The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Coffee Drinks – HighBrewCoffee

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The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Coffee Drinks

How many different coffee drinks are on your local coffee shop’s menu? Chances are the number is pretty high! Coffee drinks cover a broad spectrum of flavors and preferences, and it can be easy to get lost in the sheer volume of choices you can make. 

Whether you’re a seasoned coffee drinker who gets the same drink every time or just beginning your exploration into the wide world of java, this article is for you! We’ll walk you through the different options you have when it comes to coffee and give you the information to decide what’s right for you. 

Pull up a chair, pour a cup of joe, and let’s get started!

The First Choice

Before you even select your coffee cup, you have a decision that will affect your entire coffee experience; what bean you want to use. The good news is, you only have two types of coffee beans to choose from.

The majority of the coffee we consume globally comes from two species of coffee, known as Arabica and Robusta, respectively. These beans can make a big difference in your coffee, depending on the coffee drink you’re looking for. 

  • Arabica- If you’re looking to make most coffee drinks, Arabica beans should be your first choice! Roughly 60% of the world’s coffee supply is made up of Arabica coffees, as this is the bean preferred by roasters and specialty coffee growers around the globe. Known for its sweet, smooth flavors, Arabica is a name you should remember.
  • Robusta- Even though Arabica tends to be the more popular choice, don’t count out Robusta! Robusta coffee beans are usually reserved for instant coffees and espresso blends. This designation is due to higher amounts of caffeine and their ability to produce crema (the foamy layer on top of espresso shots). Though the flavor tends to be more pungent and more bitter, Robusta beans are just as crucial to coffee as Arabica. 
  • Now that we’ve sorted out the types of beans you should be aware of, let’s break down our coffee drinks into categories. 

    Black Coffee

    Our first category is predictably the most straightforward category of coffees. These coffees are relatively uncomplicated and are the personification of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” All you’ll need for any of these drinks is hot water and ground coffee beans.

  • Black Coffee- Here, we have coffee at its very simplest. Though the end result will be relatively standard, you can make black coffee in various ways. Most commonly made in french presses or drip coffee machines, it’s hard to go wrong with this classic. Try a few different types of roast to figure out your favorite flavors.

  • Espresso- Espresso-based drinks are some of the most popular in the coffee world, and they all start with a single shot of espresso. Many espresso drinks rely on steamed milk and other ingredients, but you have two main options if you want to stick to black coffee.
  • Espresso Shot- A shot of espresso can stand on its own, and if you want to do it the “proper” way, pair your shot with a small glass of sparkling water. Alternate sips of espresso and water to get the fullest flavor from your coffee!
  • Americano- An Americano is simply a shot of espresso with extra hot water added. This drink mimics the feeling of a regular black coffee but with slightly more caffeine. 
  • Pretty straightforward, right? Black coffee is the easiest choice when it comes to coffee drinks, but if you’re looking for a bit more variety and possibly something sweeter, you should move onto our next category.

    Milk-Based Coffee

    If you really want to get into the nuanced world of coffee drinks, you will spend most of your time here on milk-based coffee. These drinks can be a bit harder to replicate at home, but you’re sure to find the majority of them at any coffee shop near you.

  • Foamed Milk Drinks- We could go on and on about the many different coffee drinks that utilize foamed milk, but for this article, we’ll focus on the big three: Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Flat Whites. 
  • Flat White- A flat white starts with a shot of espresso, mixed with a small amount of steamed milk, and topped with a small layer of foamed milk. The espresso is still the dominant flavor, and the milk provides support.
  • Cappuccino- A cappuccino also begins with a shot of espresso but is followed by an equal amount of both steamed and foamed milk. All three ingredients should be balanced in a cappuccino, making this a sort of “middle ground” between the other two drinks.
  • Latte- The latte is the milkiest of these three drinks, as it is ⅓ espresso and ⅔ steamed milk, with a small layer of foamed milk on top. Lattes are often accessorized with syrups and other flavors, but the original is just as good!
  • Macchiato- The final major drink in this category, a macchiato is a shot (or double) of espresso, with just a dash of milk on top. The milk can be steamed or foamed, but it isn’t necessary. Macchiatos are traditionally stronger coffee drinks.
  • The Non-Traditionals

    The coffees we’ve explored so far make up the majority of your standard coffee choices. There are tons of variations, but generally, the eight types of coffee drinks above dominate the coffee world. They are not, however, your only options! Our final category rounds up the most popular “other” coffees.

    • Irish Coffee- Even though it has coffee in the name, this drink is more of a cocktail than anything! Irish coffee is traditionally made of hot coffee, whiskey, and sugar and has become one of the most popular coffee-based cocktails.
    • High-Caffeine Coffee- If you’re wondering what type of coffee has the most caffeine, this choice is for you. Because of the current high demand for more potent brews, roasters have created coffee blends with astonishingly high levels of caffeine. While these can vary based on the roasting process, bean type, and specific brand, high-caffeine coffee is almost guaranteed to pack a punch.
    • Cold-Brew Coffee- As our favorite and final coffee on this list, cold brew coffee benefits from a (slight) personal bias on our end. Cold brew is made by soaking coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature water for an extended period of time. We love cold brew for its smooth, rich flavor and natural caffeine levels, resulting from brewing over time, not heat. Just don’t mistake this for iced coffee! 

    High Brew

    A woman toasting using a High Brew Cold Brew coffee can

    At High Brew, we focus on making our coffee delicious and sustainable for adventurers and trend-setters alike. Our specialty cold brew is the perfect solution for anyone on the go or looking for a tasty pick-me-up. We take pride in making a smooth, naturally caffeinated drink for everyone, and we’re excited to share it with you. 

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