Different types of
coffee explained
A Simple Illustrated Guide


There are so many types of coffee—literally hundreds—that it would be impossible to list them all here.


So, this guide explains every popular coffee you can order in most cafes—and some others that cause confusion.


Note: This guide is about the different kinds of coffee drinks. If you would like to know about coffee beans, take a look at  Arabica vs Robusta 


Use the tool below to sort the coffees by size, taste, and best to order. The article will change to match!

Very Small
Single Espresso
Double Espresso
Ristretto
Small
Lungo
Macchiato
Babyccino
Cortado
Piccolo
Medium
Flat White
Cappuccino
Large
Latte
Americano
Long Black
Mocha

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Single Espresso

AKA: Espresso, Short Black

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should you order this?
Sure, but you might want to make it a double.

Espresso is a strong and bitter shot of coffee usually served in a tiny cup with an impractically small handle.


It’s brewed by forcing hot, pressurized water through fine ground coffee—usually between 7 to 9 grams per shot.

Pro Tip:

It's called espresso, not expresso.
Origin: Italy Measure: 1 oz

Double Espresso

AKA: Doppio

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should you order this?
Yes, if you need a quick hit.

A double espresso is simply two espresso shots. Using 14 to 18 grams of ground coffee.

Fun Fact:

As of 2015, astronauts on the international space station can enjoy zero-gravity espresso—using specialized cups. 🛰
Origin: Italy Measure: 2 oz

Ristretto

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should you order this?
No. Unless his holiness commands it—see fun fact.

A Ristretto is an espresso shot made with half the amount of water. Meaning it’s much more bitter, thick, and gross.


It’s made by using much finer coffee grounds, making it harder for the water to filter through—or by just stopping an espresso half-way.

Fun Fact:

The ristretto is the favourite drink of Pope Francis…and no one else.
Origin: Italy Measure: 0.5 oz

Lungo

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should you order this?
No, it would be weird—just order an Americano.

A lungo is the opposite of an ristretto. It’s made with coarser grounds or by extending the brew time of a normal espresso.


It’s more watery and tastes weaker—almost like an Americano.

Origin: Italy Measure: 3–4 oz

Macchiato

AKA: Caffé Macchiato, Espressoo Macchiato

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should you order this?
Yes. Especially after dinner in an Italian restaurant.

A macchiato is an espresso with a dollop of foamed milk on top.

You can usually order it as a single or a double.


Macchiato was created to take the edge off an espresso for people who didn't like the harsh taste.


Not to be confused with a latte macchiato.

Fun Fact:

It's named for the spot of milk on top. Macchiato means 'stained.'
Origin: Italy Measure: 2.5 oz

Babyccino

AKA: fluffy

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should you order this?
Are you a baby?

A babyccino is a coffee without any coffee in it—because it’s for babies.


It’s a way for parents to bond with their children over a civilised cup of coffee.

Fun Fact:

Most baristas hate making these!
Origin: Italy Measure: 4 oz

Cortado

AKA: Gibraltar

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should you order this?
Sure, if you're in a specialized coffee shop.

A cortado is roughly half espresso and half steamed milk—like a small flat white.

Origin: Spain Measure: 4 oz

Piccolo

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should you order this?
No, just don't. Unless you're in Australia

Some say it's the same as a cortado, while others say it's like a cortado with just one shot of espresso.

Origin: Australia Measure: 4 oz

Flat White

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should you order this?
Absolutely.

Two shots of espresso with silky milk. Often adorned with beautiful latte art.


The flat white is a staple of good coffee shops and is one of the most popular orders.


Many chains will just make you a latte, tarnishing its good name.

Fun Fact:

New Zealand and Australia both claim to have invented the flat white. It's one of many disputed inventions including the pavlova and Russell Crowe.
Origin: Australia / NZ Measure: 6 oz

Cappuccino

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should you order this?
Sure, totally normal.

Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. Usually sprinkled with cocoa powder.

Fun Fact:

Named after the Italian Cappucin Monks—because they wear light brown robes.
Origin: Italy Measure: 6–8 oz

Latte

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should you order this?
If you like milk more than you like coffee, this is the one for you.

A latte is an espresso with lots of milk.


There is no universal rule to how much milk there should be—but it will be more than all the other coffees.

Origin: Italy Measure: 8–12 oz

Americano

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should you order this?
Yes, by all means.

An Americano is an espresso diluted with hot water.

The amount of water varies greatly. You can usually order by size.

Origin: Italy Measure: 8–12 oz

Long Black

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A long black is like an americano, but specifically made by pouring espresso over hot water, which retains the crema.


Most cafes will make a long black with less hot water than an americano.

Origin: Australia / New Zealand Measure: 6–12 oz

Mocha

AKA: Mochaccino

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A mocha is a latte with added chocolate—either powder, syrup or the real deal. Sometimes it comes topped with whipped cream.

Origin: Italy Measure: 8–12 oz