The Guide To All Espresso-based Drinks

Espresso has been the driving fast coffee in America for several decades. The popularity of espresso-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos is a testament to people’s love for espresso. It’s beloved in all forms. This magical brew method has changed the way we indulge in coffee. But how are these espresso-based drinks made?


A single/double shot of espresso. The most authentic way to enjoy a cup of espresso. Ground coffee is added to a small metal basket; the portafilter. Tiny holes in the basket allow liquid to pass through and prevent any pieces of ground coffee from making it into the brewed cup. Once the portafilter is locked in, the pump is activated to push almost-boiling water through the coffee. After about 25-30 seconds, a perfectly brewed espresso sits underneath. For the complete guide to making espresso, click here.

brewing espresso


A cappuccino’s ratio is one-third espresso, one-third hot milk, and one-third milk foam. A dry cappuccino is perfect for people who like their cappuccino with less milk. 

Doppio/Double-shot Espresso

Doppio translates to double in Italian. Doppio espresso is a double shot extracted using double the amount of ground coffee in a larger portafilter basket. It’s a double-shot espresso.


An Americano is similar to a cup of regular black coffee but is instead made by adding hot water to a single/double shot of espresso. This has a different flavor profile in comparison with traditional black coffee.

Caffè latte

A caffé latte, or latte, is made with one-third espresso, and two-thirds hot milk. It’s then topped with micro-foam. Lattes are made with a double shot of espresso and are generally enjoyed with cinnamon, brown sugar, or cocoa powder.


The third wave of specialty coffee has led to significant improvements in the art and science of latte making. Now in various parts of the world, the combination of external flavors has given rise to countless types of lattes.


Mocha is a latte with either cocoa powder or chocolate syrup. If your coffee inclinations are on the sweeter end of the spectrum, this is for you. Cocoa concentration can be customized to one’s preference. It’s also topped with a helping of whipped cream.

Espresso Macchiato

To make an espresso macchiato, add a small amount of steamed milk and foam to a shot of espresso. This is a popular one and a must-try.

Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato is made with steamed milk (anywhere between a third to half a cup) and a shot of espresso is added on top.

Flat White

Flat whites are cappuccinos with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio. While cappuccinos are made with milk foam, there’s none of that in a flat white.

Flat White


To make a cortado, all you need is espresso and steamed milk, in equal quantities. Unlike an Espresso Macchiato, here the milk foam is avoided for a less frothy drink.


A ristretto is essentially a strong shot of espresso. It’s typically brewed with ultra-fine coffee grounds and half the amount of water used in a regular espresso.

Piccolo Latte

Piccolo translates to small in Italian. A piccolo latte uses a ristretto shot of espresso and is topped with milk. It’s also served in a smaller cup.


An affogato has all the makings of an incredible dessert. To make one, pour a shot of espresso over a scoop of ice cream (typically vanilla).



Lungo translates to long in Italian. It’s made by pulling twice as much water through the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular espresso. The grind size is typically the same as your standard espresso.

Espresso con panna

Espresso con panna translates to espresso with cream in Italian. It’s made by adding a dollop of whipped cream to a single or double shot of espresso.

We’re now entering the world of coffee craziness for people that take their coffee very seriously. This isn’t for those among us who are caffeine sensitive. You’ve been warned.


A red eye is for people that enjoy a proper strong coffee. It’s made with a cup of black coffee topped with a single shot of espresso.


A black eye is for people who want to take it up a notch. It’s the same as a red eye but instead of a single shot of espresso, it has a double shot.

Black eye

Dripped eye

A dripped eye is for coffee connoisseurs who find the red eye & black eye too weak. For them, a dripped eye does the trick. It has three shots of espresso atop a cup of black coffee.

Lazy eye

A lazy eye tastes just as strong as a black eye but has less caffeine. It’s made by adding two espresso shots to a decaf cup of black coffee.

Black tie

A black tie is essentially a black eye but the black coffee is replaced with Thai tea. It’s made by adding a double shot of espresso to a cup of Thai tea.

Espresso is a drink with endless possibilities. There’s room for creativity. There’s room for mistakes, and there’s enough out there to keep us enamored. The technique is paramount to ensuring a proper espresso experience. Even the smallest change in parameters leads to a wildly different shot. Changing the grind, roast, water temperature, puck preparation, and type of green coffee beans can change the flavor, texture, and strength of your cup. This untapped potential is the reason why espresso is deserving of our love and loyalty.

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