Why is coffee so popular? It’s just basically beans, right? The last part is true but as to why it’s popular, maybe it’s because it can be prepared in so many different ways. Even tea, an equally popular beverage, cannot match up to it in versatility.
The love of coffee goes back centuries ever since it was discovered in Africa. How long our ancestors have enjoyed its rich taste is unclear but one thing’s for sure: it’ll remain one of the most popular drinks known to man.
Step into a coffee house and you’ll be amazed at how many ‘types’ of coffee are there. Customers preferring a balanced taste can choose cappuccino while those leaning towards stronger flavors can opt for several recipes of espresso. In fact, this array of choice has had a big influence in the coffee machines manufacturers make.
Coffee aficionados who frequent cafes serving up menus of the beverage consider themselves experts in what makes a good coffee. But can they really tell the difference between a flat white or a latte? Here are few coffee concoctions whose makeup we’d do well to know.
Flat white: We’ll start with a flat which consists of a layer of espresso at the bottom and ample amounts of steamed milk. Topped off with a thin layer of crema (foam-based cream) and you have a flat white. Baristas never add foam in the layer of steamed milk.
Caffe latte: This is served in a tall glass and is similar to a flat white but with a thicker layer of crema. Like a flat white, steamed milk is poured carefully to avoid adding foam. According to some, there’s no difference between the two drinks. On the other hand, others say a latte has a tad bit more foam. You decide the next time you step into a coffee house.
Cappuccino: Everyone’s favorite, a cappuccino’s distinctive feature lies in perfectly steamed milk. The pros steam it to 60 degrees Centigrade so that its pouring temperature falls between 65 and 70 degrees Centigrade. This produces fine, extremely dense foam. The result is a dome shaped beverage as the foam forms a nice almost quarter circle above the cup.
Macchiato: A macchiato is a small serving that’s marked by extremely precise pouring of foam into the espresso’s center. If done right, espresso and foam won’t be the only layers: the milk can form another layer on top of the froth.
All the recipes above are espresso-based but contain more of milk and foam. Those comprising mainly espresso include ristretto, lungo, single shot and double shot.
A ristretto (short shot) is said to be the perfect espresso because it contains the first three quarters (the tastiest part) of espresso in a single extraction. A lungo is a long shot, containing one and a half ounces of espresso. A single shot is an ounce and a double shot is two ounces of extra strong espresso (it uses more coffee).
With the exception of iced coffee, all other recipes use hot espresso. Espresso con panna, iced coffee and café mocha use additional ingredients. Espresso con panna replaces milk and foam with whipped cream, iced coffee has a layer of chocolate syrup on the very top and café mocha inserts a layer of chocolate syrup between steamed milk and whipped cream.