Coffee is one of the most popular and versatile drink choices around the world. While there are only four types of actual coffee beans, they can be prepared and served in various manners. In one day, the world drinks approximately 1.4 billion cups of coffee each day!
Coffee can be served in countless ways. Whether you like your coffee steaming hot, ice-cold, plain, or with additions, you can likely find a flavor that works best for you. However, before you jump into finding a favorite, it would be wise to explore all the available options.
In this article, we will take a look at nine ways coffee can be served. It is important to note that some of these drinks may differ from one country to another. For instance, a latte is the same as cappuccino in Italy but in the United States, Starbucks created their own drinks.
Let’s dive in.
Ways Coffee Can Be Served
Let’s jump immediately into the list of ways coffee can be served. While there are a few popular ones that you might have heard of already, you will be surprised by some of them.
A Macchiato is when the espresso comes with a bit of foamy steamed milk on top. The foam is created by the use of the Steam Wand on an espresso machine and should be about 2 cm thick (1/2 inch).
If you do not own an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can purchase a “latte art” coffee machine that makes it really simple to create the perfect Macchiato.
Alternatively, purchasing a handheld milk frother may be the way to go, but the handheld milk frother is somewhat more difficult to use.
The benefit of the steam wand or a latte art machine is that it is super easy to control the amount of foam that you want on top of your coffee, latté, or macchiato.
Types of Macchiato
When ordering a macchiato drink, it is important to know there are different types. The two most common are the plain macchiato and the espresso macchiato. Although similar, there are distinct differences between the two.
Plain Macchiato is the most traditional, and you will find this version topped with foamed milk and served in a tall glass.
Espresso Macchiato contains a larger portion of a shot of espresso than the plain. You will not find this in a tall cup; instead, it is served in a traditional espresso shot cup.
If you prefer a drink with a strong espresso flavor profile not masked with extra flavoring from syrups or milk, you will likely enjoy a macchiato of either type.
Cappuccino is a coffee-based hot drink containing steamed frothed milk and foam. Cappuccino comes from the Italian word cappuccio, which means hood. The drink is named after the Capuchin friars because the monks always wore a hood over their heads.
Cappuccinos are very popular in Italy and they can be found in most cafés there. You can add many flavors to your cappuccino such as hazelnut, cinnamon, and chocolate.
A Cappuccino can be sweet or have a little bit of sugar. Coffee shops use up to three types of milk for their cappuccinos such as whole milk, semi-skimmed milk, and skimmed milk.
A latte is an espresso-based drink with a higher ratio of milk, which makes it a much creamier option for someone that enjoys a cup of joe with a more toned-down flavor profile. When ordering a latte, you can opt for a single or double-shot latte, depending on your taste preference.
Like other coffee drinks, there are multiple flavor options for the latte. The most popular flavors are vanilla, mocha, and caramel. Often, you will be able to find seasonal flavors, such as peppermint in winter and pumpkin spice in fall. If you are lucky, some locations offer seasonal flavors year-round.
4. Café Au Lait
When ordering a café au lait, the barista will present you with a cup that contains a single or double shot of espresso, a large amount of steamed milk, finished with a thin layer of foam across the top. The thin layer of foam on the top helps set this drink apart from the cappuccino.
Café Au Lait is made using strong coffee and milk. Unlike other java drinks, you will likely not find café au lait with multiple flavor options. However, regionally there may be some differences. For example, an American version of the café au lait may contain a hint of chicory.
What Flavor is Chicory?
You may be wondering what flavor chicory will add to your coffee. Chicory is not like the typical caffeine flavorings that can be somewhat overwhelming. When adding chicory to your cup of joe, it provides a flavor that has been described as earthy or nutty. It is more of a subtle flavor that is enjoyed by many.
5. Café Breve
When coffee is served this way, it is served with a combination of a shot of espresso, steamed half and half with a top layer of foamed milk. Because half and half are used, this drink has a much creamier texture than other caffeine beverages with milk.
