Popular Coffee and Espresso Drink Types Compared

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It has happened to most of us before we go into a specialty coffee shop and look at a list of names that mean nothing to us. This is because there are countless different blends and many more ways to prepare them.

But there is hope! We can’t tell you every different kind of coffee or espresso drink, but we can tell you about the most popular ones out there, starting with how they are made. That way, the next time you hit the local java spot, you can order a cup of joe with confidence.

Infused Coffee Drinks

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is probably the most popular method of preparing coffee out there, and this method has been used in homes, offices, and cafes for years. This method pumps water from a reservoir, heats it, and passes it over a filter filled with grounds where it drips down into a carafe.

How to Prepare Drip Coffee

A good cup of coffee is made by brewing it to your tastes. We can tell you about the practical side of it, such as the best water, brewing time, and filter. But, the final product depends on your personal preferences to create the perfect brew.

Water

Water is necessary to make coffee, clearly, but many homebrewers just use their tap water to prepare it. This is okay, but, often it contains too much chlorine and too many minerals to make a truly good cup of coffee.

Similarly, just using distilled water runs into the problem of stripping too many minerals and leaving your brew flat. The solution is investing in a filter to remove chlorine and other components of tap water that can leave an unpleasant taste in your water, but not everything.

Grind Size

In a drip brew method, the grind size is not as crucial a component as it is in many other methods. However, you should not completely overlook it. Grind size still plays a significant role in flavor, and it is easy to control with most home grinders.

The Drip Coffee Machine

The coffee machine itself is the most crucial piece of equipment in this coffee process, so the machine you choose should be the most carefully considered part of this process.

With manual drip machines, most factors of measurement and timing are under your control, but with automatic drip machines, everything is preset. Unfortunately, many drip coffee machines are built cheaply, leading to a poorly chosen set of parameters. If this is the case, it can be hard to ever get a cup to taste just right.

Drip coffee machines are very reliable pieces of equipment that last a long time, so it is worth it to invest in a more expensive piece of equipment, if necessary, to get a flavor you like. You don’t need a certified coffee machine; many budget drip coffee makers can still brew a delicious cup.

How Much Coffee and Water is Best?

Brewing small batches such as single cups can result in insufficient saturation for the grounds, and this results in a weak cup of coffee. For single cups, it is definitely worth it to invest in a drip cone which can help reduce the amount of grounds needed to brew. Another option would be drip coffee makers designed for single cups.

Brewing Time

Brew time is determined primarily by two factors the style of brew and the water temperature. For drip machines or pour-overs, generally, the time the water should be in contact with the coffee is about five minutes.

However, this time is also dependent on water temperature. Generally, brewing times depend on the water being around 195° to 205°, and if it is colder than this, it will likely need to steep longer and vice versa.

Pour Over Coffee

Pour-over coffee truly puts control in your hands, and because of this, it can be daunting. So, follow these steps to get the perfect cup of coffee.

  1. Insert a fresh filter into the equipment you are using.

  2. Heat your water to about 200°F.

  3. Pour some water through your filter and your equipment to clean the filter and your equipment. This will remove contaminants from the filter as well as serve to preheat the entire system. Once you are making your coffee, the preheated equipment will prevent your equipment from cooling your coffee prematurely.

  4. Dispose of the used water.

  5. Grind your coffee beans to medium if not pre-ground. Remember grinding just before using can help maintain the best flavor.

  6. Put the grounds into your filter and level it out.

  7. Start a timer while pouring twice the amount of water as coffee evenly over the bed of grounds. This will get the pre-infusion started.

  8. Next, pour 30 grams of water over the bed of coffee and wait 30 seconds to let it bloom.

  9. After this, continue to pour about 100 grams at a time slowly and evenly over the bed of grounds. After each pour, wait 30 seconds and then pour again until complete.

French Press

A French press simply uses a metal screen and a plunger to press the coffee grounds to the bottom when you finish. Brewing is as easy as using the plunger, and you can choose how strong a brew you want simply by choosing when to finish.

