What are espresso drinks? Espresso is a small strong drink using finely ground coffee and high-pressure water and is the base of many enjoyable drinks.
One part that can’t be missed is the crema, the top layer.
You can have a whole post on crema. It’s that top little brown part that looks almost caramelized that has its own properties and flavors.
It’s usually the first thing that goes into your mouth. There are three layers to an espresso.
The top one, the crema, has a taste of its own. It even has bits of coffee grind in it, and it has a different texture.
If it has a viscosity to it, a fluffiness, It’s a good signal if your coffee is fresh or not. So, if you’re getting shots pulled & you have no crema on it, it could be a sign that your coffee is stale or not fresh.
Espresso is the base for many drinks. It is one ounce, a doppio is two ounces, a double shot.
These days two ounces, 60 ml, are the traditional amount you put into an espresso drink.
We are presenting here the conventional espresso drinks that are common that people typically order.
Our first drink Is the Affogato
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One of our favorites is the affogato, and it’s so easy to make if you have an espresso machine.
If you don’t know what an affogato is, one small scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over the top.
You take a scoop of ice cream, vanilla or vanilla bean works well, and not even half an ounce of espresso coffee. It’s perfect, and it’s good.
Our Number Two Is Ristretto
That means restricted. You’re getting a smaller, more robust espresso restricting how much water you are going to add.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the word “stronger” in coffee.
What do we mean when we say stronger?
We mean more intense in terms of the flavor. It’s more robust when there’s less water.
It extracts the coffee at a different rate, and it could turn bitter.
You probably want the grind of the coffee to be slightly finer for ristretto.
The water is going to go through slower & you will not get the bitterness.
Different coffees will have different flavors, obviously, and then the different grinds you use will affect the taste of the shot. The extraction time will also affect the ristretto.
There are so many aspects to consider, a second more, a second less, finer, or a little courser will affect the coffee or the ristretto.
Longo is Our Next Drink
The next drink, “longo,” is Italian for long, the opposite of ristretto.
Longo has two to three times more water, as you would typically put in espresso and ristretto.
What you’re trying to do is balance the acidity as you add the water.
Do the opposite of what you do for the ristretto, grind courser, so the water comes through a little faster.
The more water we add, the more we counteract acidity. It’s a preference at this point.
Macchiato Is Next
The first espresso drink that’s other than water and coffee is the macchiato.
You’re not getting too far away from coffee and water.
It might be hard to differentiate between the milk and the crema in a small amount of coffee.
A common question about macchiato is: why don’t people stir macchiatos?
Why don’t you mix the milk to get it completely infused in the coffee?
Espressos go into three layers, and if you mix them, you’re going to get everything together.
You’ll get a consistent, balanced espresso. By not stirring, the first thing you taste is crema.
Not mixing keeps intact all the different layers of the coffee.
All the drinks here are in such a small quantity that they cool quickly, which will affect the flavor.
If coffee is hot, it can trick you into not tasting the low-quality stuff even more.
As it cools, if the coffee is not just right, you’ll taste it.
You need to pay attention because there are so many definitions of what your macchiato is.
Cappuccino the Celebrity Drink
Macchiato is pretty typical now. We’re coming into a more commonplace espresso drink; something you can see now at most coffee shops is the cappuccino.
You can get it almost everywhere.
We are getting into a coffee drink territory that is probably better suited if you’re not a coffee drinker yet.
Suppose you don’t like coffee that much. Cappuccino is going to be a better intro because there’s a little more milk.
It’s a little milder in its flavor and the intensity of it.
Café latte or cappuccino?
You start with a café latte or cappuccino, and you enjoy the coffee flavor so much you want less milk.
So, you go down to a “cortado,” which is made with less milk until you say, I want an espresso straight.
If you start with that, it’s going to make your lips pucker–like enjoying biting into a lemon.
It’s a shock compared to the cappuccino. It’s a drastically different intensity.
Many things could be real, and some could be myths about a cappuccino.
There are so many exciting things that may or may not exist.
The Rule of Thirds with a cappuccino, for instance, is another myth.
There’s a third of each espresso, milk, and foam in the cup in equal parts.
The first time you came across that was around 1950.
Perhaps that’s not how they were making a cappuccino considering the original name was from the 19th century.
As you look at how it’s been for an extended period, it’s typically been two one ounce of espresso and two ounces of milk, and two ounces of foam.
That seems to have been the oldest tradition in Europe.
Cappuccino has a lot more foam than people expect
There’s more foam than there is espresso if you’re doing a one-two-two.
The milk in a lot of these coffees needs to be velvety, almost like a cream.
When making a cappuccino at home, if there’s too much foam, it might become a much larger macchiato.
You must froth the milk well to taste the sweetness of the milk combined with the sweetness of the espresso itself, and you have a great cappuccino.
There’s a whole new subset of variables that add or subtract from the taste. You might have a jar with either cinnamon or chocolate in some places in the world that could be sprinkled on top of the cappuccino.
Here Comes the Latte
The café latte does not originate in Italy, yet it’s Italian (the name, not the drink).
Café latte is an espresso drink. When espresso spread worldwide, but some people thought it was very bitter & intense.
So what should we do?
We’ll add some milk to sweeten it down—more milk and less foam than a cappuccino.
It has a larger amount of milk, and it became known as café latte–latte, meaning milk.
Is there a typical ratio of the café latte?
It varies – one espresso, two milk, would be a typical latte, or one espresso, two milk, and one foam, in the other variety.
The size of your cup you put the coffee in makes a tremendous difference.
It’s sometimes hard to get the right size coffee into the right size cup or the right amount in the cup’s size.
Last but Not Least, Café Americano
Americano was invented it in Italy in WW2.
Espresso was new to the Americans, a bit too intense, and they would ask to “water down” the coffee.
A shot of espresso, then filled up with hot water.
With an americano, you put the shot in first and then the hot water.
You do the opposite with a Long Black, you pour the water first, then the shot.
Even with two simple ingredients, the order, amount, and ratio can drastically change the coffee.