Many caffeine lovers prefer a breve because of the rich espresso flavoring and the creamy nature of the drink. While there are no added flavorings or sweeteners, the half and half give a slightly sweet taste to the drink.
This drink is very similar to the common cappuccino drink; the only difference is the ingredients included in the drink. A mochaccino is made like a cappuccino, but chocolate powder or syrup are added to the drink to give it a rich chocolatey flavor.
You will find differences in the way the mochaccino drink is made. Some locations choose to use a base of espresso, while others use a coffee base. An espresso base will provide a richer flavor, so it is important to ask which base is used. No matter which base is used, you will still experience the rich chocolate flavor.
Bulletproof coffee has become an increasingly popular way to serve coffee. This method may include adding butter and/or coconut oil to freshly-brewed coffee. When adding these things, it is important that you only use organic or all-natural ingredients.
The premise of bulletproof coffee is that it provides many calories with a high caffeine content which can help give a boost in mental clarity, energy and even aid in potential weight loss. This beverage is popular but may not be the best drink to add to your diet daily because of the added fat. Alternatively, you can try keto butter coffee.
8. Iced Coffee
A trendy way to serve coffee is iced coffee. The good thing about iced coffee is you can choose as many flavorings as you want to add to the cup and the amount of cream or sugar for your taste preference.
When ordering an iced coffee, it is important to know that it is not the same as a cold brew. These are two distinctly different kinds of coffee. You may also notice that iced coffee tends to get watered down after sitting for some time with the ice. Iced coffee is trendy in the warm summer months; however, many people enjoy iced coffee year-round.
9. Cold Brew
Cold brew is a prevalent kind of coffee around the world. Often people order an iced coffee drink using cold brew, but it can also be served hot. The process of cold brewing allows the true flavor profile of the beans to come through. You may notice a richer flavor than that of an iced coffee. Cold brew can be served the same way iced coffee can, meaning you can add any flavoring, the specific amount of cream and sugar that you prefer.
How Do You Serve Cold Brew Coffee?
You may be curious to know how you should serve this popular coffee drink. It is important to understand that the term cold brew can be deceiving because you may think it is only served with ice. While the name may make you feel that way, you can order a hot cold brew as well. The term cold brew does not refer to the beverage’s temperature but rather the brewing process itself.
Since cold brew is like regular brews of coffee, there are many methods it can be served.
- Iced cold brew – dilute with water or milk and serve over ice.
- Hot cold brew – dilute with water or milk and heat the beverage to the desired temperature before serving.
- Café style – dilute with water or milk and add flavorings, cream, and sugar to the drink.
- Soda style – dilute with sparkling water and add any flavoring you wish. Serve over ice.
No matter which method you choose to serve this coffee beverage, you are certain to find an option that appeals to you. Because cold brew is so versatile, you can make any of the drinks hot or cold, with maybe the exception of soda style, because the thought of warm soda may not be appealing to everyone.
Making Cold Brew
The process of making cold brew coffee is lengthy. It can take between 6-12 hours to make a pot. Instead of brewing in a machine, coarse coffee grounds are soaked or steeped in water to make a concentrate. Because of the length of time it takes to steep the grounds, the flavor profile is much stronger and more distinct than typical brewed coffee.
Because the coffee is concentrated, it may need to be diluted before serving. This is done by combining the concentrate with either water or milk. This variety of coffee is often preferred because it does not have the acidity or bitterness you often find with regular brewed coffee.
Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
The good news about cold brew coffee is that you can choose to use any beans to produce the delicious concentrate. The only thing you need to keep in mind is how the coffee is ground. It is not really advisable to use a pack of pre-ground coffee because you will not get the same results. But some coffee aficionados vouch for pre-ground instead of whole beans.
The best way to make this amazing caffeine beverage is with coarse ground coffee that has been freshly ground. When choosing beans, you need to let your taste determine the beans that are used.
Can I Store Cold Brew?
