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9 things every coffee lover should know

Nine different types of coffees explained

By Viné Lucas | July 20, 2018 | Category

Words by: Buntu Ngcuka

We’re not entirely sure why coffee isn’t anywhere on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but it should be. It’s one of those things that should be treasured and enjoyed in the best possible way. Thanks to the relatively recent boom in the coffee business – both in terms of quantity and quality – you might be spoilt for choice. Here is the detailing the types of coffee your local barista will most likely be able to make. Choose one that appeals to your taste buds and enjoy the caffeine rush.


A cappuccino

is prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed milk. Its name comes from the diminutive word for ‘cappucio’ in Italian, meaning ‘hood’ or ‘something that covers the head’.


A latte

is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. The term used in English is actually a shortened form of the Italian caffè latte which, directly translated, means ‘milk coffee’. A latte is similar to a flat white but the main difference lies in the milk and the way it’s poured. In a flat white, after the milk has been frothed with a steam wand, it goes through a process called stretching where it’s folded and swirled in order to blend the bubble and the liquid. This process maximises the microfoam that is poured on to the espresso and gives the flat white its smooth texture. A latte has more liquid milk than foam poured on to the espresso, so it just feels like milky coffee.



or caffè mocha

consists of layers of espresso, chocolate syrup, hot milk and whipped cream, although the whipped cream can be substituted for milk froth. The drink can be served with a dusting of either cinnamon or cocoa powder on top.

A Caffè Americano

or just Americano

is prepared by adding hot water to an espresso. The strength varies depending on the number of espresso shots and amount of water added.

A cortado

is an espresso with a small amount of warm milk added to it. The word ‘cortado’ is the past participle of the Spanish verb ‘cortar’, which means to cut – because the espresso is cut with the milk. 

A flat white

is prepared by pouring microfoam over a single or double espresso. The microfoam is steamed milk with small bubbles and a smooth consistency and velvet-like surface.

A macchiato

or espresso macchiato

is a coffee drink with espresso and foamed milk. The word ‘macciato’ in Italian means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’ so the drink’s name literally means ‘stained coffee’ because the added milk adds a ‘stain’ to the espresso.

An espresso

is the base for other coffee drinks like Americanos, cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes, but can also be served on its own as either a single or double shot (the latter is called a doppio). It’s brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. It’s usually thicker than coffee, contains more solids and has creamy foam (crema) on top. 

Iced coffee

, also Weeds’  Nancy Botwin’s drink of choice, is simply that – coffee that’s iced. It can either be brewed cold, giving it a slightly different flavour, or it can be brewed hot then cooled – usually by pouring it over ice or into ice cold milk and due to the dilution, in this case, it has to be brewed at a much higher strength.

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Image: Unsplash, Illustrations: Viné Lucas

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