Are you a coffee lover looking to try something new? Here are 20+ types of coffee drinks to try!
The wonderful world of coffee is full of selection. Whether you like creamy flavors, caramel nuances, floral tones, or even fruity drink profiles, there are coffee libations for everyone to love. Knowing what your options are can provide you with inspiration and insight into the many kinds of coffee drinks available. Then, you can make your favorite kinds of coffee drinks at home or know just what to order in a drive-through.
In this helpful guide, we will cover some of the main types of coffee drinks and the ingredients that they contain. We will also discuss the many forms of coffee and how different brewing methods and roast profiles can impact coffee’s taste! That way, when you are craving fresh coffee goodness, you will know exactly what to make, whether you need to pick up ingredients at the store, or how to place the perfect order at a coffee shop.
Coffee 101: A Crash Course on Coffee
Before we get into the many different types of coffee drinks, let's go over some quick coffee facts. That way, you'll have a better idea of how things work in the world of coffee.
4 Main Types Of Coffee Beans
There are four kinds of coffee beans: Excelsa, Liberica, Robusta, and the most popular and widely used coffee type, Arabica. In the United States and Europe, the two primary kinds of coffees consumed are Arabica and Robusta.
The Four Types of Coffee Beans:
- Arabica - most popular and widely used coffee, smooth with complexity and fullness, with many options and flavor notes.
- Robusta - more caffeine than Arabica, but also more bitter and astringent, easier to grow, but less complex in flavor.
- Liberica - large, elongated beans with earthy or nutty nuances, uncommon in the West.
- Excelsa - coffee beans with a tart taste and full-body profile, likely cultivated to combat a coffee rust epidemic.
Arabica coffee beans are large, flavorful, and can brew a smooth cup of coffee that may have fruity, floral, or creamy nuances. Robusta coffee beans are small, hardy, dense, and known for their strong bitter taste and increased caffeine content.
Most coffee connoisseurs prefer the smooth complex flavors of Arabica coffee beans over the astringent bitter taste of Robusta coffee. However, Arabica coffee beans are harder to grow, whereas Robusta coffee beans can thrive in an array of climates. This makes Robusta coffee a cost-saving option.
It is suspected that certain mainstream coffee chains and fast-food restaurants use Robusta coffee or blends containing Robusta to save money while still offering patrons ample caffeine content.
Liberica and Excelsa coffee beans are far less common. Liberica coffee beans tend to be longer, lighter in color, and produce a uniquely earthy or nutty cup of coffee. Excelsa beans are known for having a tart, citrusy or musky taste.
Types Of Coffee Roasts
Coffee roasts are usually broken down into four main categories. These are light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. However, from there, 16 different coffee roast categories can be discerned. Cinnamon roasts, blonde roasts, city roasts, French roasts, and Italian roasts, to name a few. So how can you decide?
The lighter the coffee roast, the more discernible the flavors will be. However, lighter coffee roasts also tend to have more astringency and acidity, making for a tart-tasting coffee. If you want smooth, low-acidity coffee, go with a darker roast. Darker roasts have less of a flavor punch, but plenty of creamy undertones and a smooth finish. For a classic coffee taste somewhere in between, a medium or medium-dark roast is your best bet.
Half-City, New England, and Cinnamon Light Roast
Lightly roasted beans prepared at 355°F to 402°F, or until the first crack occurs. These beans tend to be less creamy and more acidic. The acidity in light roasts may be considered citrusy.
Regular, City, American Roast, House Blend, and Breakfast Roast
Prepared at 410°F to 430°F, usually finished after the first crack but before the second one. This roast will contain some oils and have a full, balanced flavor profile. This is the classic coffee that we all know and love.
MEDIUM DARK ROAST
Viennese, Continental, Full City, Light French, and Light Espresso
Coffee beans generally reach an internal temperature of 435°F to 450°F. Usually, some oils begin to present on the coffee bean surfaces. Medium-dark roasts offer more body, flavor, and richness, with less acidity.
Espresso, Turkish, Heavy Roast, Italian, and Dark French
Roasted between 460°F and 482°F, roastmasters will usually see visible oils on dark coffee bean surfaces. Dark roasts can have sweeter flavors because the sugars in the coffee are able to caramelize and develop richer notes. These roast profiles are often smoother, sometimes with creamy nuances from the coffee oils. Espresso roast beans also create a dense crema when prepared. Dark roasts are known for having a buttery finish and brew the smoothest yet least nuanced coffee, with arguably the lowest acidity.
