The art of coffee – 12 coffee-based specialties explained

From espresso and doppio to mocha and affogato is the great distance, and yet we are talking about related specialties, which start from the same base and have diversified to meet the diverse tastes of consumers. Find out in this article what coffee-based drinks you can make at home, if you have an espresso machine.


If you are among the coffee lovers, you will definitely want to know more about the most popular specialties that you can find in bars, clubs or cafes, so that you can choose as an expert, exactly the right drink for that moment of of the day. Espresso, caffe latte, cappuccino, with or without milk, with or without chocolate or flavor additions – these are just some of the options you have at hand.


Espresso doubles

Best described by the formula "short coffee, black coffee", espresso is the basis from which all other options on this list. It refers to the espresso shot, which means a small amount of infusion, up to 30ml, served in a demitasse type cup, half the size of a standard cup of coffee.

It is generally obtained by infusing 18-20 g of coffee with hot water for 15 to 20 seconds, long enough to extract the flavor, without creating an acidic drink. It does not contain milk or milk foam, but can be added if desired. It is usually served with a glass of water.

Do you need some more energy? You can order a doppio that doubles the amount of the standard espresso variant. It is also served in small cups, which have a capacity of up to 60 – 70ml and in this case will be almost full. Sugar and milk are added to serve, if desired.

The art of coffee – 12 coffee-based specialties explained

Short & Long Stained

And because we are talking about milk, we easily move to the area where the presence depends on the definition of the preparation. Short Macchiato is dedicated to those who appreciate the intensity of an espresso, in the representative cup made of porcelain or glass, but feel the need for an addition of milk to alleviate the strong taste.

Shot Macchiato contains a shot of espresso at the base of the cup and a layer of about half an inch of aerated milk and milk foam, added to the surface. The perfect preparation has, from a coloristic point of view, three layers: dark espresso at the base, a caramel-brown portion in which milk and coffee combine and the fluffy white on the surface, consisting only of milk. If you are wondering how you can get this structure, we will tell you that a little trick used by specialists is the easy rotation of the cup clockwise.

You have probably already realized that Long Macchiato is the same recipe in which one shot of espresso is replaced by two. It is a specialty suitable for those who frequently consume coffee and have already developed resistance to small quantities.

Restricted yes Small milk

Ristretto is the smallest espresso variant you can order, but at the same time the most intense. It is obtained by infusing the same amount of coffee used for an espresso shot, but with half the amount of water. So it means less than 30ml of coffee, at maximum intensity.

The art of coffee – 12 coffee-based specialties explained

Those who know Italian probably already intuit that we are also talking in the case of "Piccolo latte" about a preparation with a small amount of water. It is based on a restretto or a shot of espresso, poured into a demitasse, over which a little aerated milk and a thin layer of foam are added. The taste is intense and aromatic, but a little sweeter and gentler than the simple versions it is based on, due to the addition of milk.

American and latte coffee

A coffee shop owner already knows that an Americana or Americano coffee is the long version of an espresso shot, meaning that enough hot water is added to fill a standard cup. What few know, however, is that in order to obtain a quality Americano, first the cup is filled with hot water and then, over it, the infusion of an espresso shot is collected.

If in the case of the Americano variant, the espresso shot is completed with water, for Caffe latte milk and milk foam are used. It is therefore a slightly less intense and considerably sweeter drink than simple espresso, suitable for those who appreciate more delicate tastes. The composition also recommends it for meetings that take place at noon and in the afternoon, when the amount of caffeine required is not as high.


Cappuccino and Flat white

With this recipe we are already moving to the area of coffee specialties that go easily to dessert. A quality cappuccino also starts from the classic espresso shot to which milk is added. However, the foam layer will be thicker and always filled with chocolate, for a sweeter and milder taste.

It is one of the favorite coffee drinks for young people and suitable for times when you do not necessarily need a dose of energy, but a delicious excuse to spend time with friends or colleagues.

The flat white variant is obtained according to the same recipe as cappuccino, with the difference that in this case no more foam is added.

The art of coffee – 12 coffee-based specialties explained


Mocha is nothing more than a cappuccino taken a little further on the land of chocolate. If cappuccino is usually used grated chocolate for taste and decoration, Mocha is prepared with hot chocolate, powder, which is mixed with the espresso shot. Then add milk, a thick layer of foam (2-3 cm) and grated chocolate or powder sprinkled on top. It is served in classic cups or mugs.



It is a preparation that you have to try in the summer and that you can prepare right at home if you have an espresso machine ( a list of compared products can be found here ) . Put a cup of vanilla ice cream in a regular glass of milk and pour over it an espresso or a doppio, according to your preferences, directly from the espresso machine.

0 replies on “The art of coffee – 12 coffee-based specialties explained”