Step 1: Prepare Your Coffee

Simply take your favorite coarse ground coffee blend and figure out how much you will use. The most common French Press size on the market uses about 60 grams of coffee or ½ cup. Add this to the bottom of your French Press before adding water.

Step 2: Prepare Water

Heat the water to a boil before pouring it hot over your grounds. Fill the French Press about ¼ of the way from the top and stir it well. Now let it sit for about 20 seconds to allow it to bloom and release volatile gases before adding water up to an inch below the top of the press and stir it again before letting it brew.

Step 3: Filtration

Place the plunger on top of the brew and wait 4-6 minutes before slowly pushing down to filter. If you feel resistance, just pull up a little and then push it down again. Once you push the plunger all the way down, your coffee is done.

Cold Brew

Making cold-brewed coffee is probably the easiest method if you have the time. Just add water onto the coffee, stir it up, and cover it for safety. 

Just leave it out for the night and strain it the next day first with a sieve to remove large debris, then with a fine filter medium such as a coffee filter. 

Finish by diluting the strong brew with water by adding an equal amount of water to the coffee concentrate.

Flash Brew

Flash brews use hot water to brew the coffee dripped through a filter, but the difference comes in the cooling process. After the coffee is brewed hot, it is rapidly cooled to preserve the flavor without the loss that occurs during a slower cooling process.

Even though both brews end up with a cold product, they have a very different taste. Due to the hot brewing, it brings more of the acidity locked in the grounds than from ordinary cold brewing.

Lightly roasted coffee beans are especially popular for flash brewing because of their more acidic flavor and aroma. Plus, in a cold drink, greater acidity is often a more welcome addition, so for more than any other audience, flash brews are ideal for those who enjoy their iced coffee black with no creamer.

In contrast, cold-brewed coffee generally uses more grounds for a stronger brew, yet because the cold water picks up less of the acid, it results in a smoother brew. These factors make cold brew great with milk and often best with a dark roast.

How to Make It

You will need a pour-over brewer for this recipe and be safe since you will be using very hot water.

  1. Start with a 1:10 ratio of grounds to water; generally, medium grind is fine.
  2. Place the grounds in your filter device.
  3. Fill the vessel with ice to about four-tenths the amount of water you’re using.
  4. Pour the water slowly and evenly through the filter.
  5. Enjoy refrigerated or with more ice.

Boiled Coffee Drinks

Percolated

Percolators used to be a popular tool to brew coffee; though not as popular a way to make coffee today, it still has its fans. A common reason for this is the strong aromatic brew it makes. Unfortunately, this stems from what might be its strongest drawback recirculating already brewed coffee and letting grounds escape the filter. However, with a little work, you can make an amazing brew with this method.

Step 1 – Prepare

Assemble the stem and stand before putting them in the pot. Then, fill the base with water up to slightly below the spring located at the top of the stem.

Step 2 – Add the Grounds

Add the correct amount of coffee to the grounds basket before attaching it to the stem. The exact amount to use depends on taste, but about one tablespoon to the cup is generally good.

Step 3 – Set It Up

Install the grounds basket cover and locate the dome in the center of the lid. Now use the lid to tightly cover the pot.

Step 4 – Brew Some Coffee

Start the percolator heating on a cold burner. Turn the heat up slowly until the percolator starts working; at this point, the “perking” sound will start. The exact time of heating depends on how strong you want your brew. But, when the perking stops, you know your brew is definitely ready to take off the burner.

Step 5 – Ready to Drink

Give your brew a little bit to let any escaped grounds settle to the bottom, then you are ready to drink. Enjoy!

Turkish Coffee

This is a common preparation method used in the Middle East, but it is a great way to enjoy coffee anywhere. Turkish coffee is made in a traditional long-handled pot called a cezve. Finely, ground coffee is placed in this and heated to a very near boil to cause it to foam. This may be taken off and redone multiple times to cause it to foam more.

To Prepare Turkish Coffee

To prepare it, add about 2 ounces of water to the cezve for every cup of coffee as well as sugar for taste. Then bring the water to a boil before removing it from the heat and adding one teaspoon of finely ground coffee for every cup. Then bring it to a boil again, remove the foam and then boil it at least twice more before serving.

