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A complete guide to the types of coffee drinks (and their ratios) - Coffee Life by EspressoWorks

Not all Coffee is Created Equal

There are many delicious types of coffee drinks out there to suit even the most discerning of tastebuds. But do you know what makes your coffee taste so good? Of course, the ingredients you use will play a huge part in the flavors you are able to extract. However, there is another often overlooked secret that makes your favorite types of coffee drinks achieve their amazing flavor. 

The key is actually all down to ratios and proportions. Every type of coffee drink you enjoy has a very specific ratio that the ingredients must be layered in, or they simply won’t taste and look right. In this article, we’ll go over 5 of the most popular types of coffee drinks and what ingredient ratios to use in order to make them flawlessly!

1. Latte/Caffe Latte

The name caffe latte literally translates to milk coffee. Aside from the smooth foam on the top, which can be created using a frotherand then poured to create intricate designs using a latte art pen, the most important thing about a caffe latte is the milk to coffee ratio. As the name suggests, this type of coffee drink has a higher quantity of milk than coffee. Typically, lattes require a 1 to 4 ratio of espresso to steamed milk. If you want a double or triple shot of espresso, up the milk quantity to 12 to 16 ounces. 

2. Cappuccino

Cappuccinos are undoubtedly one of the most popular types of coffee drinks out there. Originating from Italy, and invented by a man named Luigi Bezzerra in 1901, this iconic coffee beverage can now be found the world-over. What makes a cappuccino so special is…you guessed it, the ratio of ingredients! A standard cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam. It’s important to keep in mind that you should ensure the foam’s temperature does not exceed 65-70 degrees Celsius (149-158 degrees Fahrenheit). Use an espresso machine with a steam wand to get the most luxurious foam and use a thermometer to check the foam temperature. This will guarantee to make your cappuccino extra special!

3. Macchiato

This type of coffee drink is for those who crave a powerful espresso flavor. A traditional Macchiato is made with a ratio of 2/3 espresso and 1/3 milk. With this in mind, when making a Macchiato, make sure to use a burr grinder to get the best consistency when grinding your coffee beans. In addition, use a tamp to tightly pack your coffee grinds so that the espresso you extract is strong, rich, and full of flavor! Since you want your espresso flavor to shine in a Macchiato, also make sure your coffee machine is cleaned thoroughly on the outside with a cleaning kit and on the inside with descaling liquidThis will ensure your coffee is not contaminated or ruined as it is being extracted. 

4. Americano

The name Americano is usually used throughout Europe to signify that American coffee is generally not as strong as European coffee. This is why Americanos have a lighter taste than a typical shot of espresso, but it still maintains the overall flavor profile of espresso. To make a traditional Americano, make sure to use a ratio of 1 to 2 of espresso and filtered water. If you want the ratio to be precise, use an espresso measuring glass for the best results. You can also choose to freehand your ratio so that your Americano tastes just how you like.

5. Affogato

As far as unique types of coffee drinks go, the Affogato may just be one of the most intriguing out there. This coffee beverage (and we’re stretching the term beverage in this case) is more akin to a rich dessert than a typical cup of coffee. However, like with every other type of coffee drink on this list, crafting the perfect Affogato requires utilizing the perfect ratio of ingredients. You’ll need a ratio of 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream per 1 shot of espresso. You can also add in a splash of liqueur-like Amaretto for an extra kick. Enjoy this drink as soon as your shot of hot espresso is poured over the ice cream. 

Measuring Up to Greatness!

All types of coffee drinks are delicious in their own ways, but to stay true to each one’s individual flavor profile, it’s imperative to ensure you know what ratio of ingredients to use. Given that a lot of coffee drinks are a combination of espresso, milk, and foam, you’ll need to be a master of ratios to perfect each unique coffee recipe. 

If you feel like trying your hand at brewing up some delicious coffee classics, make sure to measure twice and brew once! Once you have the ratios of your favorite types of coffee drinks memorized, you’ll be able to claim the title of home barista and wow your friends and family with your advanced coffee knowledge and know-how!