Know your coffee!

JAN 18 -

If you’ve ever scratched your head at long coffee lists and wondered what all these funky-sounding drinks are, and fretted which one to choose, we’re here to help. Presenting the top five most popular coffee drinks available at most cafés and what these comprise of:

Espresso is a strong black coffee made by forcing steam through dark-roast aromatic coffee beans at high pressure in an espresso machine. A perfectly brewed espresso will have a thick, golden-brown foam on the surface. If this ‘crema’ is good, the sugar you add will float on the surface for a couple of seconds before slowly sinking to the bottom. Espresso is the foundation for a wide variety of specialty coffee drinks, but many aficionados and purists insist that adding anything is blasphemy. It should be taken either on its own or with a small teaspoon of sugar. Having it ‘short’ means that it has less water and is therefore more concentrated, and ‘long’ conversely uses more water and does not taste as strong.

This hugely popular coffee drink has become a staple that even the most common of corner coffee shops carries (or at least a version of it). A true cappuccino is a combination of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk froth. This luxurious drink, if made properly, can double as a dessert with its complex flavours and richness. It is common to sprinkle your cappuccino froth with a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate.

An Americano is a single shot of espresso added to a cup of hot water. The name is thought to have originated as a bit of an insult to Americans, who had to dilute their espresso when it first gained popularity in the US. Many coffee houses have perfected it, however, and the result has become a creamy, rich espresso-based coffee. Most like to drink it as they would their regular brewed coffee, with milk and/or sugar, but connoisseurs suggest keeping milk to a minimum to get the most flavour from the espresso.

Another favourite milky coffee, the latte has become the drink-of-choice for many. In Italian, the name literally means ‘milk coffee’ and like the very similar cappuccino, the latte is an espresso shot with steamed milk added. When poured correctly there should be a 1 cm head of foam on the top of the latte. Unlike a cappuccino, it should be served in a glass with no chocolate on top.

Despite the popularity of other milky coffee drinks, the flat white continues to be what most people opt for. This is the drink of choice for those who enjoy the strength of a cappuccino, but not the foam that goes with it. To make a flat white, simply top up an espresso with steamed milk, ensuring just the milk is added, instead of the foam.


Posted on: 2013-01-18 09:03