Moka

Moka is coffee made with special Moka Pots. These are two-chambered coffee-making wonders that take the water from the lower chamber, push it up through a filter filled with grounds placed between the two chambers, and deposits the brewed coffee on top.

How to Brew with a Moka

  1. Place water close to the level of the valve.

  2. Fill coffee to the brim of the filter.

  3. Screw the Moka together and place it on the heat.

  4. Once the Moka starts gurgling, remove it from the heat and wait for it to finish coming through.

  5. Stir the coffee and serve.

Espresso Coffee Drinks

Espresso is an Italian method of brewing coffee that forces extremely hot water through coffee grounds (often compressed) at high pressure. This brews at about 200 degrees and 130 psi.

Until the last few years, espresso was made nearly solely in coffee shops, but with the advent of home espresso machines, it is possible to make espresso in the comfort of your own home. For this:

  1. Place a filter cone into the machine.

  2. Heat water to 200°.

  3. Pour your water through the filter and dripper to clean and preheat the equipment. This prevents a papery taste from the filter.

  4. Throw away the water.

  5. Place your grounds into the filter; medium grind is best. Level the grounds out, and you are ready to go.

Coffee and Milk Combinations

Coffee with Milk

Milk is probably the single most popular way to flavor coffee on the planet, and there is a reason why. Milk is primarily composed of fats and proteins as well as water.

The fats give the coffee a pleasant feel in the mouth that it normally lacks. This is because though flavored by the coffee grounds, coffee normally is composed virtually solely of water. By adding the fats in milk, it gains a thicker, more smooth feel.

The proteins act in the coffee to bind to compounds such as tannins. These compounds give coffee an astringent, bitter flavor that is distasteful to most. However, when bound to proteins, the flavor is covered.

Additionally, the proteins react with chlorogenic acids, which are the primary cause of coffee’s acidity. When this happens, it reduces the coffee’s acidity as well as the acidic taste. For many, this is a good thing; however, for others, acidity is an important component of coffee. So whether or not milk is a good thing is definitely a matter of taste.

Coffee with Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is a great complement to morning coffee. It is sweeter and more powerful than milk or regular coffee creamer and tastes great, either hot or iced.

  1. First, start with a cup of black coffee.

  2. Next, pour whatever amount of sweetened condensed milk you like into the coffee and stir it in. If you prefer iced coffee, you can add the ice now.

Coffee with Tea

This is a combination many people have strong feelings about. Drank plain, many do not like this mixture though others appreciate a 1:1 ratio of the two with sweetener. But, we think you will like this version of it with a few more ingredients.

  1. Make a regular cup of coffee however you normally do it, then fill a cup about three-quarters of the way full with it.

  2. Next, place a black tea bag into the coffee and steep it for two to three minutes. Remove the bag and stir the mixture.

  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar depending on how sweet you like it, and about ½ cup of evaporated milk. Ice is optional.

Coffee with Alcohol

You might have heard of Irish Coffee, but if not, it is a popular whiskey cocktail famous for its use of coffee. But, this is not the only one out there, and alcoholic coffee drinks are a surprisingly popular combination, especially given that coffee is a stimulant and alcohol has pretty much the opposite effect.

But why don’t you give it a try with this delicious recipe?

Irish Coffee

  • 1 Cup Coffee
  • 1 ½ cup Irish Cream
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon to Taste


Simply mix the Irish Cream and coffee before topping with whipped cream and cinnamon to taste.

Iced Coffee Drinks

Frappe

The frappé originated in Greece as a mixture of a few teaspoons of instant coffee, evaporated milk, sugar, and water. All you had to do was mix all of these ingredients together in a cocktail shaker until a thick foam developed.

Nowadays, frappes are really quite popular in coffee shops everywhere but typically made with a blender. If you want to make one of these drinks, you blend together strong coffee, water, ice, milk, sugar, and flavorings. Once you blend this drink, you can top it with a variety of toppings such as chocolate or whipped cream.