Top 20 Types of Coffee Drinks Explained
There are so many different kinds of coffees to choose from! Whether you are visiting your local coffee shop or trying to craft new drinks at home, knowing the main kinds of coffees that can be prepared is helpful.
The most common kinds of coffees are black coffee, lattes, Americanos, iced coffees, cold brew coffees, flat whites, espresso, frappes, mochas, macchiatos, and cappuccinos. Coffee drinks can be made with many types of milk and with drip grind coffee or shots of espresso. Depending on where you are getting your coffee, these drinks may be prepared with slight variations.
The 20 Most Common Kinds of Coffee Drinks in the US and Europe:
- 1. Regular Drip Grind / Black Coffee
- 2. French Press Coffee
- 3. Espresso
- 4. Americano
- 5. Latte
- 6. Breve
- 7. Macchiato
- 8. Cappuccino
- 9. Red Eye
- 10. Black Eye
- 11. Iced Coffee
- 12. Cold Brew
- 13. Nitro Cold Brew
- 14. Frappe / Frappuccino
- 15. Flat White
- 16. Irish Coffee
- 17. Mocha
- 18. Chai Tea Latte
- 19. Turkish Coffee
- 20. Cortado
What is Black Coffee?
Black coffee, also sometimes known as drip grind coffee, is simply coffee with nothing added. No cream, no sugar, no sweeteners, simply a coffee in its purest state. When you leave out these additional ingredients, you can enjoy your coffee without added fat, sugar, etc. Black coffee can also be enhanced with cream, sugar, non-dairy milk, flavors, or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Black coffee may be made in a coffee machine using grounds (as with drip grind coffee) or in a Nespresso machine, Keurig coffee maker, or other coffee pots and single-serve coffee makers. You can even make black coffee on the stove.
What is French Press coffee?
French press coffee is black coffee made using a brewing device that steeps coffee grounds and implements a “press” apparatus to filter out the grounds. French press coffee is popular because it requires no electricity and allows connoisseurs to carefully monitor the strength of coffee as it steeps.
What is Espresso?
Espresso is a type of strong, black coffee first made popular in Italy. Espresso is made by forcing steam or very hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. Generally, the hot water needed for espresso must be forced through the grounds or espresso powder at 9 to 10 bars of pressure. Espresso can be prepared using a wide variety of coffee beans and roasts. Many coffee drinks implement shots of espresso. Basically, espresso is a very strong coffee with minimal liquid consistency. A properly pulled shot of espresso will usually have a dense crema layer at the top, which forms as the oils in the coffee are steamed and forced through a mesh screen.
What is an Americano?
An Americano is similar to black coffee, however, the difference between an Americano and regular black coffee has to do with how the coffee is prepared. With Americanos, shots of espresso are mixed with hot water. Americano drinks can be made in several ways. In contrast, regular black coffee is generally prepared in a coffee maker or single-serve coffee machine. Since Americanos combine espresso and hot water, the coffee taste tends to be a little bit stronger and more flavorful than a standard cup of Joe.
What is a Latte?
A latte is basically shots of espresso and steamed milk mixed together in a hot drink. Latte is short for Cafe Latte. This drink has Italian origins. With a base of steamed milk and measured shots of espresso, lattes may be flavored in several ways. Most lattes are made with 2% milk. However, lattes can also be made using oat milk, skim milk (a skinny latte), soy milk, and more.
What is a Breve coffee?
Breve coffee, also known as a Cafe Breve or a Breve Latte, is a drink of equal parts espresso and half and half. This is the Americanized version of an Italian latte. Braves are richer, denser, and creamier than regular lattes which are often made with 2% milk. Braves can be flavored in many ways. The Dutch Bros coffee chain is known for offering breve-style drinks in hot and iced variations.
What is a Macchiato?
A cafe macchiato, sometimes also called an espresso macchiato, is a type of espresso coffee drink with a small amount of milk added. At Starbucks, the caramel macchiatos became popular and led to many macchiato spin-offs. However, this drink was very different from a traditional Italian macchiato. Macchiatos tend to contain less milk than lattes, although they may be prepared in various ways depending on where you get them.
What is a Cappuccino?
Traditional cappuccinos contain an even distribution of steamed milk, frothed milk, and espresso. Cappuccinos differ from lattes in that they have a foamy topping. However, many cappuccino-style beverages exist
What is Red Eye Coffee?
