Various Type of Common Coffee Beverages Explained

When you are reading the menu at a café, there are often many times that you are either unfamiliar with the names of the drinks or do not know what exactly sets one drink apart from the other.

Well, you are not the only one. With so many coffee concoctions, it seems fair for even a coffee fanatic to get confused. And though it is okay to ask the barista to explain the drinks, it would be much time saving and beneficial if you know the difference, beforehand.

This article will help you understand and differentiate various popular coffee drinks, and who knows, you might even end up discovering your new favourite.

But before that, it is necessary to understand the differences between the bean type. Check out our blog post that shares tips on how to become a coffee connoisseur by breaking down the differences between coffee beans and brewing methods.

So, let’s get started.

Different types of coffee drinks:


Espresso is much more than a drink. It is a method of preparation. It’s a highly concentrated coffee with a crema (foamy layer) on the top and serves as a base for many coffee drinks. It is thicker and highly caffeinated when compared to other coffee drinks and is served as a shot, where a double shot is called doppio and three-shot as triple.

Related read: Is a shot of espresso good for you?

Related read: Espresso shot- Is it stronger than a regular cup of coffee? 

(Designed for coffee connoisseurs who like to prepare a creamy cup of espresso at home, our Don Carlos Espresso Casa ground coffee is a prestigious blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.)


Americano is nothing but a diluted form of espresso. Depending on your strength preference, you can have it with a single or double shot. Although it has the same caffeine content, the high volume and less concentration make it weaker than a shot of espresso.

Related read: Espresso vs. Americano. 4 Major Differences Explained.


Decaf or decaffeinated is a coffee with almost no amount of caffeine. The beans go under the decaffeination process to remove the caffeine. But here’s the catch, decaf coffee is not entirely caffeine-free. It contains roughly 3 mg of caffeine per cup.

Related read: Decaf coffee: Good or bad? 

(Fancy your coffee without the hit of caffeine? Try our Decaf Ground coffee and Nespresso compatible decaf coffee capsules. We select full-bodied coffee beans to maintain flavour and intense aroma without the presence of caffeine. The coffee is low in acidity, has a pleasant aftertaste, and rich crema.) 


A concoction between espresso and steamed milk is known as a latte. 1/3 espresso is added to 2/3 steamed milk with a thin layer of foam and is whirled later to make latte art. The milk is added to reduce the acidity and bitterness of the espresso.

Iced coffee

Iced coffee is your regular black coffee served over ice. As an addition, you can add milk over it to cut the bitter flavours of the coffee.

Espresso Macchiato

P.C.: Assolatte

In Italian, Macchiato closely translates to ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’, which is the idea behind this coffee drink. A shot of espresso is stained with milk foam or a tablespoon of steamed milk.


Cappuccino is prepared by adding milk foam and steamed milk to a shot of espresso. The resulting drink is creamy and has a robust taste of coffee.

(Shop Nespresso compatible cappuccino capsules at the Don Carlos store, a creamy drink with the aroma of coffee.) 


Mocha is a result of a coffee-chocolate concoction. It is prepared by adding 1/3 espresso to 2/3 steamed milk. The mixture is later topped with cocoa powder.

Latte Macchiato

Latte macchiato is a reverse form of espresso macchiato, where the 2/3 steamed milk with a thin layer of foam is stained by 1/3 of espresso.

Flat White  

P.C.: ABC News – Walt Disney

Having its origin from New Zealand or Australia, Flat white is similar to a latte but has a high proportion of milk as it uses a very thin layer of microfoam and is served in a smaller cup than a latte. Therefore, it is a bit stronger than a latte. 

Café au lait

P.C.: CoolBrew

Instead of using espresso as a base, café au lait uses the coffee pressed with French press and then later is topped with a dash of milk. It uses a 1:1 ratio of coffee and steamed milk for the preparation.


Originated from Spain, cortado means ‘cut’, which refers to the steamed milk cutting through the intensity of the espresso. It uses a 1:1 ratio of both espresso and steamed milk with no additional foam. It is commonly mistaken for a flat white and macchiato due to the similar resemblance.


Affogato is a coffee concoction where a shot of espresso is topped with a scoop of ice cream. It makes an ideal choice for dessert.


P.C.: Bontea Coffee

Lungo is a variation of espresso. It uses more water than espresso, resulting in a drink with less bitter flavours and more volume. The ratio for water and espresso is 1:3.

Long Black

P.C.: Taste Atlas

Long Black is prepared in reverse order of Americano. Two shots of espresso are added to water for preparing Long Black.

Related read: Espresso vs. Americano. 4 Major Differences Explained.

Vienna Coffee

P.C.: Coffee Ninja

Vienna coffee is a cream-based coffee drink. It uses a lot of whipped cream and two shots of espresso for its preparation. It is then topped with chocolate syrup and chocolate toppings, making it a fancy and high-calorie drink. 

Related read: How many calories are there in a cup of coffee?

Irish coffee

One of the boozy coffee concoctions, Irish coffee, requires five ingredients for the preparation: hot water, coffee, sugar, whiskey, and whipped cream. The whipped cream is poured over the back of a spoon until it floats. The resulting drink is delicious and drunk through the cream.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is a better version of iced coffee. It is made by soaking coarse-ground coffee in cold filtered water for 12-24 hours. Later the grounds are filtered out, leaving a highly concentrated coffee that is less bitter and less acidic. It can be served with milk or over ice.

Related read: What is cold brew coffee? Why is it more expensive than iced coffee?

Nitro Cold Brew

P.C.: Pinterest

Nitro Cold brew is the variation of cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. The presence of nitrogen gas in the drink gives it a dense bubbly texture with a thick and heavy mouthfeel. This light-bodied, sweet drink with a smooth finish is often compared to draught beer. 

Related read: Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Is it better than regular?

Finally, it is the end of the list. Most of the drinks mentioned in the list use espresso as the base. The quality of the beans or ground coffee is crucial for preparing an excellent cup of coffee.

Shop premium quality Italian roasted coffee beansground coffee and Nespresso and Dolce Gusto compatible capsules at our Don Carlos store that deliver an Italian-style espresso.

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