Coffee, café, cafecito

Coffee. A black magic drink that over years is not losing popularity. It’s the opposite – coffee became an even bigger business in the modern world and you can see coffee places in every corner. Suitable for all kinds of people, celebrated differently in the world. From Italians who drink espresso as a shot, saying “Ciao!” and going back to business – to people from the Balkans who make a big ceremony out of drinking coffee.

Throughout the years a way of making and serving coffee evolved. In the past, coffee was mostly known as a black as night drink boosting the energy. Nowadays, going to a coffee place you can hardly say just „Coffee, please”. But, what kind of coffee, would you like, sir? Would you like cappuccino or macchiato, ma’am? Do you prefer espresso or ristretto? What is hidden behind these mysterious names – sometimes people simply don’t have any idea? So, now let’s explore the world of coffee and become an expert coffee drinker.

Not expresso! The name has nothing to do with a time of preparing espresso or how fast we drink it. The therm is coming from Italian espressivo which means expressive. And so it describes the character of the simplest of all coffees – deeply black and intensive. A small dose (25-30 ml) of coffee brewed without any addition and the most classic way to serve it is in tiny white cups. Also, espresso is a base for preparing the other types of coffee.

We can call it a one-shot coffee. Ristretto means limited, shortened. It is prepared the same way as espresso, just with double less amount of water (only 15 ml), which makes the taste twice as strong and a bit less bitter. Perfect for one sip.

Simply translated as long. It’s an extended espresso, just time of preparation is longer and as a result, giving more amount to drink and with a more delicate taste.

As simple as it is to make – just add hot water to espresso to double the amount. People often mistake it with lungo, although it’s a different way of preparation.

An espresso with a scent of lemon. Prepared by adding a slice of lemon dipped in coffee or pouring drops of lemon juice.

It’s another variation of espresso, to which it is added a bit of alcohol. In Italy it’s usually grappa, around the world it’s popular to add whiskey, cognac, or brandy.

Simply, a cold espresso. Usually prepared by pouring hot espresso to a glass with ice.

Macchiato in Italian means spotted, stained and it is the effect of adding to espresso a small amount of frothed milk.

For fans of sweeter tastes. Marocchino is espresso with chocolate syrup or cocoa powder and foamed milk.

We could go one mentioning more variations of espresso, like espresso con panna – from Italian ‘’with cream’’ – or espresso with honey or cortado (which is by the way quite often associated wrongly with macchiato). The topic is wide as people had whole centuries to invent brand new ways of preparing and mixing flavors. Let’s go then to the milky way and mention a few more widely known coffee specialties.

It’s an espresso-based coffee drink that is prepared by adding a big amount of frothed milk. As a result, cappuccino should be around 150 ml drink with a milky foam on top, often decorated with chocolate or cocoa powder. The name is connected with the color of cappuccino, which is the usual color of Capuchin friars.

Flat white
The most regular coffee drink prepared from double espresso and milk. Without foam or cream on the surface, the flat is flat.

Latte & latte macchiato
Italian meaning of latte is milk and as you can guess you will get a highly milked coffee drink, with a bigger amount of milk than in cappuccino. Latte is also longer coffee drink – around 200 ml – and has a very delicate taste. In preparation of latte, the coffee drink is finished with frothed milk and in latte macchiato, it is whipped cream decorating the surface. Very often in the offers of coffee places, there are variations of flavored syrups to add to lattes.

Mocha or mochaccino
Variation of caffe latte prepared by adding a chocolate flavor to the coffee drink, for example, chocolate syrup, powdered chocolate, or melted chocolate. Finished classically – with whipped cream.

Again possibilities are many. We shall not forget about cold variations of coffees for the hot summer days – Caffe frappe, frappuccino, or else iced coffees.

One bonus proposition from me to sweeten up the world of coffee – café bombón. I like to call it a candy coffee. It is a Spanish variation on espresso with sweetened condensed milk. Popular especially in the south of Spain and the heart of origin is considered the city of Alicante, although it became widely popular in Valencia. In Spanish, bombón means chocolate, colloquial it refers also to a beautiful woman.

Ewelina Chańska


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