Freddo Espresso

A Freddo expresso is basically an iced coffee that uses espresso instead of regular brewed coffee. You make the drink by using a mixer to blend espresso with ice. This produces a nice creamy texture. Just be sure not to use too much ice. You don’t want to end up with watery coffee, you can add sugar to this drink, but it’s quite tasty without it.

To Make Freddo Espresso

  1. Make a double-shot of espresso.

  2. Mix for 10-20 seconds in a shaker with 4 ice cubes.

  3. Strain into a glass with more ice.

  4. Enjoy!

Freddo Cappuccino

If you enjoy high-quality iced coffee drinks but don’t like your coffee black, you should enjoy this coffee drink. It is the same as a Freddo Expresso, but with cream on top.

To enjoy a Freddo Cappuccino, simply top your Freddo Espresso with cream and enjoy.

Instant Coffee and Decaf Drinks

Instant Coffee

High-quality instant coffee is made today using freeze-drying. In this method, the coffee can retain all of its flavor and aroma, unlike old-fashioned spray drying techniques.

In this method, the coffee solution is frozen solid and broken into small pieces. Then the small frozen granules are placed at a regular temperature in a vacuum. As the granules warm up the frozen water quickly turns into a gas. Soon all that is left is dried coffee granules.

Instant coffee has a number of advantages in addition to being convenient. It has less caffeine, a longer shelf life, and may help reduce blood pressure. And on top of all of this, you’ll definitely save some money.

Decaffeinated Coffee

Decaffeinated coffee possesses less than 3% percent of the normal caffeine content found in a cup of coffee in the U.S. by law. The caffeine is removed by many different means but generally involves using organic solvents either directly or indirectly to remove the caffeine.

Other Types of Coffee Drinks

Affogato

An affogato is a popular dessert beverage. It has been served in Italy for years, but Starbucks has helped to make it popular in the U.S.

To make an affogato, you pour hot expresso over an icy Frappuccino, and it makes a nice creamy coffee treat.

Babyccino

Babyccinos are becoming a popular drink among young children. It is made in two different ways. Some parents give their children frothy steamed milk and foam, and other parents have a shot of decaf espresso along with the steamed milk and foam.

Caffé Medici

The Caffe Medici originated in Brooklyn and is a double shot of espresso. It is extracted over orange peel and some chocolate syrup. Then, whipped cream is added as a topping.

Café Touba

Café Touba is a Senegalese spiced coffee common in Africa. Cloves and other spices are added to the coffee, and it is brewed as a pour-over. It is served differently in the United States than in Africa. In the U.S., it served as a latte with milk. Whereas in Senegal, it is served black with a lot of syrup.

Canned Coffee

Canned coffee was first sold in Japan during the late 1960s. Different additions have been added over the years, such as milk and flavorings. Canned coffee is now sold in the United States and is quite popular, and comes in many different varieties.

Coffee Milk

Coffee milk is a really simple drink. You make it by pouring the coffee syrup into milk. The coffee syrup is basically concentrated coffee that has been sweetened with sugar.

Double Double

Most people think of double-double as a Tim Horton’s coffee drink. But it’s actually just used by Canadians to mean coffee with two sugars and two creams.

Egg Coffee

Egg coffee originated in Scandinavia and was brought to the United States by immigrants. Adding an egg to coffee makes it less bitter. The process can seem a bit odd. You actually add the egg, shell and all, to the coffee grounds before brewing.

Indian Filter Coffee

South Indian Filter Coffee is made in equipment that consists of two cups that are placed one on top of the other. The one contains small holes and acts as the coffee filter. You place the coffee in the upper cup, and it drips into the lower cup.

You can also tamp the grounds with the included pressing disc while the coffee is brewing. After you brew the coffee, you pour it between two cups to cool the coffee and mix in hot milk and sugar.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to prepare a great cup of coffee and even more ways to serve it up. If you are used to just turning on your coffee machine in the morning, why not live a little and try one of the many different techniques and recipes you have learned about here.

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