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Food + Drink

Understanding classic espresso drinks

In a world of double tall extra-hot skinny no foam mochachinos it can be hard to know what to expect when walking into a professional coffee shop staffed by professional Baristas. While these shops may seem intimidating compared to your local Starbucks, the jargon is easy to learn and most Baristas are more than eager to share their passion for coffee with a new comer. Here are a few of the more common coffee drinks to help get you started.

The Macchiato

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood drinks at any espresso bar, the humble macchiato A. should NEVER be covered in caramel syrup and B. Should be less than 2oz in volume. The macchiato is simply espresso with a very small amount of steamed milk that helps to curb the coffee’s acidity. It is most often served in a small espresso cup.

The Cappuccino

A classic cappuccino runs about 8oz in size and features espresso with steamed milk. In comparison to other espresso drinks, a cappuccino is made with milk that has been more aerated, making the milk fluffier and creamier than in other drinks. The milk is also heated to a slightly lower temperature which makes it sweeter.

The Latte

A latte tends to have a higher milk to espresso ratio than any other espresso drink, a typical ratio being 1 oz of espresso to 11 oz of steamed milk. While the milk is still aerated it has less volume than a cappuccino, leaving less foam at the top of the drink and allowing for greater versatility in making free pour latte art.

The Cortado

The cortado falls between a cappuccino and a macchiato. Typical milk to espresso ratio runs between 1:1 and 1:2 and is typically served in a 4oz glass cup. The milk is steamed on the thinner side similar to a latte. Like any of these espresso drinks, it is a great beverage to make at home as well as to order at your local cafe.


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