk to espresso: a splash if desired

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Choose an Americano over your traditional drip coffee for a more sophisticated, yet still plain start to your day.

Flat White

Number of espresso shots: one

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1 (milk textured and hotter than a latte or cortado)

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Order for your morning coffee break—just be sure to never confuse it with its Spanish cousin, the Cortado (see below).

Cortado

Number of espresso shots: one

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1 (milk smoother and cooler than a latte or flat white)

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Order for your morning coffee break—just be sure to never confuse it with its Australian cousin, a Flat White (see above).

Latte

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1

Ratio of foam to espresso: a dollop of foam to finish

Best enjoyed: Drink on coffee dates. While, it’s no tea, it should provide helpful sip breaks for at least the first fifteen minutes—better longevity than most espresso-based drinks. Annoy your barista (but increase its longevity) by ordering it “extra hot”.

Cappuccino

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 1:1

Ratio of foam to espresso: 1:1

Best enjoyed: Have a cappuccino when you hit that 4 pm low alongside a buttery croissant, crisp biscotti or moist muffin. Make it more indulgent with a spoonful of sugar or a dusting of cinnamon or chocolate. Never ask for skim or 1% milk in place of the higher percentage varieties. The fat content is necessary for perfect foam.

Mochaccino

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 1:1 (chocolate milk)

Ratio of foam to espresso: 1:1

Best enjoyed: Have a mochaccino when you hit that 5 pm low (and your cappuccino hasn’t hit the spot). Whatever you eat with it, it better include chocolate.

Macchiato

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: n/a

Ratio of foam to espresso: a dollop of foam to finish

Best enjoyed: Go for a macchiato when you’re undecided between the caffeine hit of an espresso or the smooth foam of a cappuccino. It’s the best of both worlds. And it’s the most likely to impress the hottie sitting at the neighboring table.

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