Coffee is everywhere and there are new drinks popping up every single day. With the rise of specialty coffee shops, reliable coffee chains, and classic standbys like your neighborhood cafe, types of coffee drinks are multiplying everywhere you look.
No wonder caffeinoholics around the world consumed nearly 166 million bags of 60 kilograms of coffee in 2021? Moreover, the American Chemical Society concludes that coffee has become the most widely consumed beverage in the US as the source of rich antioxidants.
Whether you are in your neighborhood coffee shop, in your favorite Starbucks, or in a brand-new specialty coffee roaster’s cafe, it can be hard to stay on top of the seemingly ever-changing menus. To help you out, we have compiled a complete list of coffee classics for you to try! Read on to discover all you need to know about thirty types of the most popular coffee drinks on the market!
We’re starting off with the very basics. Every good thing has its foundations and coffee certainly has a solid beginning. Sometimes the most simple things are the best so don’t skip these basic brews on your coffee journey! These are the 3 most basic types of coffee drinks.
Sometimes basic truly is best. Professionals in the coffee industry always take their coffee black – at least to start – as it gives you the best idea of the natural flavors of the coffee. See what flavor notes you pick up on when you try your next cup of drip coffee without any additions!
A step up from coffee and cream, the cafe au lait brings together drip coffee and hot milk in perfect union. Steaming the milk brings an element of sweetness as well as a rich and velvety texture to your freshly brewed coffee.
Coffee and Cream
If the cafe au lait is a little too rich for your liking, dial it down a bit with a simple medium or dark roast drip coffee and a splash of heavy cream or half and half.
Espresso Based Classics – Non-Dairy!
Not-so-basic basics include the espresso-based classics that we all know and love. Espresso is one of the most popular types of coffee drinks around the world. Espresso is a small, concentrated shot of coffee that is brewed with specific equipment. True espresso can only be made with an espresso machine that brews a small amount of finely ground coffee under immense pressure for a short period of time. This intense brew method produces intense flavors and an extremely caffeinated beverage in a small package.
The basis for so many of our favorite coffee drinks, espresso is a small and concentrated shot of coffee that packs a punch when it comes to flavor and caffeine! A shot of espresso tends to carry as much caffeine as a full cup of drip coffee.
The ristretto is a more concentrated version of the classic espresso shot. Ristretto Espresso shots are not brewed to complete volume or for the same amount of time as a classic espresso shot. This creates a rich, more intensely flavored shot of espresso despite its smaller size.
Lungo or Long Shot
In contrast to the ristretto, the lungo espresso shot is brewed to a greater volume and for a longer period of time. This mellows out the intensity of the espresso shot because the coffee is brewed with more water.
If you want the sharpness and intensity of flavor that you get with a shot of espresso but want to mellow it out with a different type of approach than the lungo espresso shot, the americano is the coffee drink for you. Simply put, it is a shot of espresso diluted with hot water to your preference.
The redeye packs a punch! This commuter favorite combines a shot of espresso with a drip coffee for an extra caffeinated beverage to keep you going through the workday!
Espresso Based Classics – With Dairy!
Take the espresso classics and add steamed milk for a delicious and smooth coffee beverage! These drinks are all traditionally made with whole milk but can absolutely be made with other options such as skim or 2% milk, as well as many dairy alternatives including soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and many other options.
Espresso drinks made with dairy are best suited for coffee drinkers in search of a more mellow approach to the intense and rich flavors of espresso. The dairy brings an element of sweetness as well as a smooth and welcoming texture to the beverage, making these drinks accessible and tasty to just about anyone!
A shot of espresso with a small dollop of foamed milk to cut the intensity.
Possibly the perfect coffee drink – a double shot of espresso with equal parts steamed milk. Strong and smooth. Cortados are small beverages coming in at approximately 4 to 5 ounces.
A timeless classic, the cappuccino is a great coffee drink to break up your afternoon. Espresso and piles of foamy, deliciously steamed milk. A cappuccino is different from a flat white or a latte because it requires foamed milk as well as steamed milk.
The halfway point between a cappuccino and a latte, the flat white is a popular drink in the United Kingdom and in Australia. It is continuing to grow in popularity in the United States for its potent coffee flavor and smooth, velvety texture.
Another undeniable classic, the latte is the perfect foundation for your morning. Espresso-based but not too strong, this beverage can be made with any milk of your choice – dairy or nondairy! Generally speaking, latte drinks come in sizes between 10 ounces to 16 ounces.
What’s better than a latte? A latte with chocolate. Mocha Lattes are a delicious drink for the wintertime, combining the classic latte with hot chocolate!
