Now that we’ve discussed the parent species within coffee, we can explore the thousands of varieties within.
We look at varieties similarly to any other produce. Think about apples. Although Granny Smith and Red Delicious are both apples, they look and taste completely different. Coffee varieties can offer the same diversity when it comes to flavor profiles and addressing the many desires of consumers.
A Bevy of Brews
Now that we have the basics of bean varieties down let's percolate on the most popular beverages that these beans are capable of crafting.
Black Drip Coffee
An irrefutable classic, drip coffee is as simple as it gets. There are, of course, a variety of ways to brew your mug of drip coffee—where quality counts as much as the quality of the bean itself. Without cream or sugar, the coffee is truly the star of the show in this simple style and invites endless possibilities of flavorful integrations.
One of the most traditional and contemporary styles for enjoying brewed beans, espresso coffee can act as a base for milk-infused drinks or be sipped on its own. Due to a higher grounds-to-water ratio, espresso coffee is far more concentrated than regular coffee and offers a slightly bolder flavor than brewed black coffee.
Moving into the world of espresso-and-milk concoctions, the ever-popular latte is composed of a shot of espresso and steamed milk. These drinks are not just a canvas for latte designs but also offer a range of exciting flavors, like vanilla, caramel, or lavender.
Settling the ever-popular dispute between a latte and a cappuccino, a cappuccino contains less milk but traditionally more foam than a latte, with the same espresso foundation.
The espresso-based version of black coffee, an Americano, is a shot of espresso diluted with hot water. In Europe, Americanos tend to be more readily available than drip coffee and are referred to as a “Long Black.”
A cortado can be thought of as a miniature cappuccino. With equal parts espresso and steamed milk, they taste similar to a cappuccino but contain less milk, espresso, and caffeine overall. A cortado makes a terrific midday pick-me-up.
Not for the faint of heart, a red eye mixes the best of both worlds: a cup of black coffee with a shot of espresso. Aptly named, these are welcomed after a long red eye flight for their bolstering abilities in the caffeine department—so don’t drink one before bedtime.
A lungo is a long-pulled espresso. It uses the same amount of coffee as a regular espresso shot but about twice as much water, resulting in a larger drink and more mellow flavor profile compared with an espresso or Americano. Sip slowly on a Lungo while lounging at the bookstore or throughout your work day.
The definition of a true macchiato has been clouded over recent years. A traditional macchiato is a simple shot of espresso topped with steamed milk. The term macchiato comes from the Italian word meaning “spotted” or “stained,” so you can remember this beverage by envisioning a “spot” of milk foam on top.
Coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven, and mocha is the pinnacle of the pair. The most common ingredients for a mocha include espresso, microfoam milk, and chocolate powder or syrup. Boost the flavor by using a dark-roast bean to pair with the smooth, dark chocolate.
Originating from Australia, this creation is best understood as a cappuccino without the foam—hence the term “flat” in the name. This coffee beverage is for folks who want to go without foam in their milk to get straight to the delicious espresso.
A cold brew coffee is more than just coffee with ice. Beans are steeped at ambient or cold temperature for anywhere between 6 to 36 hours. The result is a mellower flavor with lower acidity and bitterness.
When you infuse nitrogen into a cold brew, you get a nitro cold brew. While similar in taste to cold brew, the nitrogen adds a layer of creaminess, similar in mouthfeel to a Guinness.