Most Popular Coffee Drinks and How They’re Different

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Americano, flat white, macchiatos, oh my! Here’s your handy list of the most popular coffee shop drinks and how each is made.

6 photos of different coffee drinks.

Differences in Coffee Drinks

There are two main differences in how coffee drinks are different. One is how it is prepared (espresso, coffee machine, French press are some examples) and the other is what’s in each drink.

For espresso drinks, the main difference the beverages is the ratio of espresso to milk and/or foam. A standard latte will be made with 2 shots of espresso, 10 ounces of steamed milk and little layer of foam while a cappuccino will be made with 2 shots of espresso and just 4 ounces of steamed milk and foam.

If you like more milk in your drink, get a latte but if you like a lot less, you can get a cortado which is made with equal parts espresso and milk. The different names of the drinks make it a bit confusing since with each slight variation, the name of the drink is changed.

Most Popular Coffee Drinks

There are so many coffee drinks out there and it’s hard to figure out how they’re all different. To help you figure out the difference, see my list of the most popular coffee drinks and see the variations in ratio of espresso to milk.

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Espresso
Made in an espresso machine using high pressure, espresso is a concentrated coffee drink. It’s the base of popular coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Espresso can be made using any kind of coffee bean from light to dark roast.
ESPRESSO:
1-2 shots
MILK: none
DRINK SIZE: 1-2 ounces
PRONUNCIATION: ESS-PRESS-SO
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Americano
Americano is a simple drink made from espresso and hot water so it’s like brewed black coffee but with richer flavor.
ESPRESSO: 1-2 shots
MILK: optional
DRINK SIZE: 12 ounces (2 shots espresso 10 ounces hot water) is standard, but it can be made in any size by adding or reducing the amount of hot water
PRONUNCIATION: UH-MEH-REE-CAHN-OH
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Doppio Espresso
Doppio means double in Italian and it’s a double shot of espresso. To order 2 shots of espresso, you can just say doppio.
ESPRESSO:
2 shots
MILK: none
DRINK SIZE: 2 ounces
PRONUNCIATION: DOPE-EE-YOH ESS-PRESS-SO
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Latte
One of the most popular espresso-based drinks, lattes are made with 1 part espresso, 4 parts milk, and 1 part foam. If you’re new to espresso drinks, it’s a good drink to order since it’s made with the most milk.
ESPRESSO: 1-2 shots
MILK: 10 ounces steamed milk and microfoam
DRINK SIZE: 12 ounces is standard but can be ordered in bigger sizes
PRONUNCIATION: LAH-TAY
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Cappuccino
A classic Italian drink made with 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk, and 1 part foam.
ESPRESSO: 1-2 shots
MILK: 4-5 ounces steamed milk and foam
DRINK SIZE: 6 ounces is standard
PRONOUNCIATION: CAP-PU-CHEEN-O
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Flat White
A flat white is 2 parts espresso, 3 parts milk, and 1 part foam. It’s similar to a latte but smaller in size.
ESPRESSO: 2 shots
MILK: 4 ounces steamed milk and foam
DRINK SIZE: 6 ounces is standard
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Cortado
Also called the Gibraltar, this drink is made of 1 part espresso and 1 part steamed milk.
ESPRESSO: 2 shots
MILK: 2 ounces steamed milk
DRINK SIZE: 4 ounces
PRONOUNCIATION: COR-TA-DOH
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Macchiato
An espresso macchiato is different than a latte macchiato. An espresso macchiato is 1 part espresso and 1/2 part foam.
ESPRESSO: 2 shots
MILK: 1 ounce foam
DRINK SIZE: 3 ounces
PRONOUNCIATION: MAKI-AH-TOE
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Cafe au Lait
Cafe au lait is French for coffee with milk. It’s made with 1 part drip coffee (not espresso) and 1 part steamed milk.
COFFEE: brewed coffee
MILK: equal amount of milk to coffee
DRINK SIZE: 8-20 ounces (no standard size)
PRONOUNCIATION: KA-FEH-OH-LAY
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Pouring cold brew coffee into a glass filled with ice.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee in cold water for hours. 1 part coffee to 4 parts water.
COFFEE: 1/4 cup
WATER: 1 cup water
MILK: optional
DRINK SIZE: 8-12 ounces (no standard size)
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Iced Coffee
Iced coffee is strong brewed coffee or espresso over ice.
COFFEE: 2 tablespoons
WATER: 1 cup
MILK: optional
DRINK SIZE: 8-12 ounces (no standard size)
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Homemade Coffee Frappuccino
Frappuccino
Frappuccinos are frozen drinks made in a blender with ice.
PRONOUNCIATION: FRAP-UH-CHEE-NOH
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