Another great twist on the classic latte is the caramel latte. Sweeten up your drink with a burst of smooth and warming caramel flavor. Definitely, a drink suited for those with a sweet tooth!
If you are a fan of chai tea, you do not want to miss out on this tasty drink. Chai Lattes are popular on their own but when you make it a Dirty Chai Latte, you are adding a delicious shot of espresso to an already delicious drink – double delicious!
Put It On Ice!
Sometimes it is simply too hot outside for a hot drink. Lucky for you, there are many iced versions of the popular hot drinks listed above in addition to plenty of unique cold coffee beverages to get you through hot summer days or even cool you off on a winter day, too!
This classic could also be listed as a basic brew. Often overlooked, classically brewed iced coffee is a light and refreshing beverage that comes in many sizes and flavors.
Whether you like to keep it classic with the house blend, try new single origins or ice a flavored brew, iced coffee is always the perfect way to cool down your day.
If iced coffee simply isn’t cutting it flavor-wise or when it comes to caffeine, no worries – iced espresso is an easy and delicious way to amp up the flavor and add an extra jolt of energy to your day.
Cold-brew is an amazing addition to your coffee library. Available brewed in cafes or at home, in cans, bottles, and concentrates, cold brew is a widely available substitute for the original iced coffee. Many folks prefer cold brew due to its richness in flavor and low acidity.
Nitro Cold Brew
This next-level cold brew beverage is one of the most popular coffee drinks worldwide and there is no wonder why!
Nitro Cold Brew is a special version of cold brew because there is added nitrogen to the cold brew coffee which creates a creamy and velvety texture while decreasing acidity and bitterness.
This sweet and tasty cold coffee beverage is known for its often high caffeine content so be warned!
We all love a latte but when it is the summertime, that is a lot of hot milk to drink on a hot day… so put it on ice! Iced Lattes are absolutely delicious and just about any latte can be made iced, including the cult classic Mocha Latte, Caramel Latte, Vanilla Latte and so many more!
Similar to the iced espresso, an iced Americano is a slightly less intense version. Adding a splash of water over ice along with your shot of espresso will mellow out the big flavors that come with espresso.
Espresso and Tonic
A very trendy and tasty new drink is the espresso and tonic. Served over iced and often with a twist of lemon, espresso, and tonic is an exciting way to drink your coffee cold.
The tonic brings an element of herbal flavor and refreshing, crisp bubbles that complement espresso perfectly.
Espresso and Lemonade
This may seem wacky but the espresso and lemonade is a coffee industry favorite among coffee professionals. Similar to the espresso and tonic, the espresso and lemonade is a refreshing and different way to enjoy your coffee cold. We recommend the espresso and lemonade shaken and served over ice.
Frozen Blended Latte
We all know and love frozen blended coffee drinks – Starbucks brought us the Frappuccino and there was no going back from there. Try all of your favorite latte drinks blended with ice at home or the cafe whether it is the Caramel Latte or a new specialty blended drink, these are sure to pack a flavor punch!
Or Make It Boozy!
For all those who can’t help but want coffee all day and all night, don’t you worry – we’ve got plenty of suggestions for delicious, boozy coffee beverages to enjoy after hours!
Espresso martinis are found at many bars and for good reason. This classic cocktail brings an element of classic and a boost of caffeine with the added shot of espresso. The perfect way to start your night out or to keep it going!
Cold Brew and Whiskey
Simple and subtle, adding a shot of Irish whiskey or sweet bourbon to your cold brew over ice with adding a little extra oomph to your night!
Hot Bourbon Lattes are the perfect midweek pick me up. Available iced or hot, this drink is amazing whether it is summer or winter. Add bourbon to the latte of your choice or keep it simple with a classic latte and a dash of simple syrup to round out this sweet and balanced beverage.
This easy-to-fix coffee cocktail is a standard. Simply add the Irish whiskey of your choice to the coffee of your choice! If you are feeling fancy, substitute your regular creamer for a splash of Kahlua coffee liqueur.
Coffee Old Fashioned
Whether using cold brew or a coffee-flavored whisky, a coffee old-fashioned is a subtle and delicious after-dinner beverage. This warming cocktail is great for cool fall nights and getting cozy by the fireside.
Hot White Russian
Another cozy and decadent coffee cocktail best served hot is the Hot White Russian. Add a splash of Kahlua and a dash of hot coffee to warm up this traditionally cold beverage and you have a perfect wintertime cocktail!
The world of coffee is so vast and varied, there are unlimited options when it comes to new beverages to try. Every coffee shop is constantly building new beverages and maximizing its menus. So stop by your local shops and see what they have to offer. If you are looking for a place to start, this list is sure to keep you occupied for a while before you get your bearings and venture out on your own! Have fun caffeinating!