A red eye is a highly concentrated coffee drink that combines one or two shots of espresso and coffee. The name likely refers to the red-eye airline flight that travels overnight, causing the passengers to become tired.
What is a Black Eye Coffee?
Black eye coffees are cups of drip-grind coffee with a double shot of espresso added. This coffee is dark in color, likely inspiring the name. Black eye coffees can be served hot or iced.
What is Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee can be prepared in many ways. This coffee could be made using drip grind coffee poured over ice, or, with espresso. Generally, iced coffees are made using espresso and milk combined and then poured over ice. Other ingredients like flavoring syrups or whipped cream may also be added. Iced lattes are sometimes also known as iced coffees.
What is Cold Brew coffee?
Unlike iced coffee, cold brew coffee is never heated. Indeed, this coffee has been prepared without heat at any stage of the brewing process. Instead, the coffee grounds are steeped for an extended period in cold water. Then, the grounds are strained out and the resulting brew can be enjoyed as is, or enhanced using flavoring syrups or milk. Cold brew coffee is known for being smooth and naturally creamy and flavorful.
What is Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro cold brew coffee is regular cold brew coffee that has been steeped for a long period of time in cold water and then infused with nitrogen as it is poured from a tap. The nitrogen infusion creates tiny bubbles which give the coffee a frothy texture and creamy consistency.
What is a Frappuccino?
A frappuccino, or frappe, is a type of blended iced coffee drink. These drinks may have a cream base of milk or a coffee base that is then blended with ice. Think of it like a coffee smoothie. Frappuccinos come in a wide range of styles and flavors and are often topped with whipped cream and/or sweet sauces.
What is a Flat White coffee?
A flat white coffee is an espresso-based coffee drink that comes with steamed milk and foam. Similar to a latte, this drink contains mostly milk and will then have a specific amount of espresso shots added. After the coffee and milk base are ready, a flat white topping of milk foam is added.
What is an Irish Coffee?
Irish Coffee is a type of caffeinated alcoholic coffee drink. Usually, this libation consists of Irish whiskey, sugar, and coffee. Irish coffees can be served hot or cold and may or may not have a frothy topping.
What is Mocha Coffee?
A mocha coffee, otherwise known as a mocha latte, or simply just a mocha, is a kind of latte that includes chocolate powder and or syrup as well as milk and possibly whipped cream. There are many different ways to make a mocha and these drinks can also be blended or served over ice. Think of it like a latte, but made with chocolate milk instead of regular milk.
What is Turkish Coffee?
Turkish coffee is a type of very finely ground coffee that has been boiled instead of brewed and strained. Any type of coffee bean may be used to create Turkish coffee. Usually, Arabica Coffee Bean varieties are used in Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee is often prepared in a cezve, a special type of Turkish coffee pot.
What is Cortado Coffee?
A cortado is a type of coffee beverage made using espresso and warm milk. Generally, cortado drinks contain equal parts espresso and steamed milk. These drinks are not frothy or texturized like cappuccinos or flat whites. Likely, the cortado originated in Madrid, Spain. Cortados are usually prepared with whole milk.
Types of Coffee Flavors
Coffee beans are actually the centers of the coffee fruit, a cherry-like fruit with a pit in the middle. The pit of a coffee cherry is then dried, roasted, and ground to create coffee beverages. Before being roasted, coffee beans are green in color and have very little flavor and an earthy aroma. The roasting process brings coffee beans to life.
Roasted coffee beans can have an array of flavors depending on the plant species they come from, and how they were washed, dried, roasted, and prepared. Coffee bean flavor profiles can be earthy, nutty, citrusy, sweet, creamy, astringent, bitter, and essentially anything in between.
Light roast Arabica coffee flavor profiles may be citrusy, lemony, or have nuances of bergamot. Medium and dark roast coffee flavor profiles are usually described as nutty, earthy, floral, smooth, or creamy.
In addition to the inherent flavors of the coffee beans themselves, coffee beverages can be flavored in many ways. There are pre-flavored coffees, such as these pre-flavored coffee pods that brew drinks with flavor infusions right into your cup. Or, you can buy coffee syrups or spices to add to a drink.
10 Most Common Coffee Flavors
- French Vanilla
- Pumpkin Spice
- White Chocolate
10 Unique Coffee Flavors
- Irish Mocha
- Chocolate Raspberry
- Peanut Butter
- Brown Sugar