Knowing that cold brew takes a long time to make may leave you questioning how long you can store it before it goes bad. Because the appeal of this beverage is a fresh taste, you will likely notice a difference after two weeks of the concentrate being made. Diluting the concentrate for storage can shorten the shelf-life. However, premade concentrates may last longer than fresh cold brew.
Coffee Brewing Styles
As you look at the variety of available coffee drinks, you may be wondering if they are all brewed the same. Cold brew is not brewed; it is steeped, but what about the others? Most coffee beverages are brewed, but some require different temperatures and pressures to achieve the proper flavor.
Coffee Machine/Drip Coffee
This is the most traditional and widely used form of coffee brewing. The water is heated in a reservoir and is slowly dripped over the coffee grounds in a basket. As the water flows through, it leaves the grounds behind and fills the pot with rich drip coffee.
Brewing coffee with a coffee pot is by far one of the most efficient procedures to make a pot of coffee in a short amount of time, but it does not always make the best café style drinks, so it may not be the preferred method of most coffee shops.
The pour over method is one way you can enjoy a single cup of coffee if you have time to let the water filter through the grounds as you methodically pour the water at the proper time while it seeps through the grounds and filter. The pour-over method is best for single servings of coffee and is best used for a simple cup of coffee when you are not in a rush.
The French Press method is used for making a more elegant coffee beverage. You will need a French press pot, which submerges the grounds in a basket and allows the water to filter through, leaving behind a rich pot of coffee.
Although there are many techniques to create the “perfect” cup or pot of coffee, it is possible to use all these brewing types to make the most delectable drinks at home. With careful brewing and attention to both coffee and water quality, you will likely be able to replicate many of your café favorites.
Types of Beans
Knowing the different varieties of coffee beverages that are served and how to make the coffee is only part of the battle. The next most important thing is to know the types of beans you are using to create the drink. Not all beans are created equally. The four most common kinds are arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa.
If you go to the store and purchase a bag of ground coffee, you are likely buying Arabica beans. These beans are the most popular variety of coffee sold. Depending on the variety of beans, you may notice distinct flavor profiles.
Robusta coffee is the second most popular type of coffee that is used. These beans are commonly used in instant coffees and coffee labeled as espresso. The flavor of Robusta beans tends to be a bit heavier than that of the arabica coffee bean.
It is not common to find this kind of coffee bean because the trees which produce the bean are nearly extinct. Liberica coffee beans are rare. You could easily use these beans for any coffee beverage you desire if you can purchase them.
These coffee beans are desired because of their unique flavor profile. When brewed, the coffee is said to have a sweet or fruity smell and a smokey type of flavor, making drinking it quite the experience for even the most refined palettes.
These coffee beans are very similar to the Liberica beans; however, they are rare. The unique attribute of these beans is the ability of the bean to take on characteristics of both light and dark brewed coffee. Combined with the fruity flavor profile, these beans are sought after by individuals that enjoy rich coffee experiences.
The good news is that all these coffee beans will provide you with a delicious cup of coffee no matter which way you choose to serve or make it. As you develop a more refined and distinguished coffee palette, you will discover the best bean for you.
What Can I Mix with My Coffee Drinks?
When you begin looking at all the different ways you can serve coffee, you will likely wonder what flavors you can mix in with the beverage. The great thing about coffee is that it is a versatile beverage that can handle an array of mix-ins. Some of the most popular things to mix with coffee are milk and cream, spices, oils, eggs, cola, sparkling water.
Milk and other dairy derivatives are commonly mixed with coffee to help provide a creamy beverage. Typically, people will rely on a plain or flavored creamer and various kinds of milk ranging from cows’ milk to oat milk. Depending on your preferences, each will help you achieve a creamy beverage.
Cola is a unique mix that is preferred by some. It seems the combination of the carbonation and the coffee flavor is quite appealing and memorable. The cola provides a subtle layer of sweetness, while the coffee offers a compliment to the taste. Most seem to prefer the stronger double espresso flavor mixed with the cola. The interesting thing is that it can be served either hot or cold.
