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The Magical Land of Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Espressos
Posted on May 26 2023,
You're walking down the aisle at Costco and see this fantastic coffee maker at a fraction of the original price. So, naturally, you read all of the specs (fully aware that you have no idea what any of it means), proceed with the oohs and ahhs, look at it with an incriminating glare, and ultimately pick one up. Hooray! You have joined the ranks of coffee lovers everywhere. The only issue is that you have no idea where to start or what all of those different coffee styles described in the manual are. Instantly the regret begins to steep.
The laundry list of words that mean absolutely nothing to the non-coffee connoisseur is a hard place to start when you're trying to break into the coffee scene. Latte, espresso, cappuccino… what in the world does all of this mean?
Here is a short breakdown of some of the most popular terms.
Coffee Names To Remember
While it is true that there are so many options to choose from, there are some options that you'll see over and over. So, let's start with the basics.
Espresso: What is espresso, and why is it featured in many drinks, including those on this list? It's fantastic! Simple as that. Commonly made when ground coffee is packed together, the pressure creates potency when water runs through it rapidly. While the process of creating espresso takes anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds, the couple of ounces produced is just enough for a brilliant cup. Did I mention that it is super rich, super concentrated, and quite bitter? That is why it is a perfect base for other drinks.
Americano: An americano is as popular as apple pie. Why? Because its simplicity makes it the ideal choice for the everyday drinker. What does it include? Two words: espresso and hot water. While you still get the coloring of a good cup of coffee, it has a little less punch to it. This is great for those with slightly temperamental stomachs (like myself). It still delivers a classic cup full of character, and the fact that it is a bit gentler than other options is just a bonus. Customizing and adding personality is also very easy to make this cup spectacular.
Drip: Drip coffee is the choice of those that love clean and crisp experiences, or what I like to call blank canvas experiences. Mimicking what you would get with a fresh, home-brewed cup, drip coffee is uncomplicated but super delightful. The trick to great drip is the beans used. Great beans really do make all of the difference. Also, expect that it will need some TLC. So make sure to add milk, creamer, mocha sauce, or a light dusting of cinnamon. You can't go wrong, regardless of what you add.
Latte: Lattes are the quintessential "fancy" drink. When I first started drinking coffee, it was my go-to order because it made me feel like I was straight out of an episode of Friends.
Greenwich Village, latte in one hand, and mic in the other singing “Smelly Cat”… that's still the dream. But I digress.
A good latte never disappoints. It usually consists of a double shot of espresso with some sort of steamed milk and the thinnest layer of milk foam at the very top. With most flavors being a perfect compliment to this drink, its easy to customize. If you're unsure, I suggest going to your local cafe, like Twin Valley Coffee, asking the barista what lattes they enjoy or are a fan-favorite of that particular store, and gaining some ideas. It's what I did, and I always purchased/created winners!
Cappuccino: A cappuccino is like a rich coffee gift that floats on a foamy cloud of goodness. Much like a latte, this drink features milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso; however, the ratios are evenly distributed, which makes this different from a latte with much more milk. A cappuccino is definitely for those who love a more robust coffee flavor. While light and velvety, it is surprisingly potent. So, watch out, or you'll be up for quite a while, friend!
Walking in Coffee Confidence
Having coffee confidence doesn’t just come overnight. It takes time and patience. Especially when trying to make a great cup at home. Quality beans is the first important step. So pick up some here or in our TVC cafes.
And don’t forget to let us know which coffee creations you like the best!