4 Types of Espresso Drinks

What if there was more to espresso than meets the eye (or gently-scalded tongue)? Espresso is a key ingredient in a range of beverages that stretch far beyond the traditional demitasse. 

To that end, grab your finest beans and prepare to brew. We’re going on a caffeine-fueled journey to explore 4 types of espresso drinks that you can prepare at home with the help of your espresso machine.

#1 – Basic Espresso

Before twisting things up, we have to get the essentials down. So, what is espresso? Espresso, at its core, is coffee brewed under pressure. The intense taste and mouthfeel set it apart from other preparation methods. Because of its unique brewing process, it’s also served in small doses. Different terms can be used to describe common serving sizes and preparation methods:

● Single, Shot – An ounce (30ml) of espresso brewed quickly to preserve the sweet, natural flavor of the grinds.

● Doppio, Double – Two shots of freshly brewed espresso, resulting in double the pick-me-up and double the flavor.

● Lungo – Twice as much hot water forced through the same grinds as a Ristretto, resulting in more caffeine in the final product.

● Ristretto – Literally meaning restricted, the ristretto is a shot of espresso created with less water to intentionally increase the concentration and limit the water flowing through.

With our espresso beverage expressions locked in, we’ll have no trouble brewing up the rest of our bolder beverages.

#2 – The Americano

As far as augmentations to standard espresso, the Americano is a steadfast classic. 

Rumored to have been invented to cater to American GIs stationed in Europe in the 1940s, this classic espresso beverage is reminiscent of a cup of drip coffee. The defining characteristic of an Americano is the addition of hot water to espresso. Because of the dilution, it was meant to be more familiar to those not used to the intensity of espresso. Its strength and flavor make the Americano a common choice to accompany post-dinner sweet treats when you need a late-night pick-me-up. Its basic preparation also makes it a breeze to brew for even beginner baristas. 

The ingredients needed to make an Americano couldn’t be simpler. Just grab:

● Freshly-brewed espresso

● Hot water

The process of making it is a breeze as well. Simply:

● Brew – Make either a single or double espresso shot, depending on how strong you want your coffee to be.

● Prepare – Put the hot water in a mug large enough to hold it and the espresso.

● Pour – Simply extract your espresso straight into your mug of hot water.

● Stir – Mix gently, being careful not to muddle the signature crema that is indicative of espresso drinks.

There you have it: One Americano, served up in no time. 

That was almost too easy, wasn’t it? Well, let’s add in some different ingredients and kick things up a notch.

#3 – Caffé Latte

Latte is the Italian word for milk, and caffé means (you guessed it) coffee. Together, the term caffé latte covers a broad range of espresso-based drink types with milk (usually steamed milk) added in.

You’ve likely heard the signature twists on the common latte, from mocha, to caramel, to the divisively-spiced squash variety that returns every Autumn (a la pumpkin spice). With a mountain of different syrups, sugars, and spices to mix up your milky java, the variations are endless. This drink can also be enjoyed hot or iced.

That said, a standard espresso-based caffé latte consists of:

● Freshly-brewed espresso shot

● Steamed milk

In order to make our basic caffé latte with microfoam milk, we must:

● Brew – Extract a double-shot of espresso in a large, preheated mug.

● Steam– Carefully texture your milk until it has aerated to your desired amount of microfoam. Use a powerful steam wand that gets your milk to about 150Ffor the best results.

● Pour – In a steady stream, pour your steamed milk into your espresso. Art (Optional) – Once your espresso is ready, latte art can be added using the steamed milk. Highly-skilled baristas employ special pouring techniques and milk foam-shaping tools to create their milky masterpieces.

If you want to mix up your caffé latte, a shot of mint or vanilla syrup will take the flavor to a new dimension. Additionally, if you abstain from traditional milk, oat and almond milk are great, lactose-free alternatives to dairy.  

Go wild with your caffé latte, the flavor possibilities are only bound by your own creativity. Speaking of, when it comes to uniqueness among different espresso drinks, this next one might just take the cake (not to mention, it kind of tastes like one).

#4 - Espresso Martini

The kids can leave the room now—it’s time for something a little more adult. 

Espresso adds a classic twist to this timeless cocktail. Vodka’s aromatic bouquet already presents an intense experience, but those who enjoy the rich qualities of espresso are usually drawn to bold flavors. 

For this recipe, we’ll forego the vermouth in favor of something more attune to our caffeinated palates. You’ll need: 

● Cold espresso

● Simple syrup

● Vodka

● Coffee liqueur

● Ice

To serve up this crisp cocktail, awaken your inner mixologist and:

● Combine – A double-shot of chilled espresso, one ounce (29ml) dry gin, a half ounce (15 ml) coffee liqueur, and a small spoonful of simple syrup in a cocktail shaker loaded with ice.

● Shake – Don’t stir. A full 45 seconds of vigorous agitation is optimal to best dilute and chill the mixture.

● Strain – Into a chilled martini glass. Optionally top with a few floating espresso beans to give your martini that professional panache. 

This dark and luscious cocktail is surprisingly smooth given its trio of powerful ingredients.

Espresso Yourself Through Coffee with Equipment from Breville

Itching to try some of these tantalizing recipes but not sure where to get started with brewing your own espresso at home? Breville takes the grind out of preparing espresso in your house. Our espresso makers use pressurized extrusion to brew professional quality coffee that tastes bold and feels exquisite on the tongue.

Using high-quality coffee beans and an even higher-quality espresso machine from Breville, you too can brew any coffee drink from this list, and more. We’ve even got guides on how to clean an espresso machine to help keep it in tip-top shape. 

Who knows? Perhaps the next great espresso drink is waiting to be created, right in your very own kitchen. Espresso complements countless flavors, and soon enough, you’ll have craft ideas percolating in your head.

If you never brew, then you’ll never know. Get espress-ive with Breville.


Craft Coffee Spot. 20 Must Try Espresso Drinks. https://craftcoffeespot.com/

Masterclass. Americano Coffee Guide: How to Make an Americano. https://www.masterclass.com/

Borgen Project. Coffee Production in Vietnam. https://borgenproject.org/

BBC Good Food. Vietnamese Egg Coffee. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/

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4 Types of Espresso Drinks