Sparkling water is also another addition you may wish to try in your next cup of coffee. If you add sparkling water to your coffee, it is recommended that you use cold coffee, as the heat will make the sparkling water flat very quickly. If you like carbonation and coffee, this combination may be just the thing to both quench your thirst and fill your need for caffeine.
If you are a connoisseur of sparkling water, you can get a little daring and try adding flavored sparkling water to the mix. Remember, adding flavored sparkling water to your cup of coffee may change the way your entire cup tastes, so it would be wise to experiment with a small amount initially to see if you like the flavor combination. If you prefer the carbonation from soda, this is a great way to get it without added sugar and calories.
Oils and Fats
Oils are frequently added to coffee to help add a bit of nutritional value. The most common oil added is coconut. Because coconut oil has a low melting point, it quickly dissolves in your cup of coffee, so you are not drinking chunks of oil or fat.
Some people even prefer to add essential oils to their coffee for added health benefits. When using essential oils, you must know exactly how much to add, and you need to make sure you have oils that are meant to be ingested.
Butter is becoming a popular mix in within the coffee world. The butter adds a distinct flavor and a smoothness to the coffee, which is enjoyed by many. This is the main ingredient in Bulletproof coffee.
Spices can add a nice flavor profile to your coffee drink. You can choose to add many different spices to enhance your beverage. Some of the most common spices added to coffee are:
When adding spices to your cup of coffee, it is best to add a small amount when you do not overpower the coffee and end up with something you cannot drink. Salt is also commonly added to coffee to help break up the bitterness. Again, add salt with caution, as you do not want to ruin your coffee.
Protein Mix-Ins: Egg or Egg Yolks
Eggs are added to coffee by individuals that wish to have an added boost of protein in their cup of coffee. Some prefer to use egg yolks. You would likely not want to add egg to a craft beverage such as a latte or other creamy mixture because the texture and taste may be a bit off-putting.
When adding eggs to coffee, you are not just cracking an egg into your cup of joe. Typically, the egg is beaten and then poured over the dry grounds before it is brewed. As the hot water flows over the egg and through the grounds, it helps add protein to the drink and lowers the acidity of the coffee. There you have it – egg coffee!
How Should I Sweeten Coffee?
Many people enjoy a sweet and savory cup of coffee, but it is important to know that not all sweeteners are created equally. There are various ways to sweeten your coffee drink, and not all of them are terrible for your diet, and it does not always have to be sugar. Some of the most popular sweetener options are.
- Brown sugar
- Sweetened condensed milk.
- Maple syrup
When using these sweetening options, you usually want to go with the rule of thumb that less is more. It is always easier to add more than it is to take it away once it is in the coffee. If you are ordering a drink at a local coffee shop, you may want to see what options they offer when you place your order.
I wrote another post on how to sweeten coffee without using processed sugar.
What is the Most Popular Coffee Drink?
As you can see, many different coffee drinks are available the world over. You may think black coffee should win this, hands down. While each type has its cult following, the most popular coffee drink is a shot of espresso. It is quite a remarkable drink. It can be taken as a single or double espresso shot on its own. The espresso can also be mixed in many specialty coffee drinks.
Statistically, Americans alone drink nearly 3 cups of coffee a day. Espresso shots and all other coffee drinks are included in this data set. Because espresso is so versatile and can be utilized in many ways, it helps add to the increased consumption and popularity. So what are you waiting for? Head down to your nearest local coffee shop and savor that espresso!
Coffee is one versatile drink that is extremely popular worldwide, with nearly 62% of the population enjoying at least one cup each day. While some stick to plain black coffee, others want a much more decadent treat with sweeteners and flavors. No matter your preference, if you enjoy the taste of coffee, there is likely a method of serving coffee that will fit your taste.
The next time you go to your local coffee cafe or decide to create your own caffeinated or decaffeinated treat, try some of the combinations here.