Love coffee? Then you’re in good company as coffee is the second most popular beverage on Earth, the most popular being water. Around two billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day.
Most coffee shops serve espresso, which means ‘fast’ in Italian. It is made in an espresso machine which forces steam through dark-roast coffee bean to produce a strong, aromatic drink with a layer of golden-brown foam or crema on the surface. Espresso is drunk black, maybe with a small amount of sugar.
A single shot of espresso is known as un caffe and forms the basis for the dazzling array of coffee drinks that greet you when you venture into your local Starbucks. If you have trouble telling a Latte from a Cafe Au Lait, here is a visual guide to help you:
A Visual Guide To Coffee:
Let’s Talk Coffee:
The ever-popular Cappucino is made from equal measures (around 60ml) of espresso and steamed milk, with another equal measure of foamed milk on the top. Top it with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or grated chocolate and enjoy the velvety texture of the milk combined with the strong dark coffee.
If you’re a chocolate lover, then you’ll find a Mocha hard to resist. Sweet and luxurious, a Mocha consists of equal parts of espresso, chocolate powder or syrup and steamed milk. Top it with some whipped cream and chocolate flakes if you’re feeling really indulgent.
Latte is a shortened form of the Italian caffè latte, which means “milk coffee”, a perfect description for this easy-to-drink beverage which is made of a single shot of espresso to three parts of steamed milk, with a small amount of foamed milk on the top.
A coconut latte is made by combining two shots of espresso with coconut syrup and chocolate syrup and then filling the cup with steamed milk. Top with a splash of foam and some grated chocolate or toasted coconut. Close your eyes, sip slowly, and allow yourself to be transported to your tropical island paradise.
Café Au Lait
Café Au Lait is French for “coffee with milk” and is similar to the Italian Latte. It can be made with either strongly brewed coffee or espresso topped with heated or steamed milk, which is usually served separately.
An Americano is a 30ml of espresso topped with 60ml of water. It is believed to have originated in World War 1, when American GIs would order their espresso with water because it was too strong. Not a good move when you trying to keep up your macho image.
The Macchiato is at the other end of the strength-spectrum to the Americano. If you like your coffee strong, then this could be the beverage for you. A Macchiato is simply a shot or two of espresso with a dot of foamed milk to mark the surface – and ‘marked’ is exactly what Macchiato means.
This is a tasty combination of espresso, caramel and foamed milk, sometimes with a hint of vanilla. Add sugar or drizzle with caramel sauce if you like it sweet.
Doppio, which means double in Italian, is simply a 60ml shot of espresso, rather than the usual 30ml shot.
A ristretto, also known as a ‘short black’, is the first 22ml shot of espresso in an extraction and is considered the perfect espresso.
So now you’re an expert on espresso, but where’s the best place to drink it? New York, of course! Seven times as much coffee is drunk in New York as in the rest of the world. No wonder it’s called the city that never sleeps.