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From Espresso to Mocha: Coffee Styles Explained

From Espresso to Mocha: Coffee Styles Explained

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks throughout the world. Wherever you go, you will find it enjoyed slightly differently, but there are a few styles that you will find almost everywhere.

Here is a guide to some of the more popular options when you need to get your caffeine fix.

The espresso is the base of many coffee styles. It is a very strong, very small 'shot' of coffee that is produced by forcing steam through ground coffee beans at pressure, which usually requires a special machine. You can tell a good espresso because it will have a thin 'crema' – layer of foam – on the surface.

A smaller and even more condensed form of espresso, the ristretto is considered by some purists to be the perfect way to serve coffee as it produces a bolder, fuller coffee flavour.

The macchiato is a variation on the standard espresso which is created by adding a measure of steamed milk to the top of the cup.

Italian for "espresso with cream", an espresso con panna is, as its name suggests, a standard espresso that has a layer of whipped cream added to the top.

The americano is simply a shot of espresso that is then topped up with water. All that is usually added is milk and sugar, but many aficionados would insist that the flavour is realised more fully without anything being added.

This form of the drink originated in France and uses a slightly larger short served with a small amount of warm milk.

Originating in Australia and New Zealand, a flat white is similar to a latte or cappuuccino where steamed milk is added to an espresso base. However a flat white uses a thicker, more velvety foam on top of the drink and is usually served in a cup smaller than a cappuccino.

Made popular in Spain, a cafe bombon uses espresso with condensed milk. The milk is added slowly to the coffee to create distinct and contasting layers as the coffee settles on top. The drink is usually served in a glass to accentuate the striking visual effect.

The caffe latte is one of the most popular styles of coffee, and it is also one of the most simple. It consists of a single shot of espresso – or two if you prefer – which is then topped up with steamed milk. How much milk you add depends on how strong you want it, however a caffe latte will usually use somewhere between three and five parts milk to one part coffee. You can also add some sugar, but that is about as complex as it gets.

This French variation of the latte is made using brewed coffee instead of an espresso, and as a result it is usually weaker than a latte. It typically consists of a half measure of coffee and a half measure of steamed milk, but the measures vary according to taste.

The famous cappuccino consists of a shot of espresso topped up with steamed milk and foam, which is then usually covered with grated chocolate or cocoa powder. However, there are many variations on this basic formula, and the most elaborate cappuccinos can often double up as a dessert. It is a complex blend of flavours and is ideal if you like a bit more sweetness with your coffee.

The mocha, or mocaccino, usually consists of an espresso topped up with hot chocolate and steamed milk to provide a good option for those with a sweet tooth. Chocolate may be added in the form of powder or syrup, but there are many variations and it depends where you drink it. You may be able to get some whipped cream added on top, taking it into dessert territory.

Also known as drip coffee, filter coffee is prepared by adding hot water on top of ground coffee beans and slowly passing through a filter. Whilst passing over the ground coffee, the water absorbs some of the oils and flavourings before being collected in a pot.

There is a coffee for everyone these days, so pick and choose depending on your mood. Whether you want to sit down and take your time over a hot mug as you people watch, or you want to grab a quick cup to go, whether you need a pick-me-up in the morning or a boost after lunch, choose the right style for the moment and enjoy your coffee.

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