Know your coffee: Milk based coffee drinks

September 09, 2021

Know your coffee: Milk based coffee drinks - Impact Roasters

With many different types of coffee, it can sometimes be confusing to navigate through the coffee world. Therefore, we have made a small guide explaining the main milk-based drinks. 


First, let's start with the basics: you can primarily get coffee with or without milk. Without milk, it's typically referred to as a pure espresso shot, an Americano (an espresso shot with hot water poured in), filter, or pour-overs - but there can always be added a shot of cold milk afterward. We have gathered the most common milk-based coffee drinks (which are also the drinks we sell) for you, so it's easier to navigate on your coffee journey.


All the drinks we are going talk about are based on an espresso shot. What differs one drink from the other is the amount of milk and how it's processed. We have also taken this opportunity to create a small illustration for the coffee types.


1. Latte

Caffé Latte - or just Latte - is a very popular milk-based coffee drink. It got its name from Italy, where "Caffé" means coffee and "Latte" means milk. It has an espresso shot at the bottom, steamed milk, and a small amount of milk foam. 


2. Cappuccino

A Cappuccino, just like a latte, has steamed milk and milk foam. The key difference is that a Cappuccino has more milk foam at the top. A good thumb rule is that a perfect cappuccino should be able to hold a teaspoon, by itself, from the edge of the cup and further out on the foam.

3. Flat white

A flat white works on the same principles as a latte - it is just more concentrated, which means that there's still an espresso shot in but less steamed milk and even less foamed milk. The foamed milk should barely even be visible, and it's not everywhere you can even get latte art with your flat white - it depends on how 'flat' your local barista makes it.

4. Cortado

A Cortado consists of an espresso shot and steamed milk. A Cortado is close to a flat white - just with less steamed milk and with no foam.

5. Latte Macchiato

Here, you start with the steamed milk at the bottom and then pour in the espresso shot. After, you add "spotting" of foamed milk on top. Macchiato means "stained" or "spotted", so it has a literal meaning for these coffee types.

6. Espresso Macchiato

Compared to the Latte Macchiato, here, you just add "spotting" of the foamed milk directly on top of the espresso shot - no steamed milk or anything else. This is the type of coffee with the least amount of milk in it.

7. Mocha

A mocha coffee drink adds chocolate in it after the espresso shot and before the milk is added. Apart from that, it can follow all the previously mentioned types when processing the milk.

Of course, there are a ton of different milk-based coffee drinks, and we could go on forever about the differences.

You can always stop by for a talk, to taste the coffees, or ask our baristas to make something that's not on our menu!

If you are interested in black coffee, we refer to our coffee guide, where we go more in-depth with what roast, grind, and brewing type to pick for black coffee.



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