Types of Coffee Drinks at Coffee Shops

Types of Coffee Drinks

You’re standing in line, eyes scanning the menu with fervor…flat white, cappuccino, pour over, cortado…so many types of coffee drinks. Then the inevitable, “next!” You panic. Decision time is here. There is a line forming or folks in dire need of their coffee. What do you do?

It can be stressful; we understand. That’s why we’re here to help. The following are brief descriptions of a plethora of types of coffee drinks. May this piece forever calm your coffee stresses.












Espresso is a very concentrated coffee experience. Just as every human has a range of characteristics and personality ranges, so do all coffee beans. With a shot of espresso, you’re intaking that full range of characteristic + personality in under 50 grams. Prepare yourself. But then enjoy! (P.S. it’s “espresso” not “expresso”)


Lattes are a great choice if you want espresso and volume. A latte is merely espresso and steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of milk foam.












5.5 ounces of steamed milk, foam and espresso. The classic cappuccino has nearly the same amount of milk foam as espresso and steamed milk combined. Some folks have tamed the milk foam volume, converting the cappuccino into more of a mini latte. This divide between classic and progressive cappuccino styles creates some friction amongst cafés and coffee consumers, alike. Try them both and let us know which you personally prefer!

Flat White

Technically, a flat white is the same ratio of espresso and steamed milk as a latte, but with an even thinner (if any) layer of milk foam on top. Typically it is served at a slightly cooler temperature for easy drinking. Australian coffee culture was informed by the coffee culture found in Italy, so both use textured (e.g. foamed) milk. The use of milk foam leads to confusion between a flat white and a cappuccino, but don’t let anyone make you feel small for knowing that the flat white truly is different from any other drink.
















A macchiato is an espresso with a buffer…literally. It’s pure espresso (usually 2 shots) with a suggestion of milk foam, to cut the espresso. With a macchiato, you experience the  full integrity of the espresso and a nice accompaniment of milk.


The cortado is a Spanish drink, the name of which means “cut,” for the espresso is cut with steamed milk. ‘Isn’t that just a flat white?’ you might be thinking. The biggest difference between the two is that the Spanish don’t use textured milk. So, while the milk is steamed, it’s not steamed to the point of texture or foam. Cortados are smaller than a cappuccino, but larger than a macchiato – it allows for sipping over time without filling up on hot milk. In Europe, traditionally a pinch of sugar will be placed in the cup before the shot is pulled and milk is poured.















The Gibraltar is the brainchild of Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco; it’s named for the Libbey “Gibralter” tumbler in which it is served. Gibralters are equal parts milk and espresso and are often made slightly cooler than other espresso-based drinks, which makes it nice for sipping.


The “One and One” serves you a double shot of espresso split into two drinks: one macchiato and a single shot served straight. A “One and One Fun” replaces the macchiato with a cappuccino. If you want to compare a shops espresso in various fashions, this is the drink for you.

Red Eye

This drink goes by many names, but no matter what name you use, they all elicit the same response: one shot of espresso in a cup of coffee. We don’t recommend a red eye for the caffein-sensitive or weak-of-heart. But, if a cup of coffee doesn’t quite give you the kick it once did, then this might be your next step. Do be aware when making your own: not all coffees and espresso shots complement each other.


Hopefully you have a better grasp of types of coffee drinks. If you still prefer making coffee in the comfort of your own home, check out our piece about the best ways to make coffee at home.



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