With all the options out there in the coffee world ― triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato ― it’s time you learn the difference between your cappuccinos and your flat whites, your Chemex from your French press. The world of coffee is vast ― with more than 38 kinds of coffee drinks in existence ― and if we want to drink the stuff we should probably know it.
Even if you don’t have plans to get fancy with your morning cup of joe, it’s still a good idea to know what’s what, just in case one day the desire for something tall, frothy and milky should strike.
In honor of National Coffee Day ― which lands on September 29 this year ― and out of respect to our favorite drink, here’s a guide to help us all order that morning cup with confidence.
For milky espresso drinks...
If you want something milky, foamy and equally caffeinated, order a cappuccino. If you hate foam, but love milk you should just order a latte, which is a shot of espresso and steamed milk with the teeniest, tiniest amount of foam (to get specific, we’re talking just 2 ml of foam compared to the 300 ml of steamed milk this drink gets). If you love the sound of a latte but are the type of person who needs chocolate in your life, go with a mocha. But if you do like foam, only you wish it was more velvety and not so stiff, order a flat white. It’s like a latte, but made with velvety, steamed micro-foam milk. Yes, it’s fancy.
For straight espresso drinks...
On days when you’re looking for something quick and strong, you should order an espresso. Or a doppio espresso if you want more of that espresso experience ― it’s basically a double shot. If you want the strength of espresso, but less of the liquid, a ristretto is your drink ― it’s a shorter shot of espresso. If you like the boldness of straight espresso, but are a little bit of a wimp, order a macchiato; it’ll come with a topping of foamed milk to help the deep, dark shot of caffeine go down. (Don’t worry, no one will judge if you need the foam. A lot of us need foam.)
For brewed coffee drinks...
If you think brewed coffee is just coffee, you are wrong. There are many ways to brew a regular cup, and in some coffee shops you can pick which way they make it. A pour over is one method many high-end coffee shops are brewing. It’s coffee that’s been slowly brewed, either with a Chemex or an individual coffee dripper. Order a pour over if you like a good, balanced cup of coffee, and don’t mind waiting for a cup. If you prefer a heavier flavor profile with your morning cup, the French press could be your order of choice. Because the grounds are immersed in water (for roughly three minutes) the resulting cup is bolder in taste. And if you want something super bold, order the red eye. It’s a coffee served with a shot of espresso in it. Bam.
Any way you take it, rejoice in the fact that drinking a cup of coffee every day really could be good for you.