How to Make Coffee That Your Friends & Family Will Love

Do you worry about how to make coffee taste great?

Do you worry about how to make coffee taste great? Time was, you didn't worry about what types of drinks there were on the menu! You just drank it black or with milk (cream) and sugar; what's worse... it was mostly instant, too - Sanke, anyone?

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Credit: Christine Lin

There were no variations unless you went abroad where you were introduced to espresso or cappuccino or latte in Italy. Perhaps you'd experience another European nation's coffee tradition.  In America, it was simply coffee.  In the UK, you could order it by the color. That was that. My! How things have changed!

So if you want to know how to make coffee...! Perhaps like me you've bought the best machine you could but you are still trying to figure out how to make a decent cup of joe. Do you wonder why that stuff in your cup doesn't taste like the Starbucks you had yesterday? Help is at hand, if you stick with me!

This section of the PurelyCoffeeBeans aims to show you what drinks you can make and how to make a really good cup of coffee: hot coffee drinks, iced coffee, etc. We’ll start from basic tips on how to brew the grounds and look at a range of methods to make great coffee. After all, it really isn’t rocket science!

to knowing how to make coffee with panache and skill!

Overview of the Common Coffee Drinks

  • Choose the good coffee
  • Hot Coffee Drinks
    • Milk Drinks (forthcoming)
    • Black Coffee Drinks (forthcoming)
    • Mixers (forthcoming)
  • Iced Coffee Drinks
    • Frappe or Freddo Drinks (forthcoming)
  • Fast Forward To The 21st Century
  • Latte vs Cappuccino
  • Espresso: Packs a Punch
  • Regional Variations
  • Recipes for Popular Drinks to Make at Home
  • Gallery of Awesome Coffee
  • Recommended Reading

Choosing Good Coffee

There are many kinds on the market, but PurelyCoffeeBeans recommends that you buy whole beans (in most cases). Simply put, buying your own beans and grinding them yourself means that you can actually control what goes in your cup!

When you have chosen your types of coffee beans, you'll still need to buy a few coffee making supplies such as filter papers, spoons, etc. Now you're ready to learn  to make it taste great!  Exciting!

I. Hot Coffee Drinks

Cappuccino in large bowl shaped cup - Agnes b. Taipei

Damned fine cappuccino! 5*! Great flavor, made with lovely swirls!

There is a huge repertoire the world over. From making espresso or cappuccino or cafe au lait in Europe, to the latest trends such as the flat white from Down Under.

Whatever kind of drink you are making, there is a recipe for that. And it's actually pretty easy if you want to know how to make coffee drinks, even the more complex ones! Popular choices from restaurant and cafe menus include: Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, Cafe Mocha and that's just the start of the list.

Not only that, but we look at typical coffee makers, including the popular French press pot, the drip coffee maker, and the European Moka pot. We'll be adding recipes for some of the more popular ones, and making recommendations about what equipment you might need to make those.

You can find out how to make cappuccino in this article which includes tips on which coffee beans to choose, how to prepare it, even if you don't have an espresso maker. It also suggests good non-dairy alternatives to milk.

Hand-poured Coffee - the Artisan Way!

Our friend is making coffee the old-fashioned way, no single button single cup coffee makers or superautomatics here! Just straight pouring into a traditional cone & filter. Circle around to get the 'bloom', then pour slowly to give it time to absorb the water before releasing its succulent tender flavors!

Thanks, J.

II. Iced Coffee Drinks

With summer coming, iced coffee is a popular choice in hotter days or climates, and can be a great alternative to iced lemon tea! With a little milk or cream, sugar, and caffeine, it can be the best way to shake off the stupor of hot and humid summer days!

Iced Coffee served with crushed ice on a tray.

Moreway Coffee in Taipei

This is my favorite Iced Coffee, true artisan, created by hand roasted beans, dripped in a large slow coffee dripper over 8~12 hours. The results are then poured over crushed ice, served with liquid sugar and cream. Wonderful! You can start with simple iced coffee recipes or cold brew, both of which are great beverages in a hot summer day, should you want to learn how to make iced coffee.

Of course, when you do it yourself, you can control the 'formula' and the amount of calories. But it’s always wise to be aware that the calories can be significantly higher in commercial or prepared drinks.

Frappe or Freddo Drinks

For summer 2020, we'll be adding our Frappe Drinks section with information and recipes on how to buy or make Frappes. These drinks have been popular for decades in some countries, and are a totally heat busting way to enjoy a refreshing beverage. You can find out much more about these and other iced coffees in my book.

Fast Forward: Coffee in the 21st Century

Now, hardly anyone goes to a cafe and orders a regular cuppa, not with all the different drinks that have been introduced.  People who love coffee now enjoy it in a lot of different flavors and varieties.

Some of those drinks taste more like confections with added cream, syrups, ices and other toppings!  Even a simple black coffee can be ordered: espresso, iced, Americano, in a variety of beans. So let's take a look at the different popular types of coffee drinks that you can find at your local cafe.

III. Latte vs Cappuccino

One of the most popular drinks is cappuccino, which is basically coffee with cream but with an intense infusion of caffeine.  Two shots of espresso, one part steamed milk, and a little milk froth, it's a waker-upper that can't be beat and very tasty.

This is a very popular drink in Europe that has established a firm foothold in North America. Though in Italy, where the drink first became popular, it's only drunk in the mornings; in other parts of the world, you can have it any time! And I do!

There are variations of cappuccino, such as Caffe Latte with 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk topped by milk froth.  This drink is particularly favored by those who prefer a lighter drink, with a little less coffee.

Caffe Latte

Caffe Latte

If you like your coffee sweet you'll like Caffe con Leche which is espresso, steamed milk and a teaspoon of sugar. One store also sells a Latte Macchiato which is a Latte with additional caramel syrup in the drink, and a dash of caramel on the top for color.

If you like chocolate you'll love Caffe Mocha with espresso, steamed milk and cocoa powder.

IV. Espresso: Packs a Punch of Flavor

Small double espresso

Small double espresso: very nice. Roaster unknown.

Of all the drinks available, one drink still less popular in the US, but adored in both Italy and South America is the Espresso. It's a simple shot of the strong coffee served in a tiny espresso cup. It is also the foundation of many of the popular drinks made with milk, like Cappuccino, Latte, Flat White, Cortado, etc.

You can also order a double shot, if you wish a longer drink. In some countries, it's made with sugar, while in others you add the sugar yourself.

A good espresso is normally strong and dark in color. It has a good body and good texture. Though it may be made from dark roasted beans, some coffee brands excel at producing a great espresso from medium roasted beans. Also, many espresso beans include a measure of Robusta beans to boost the body, flavor and caffeine of the final drink.

Typically drunk in a few minutes, you should stop to appreciate the crema (the froth that is produced by espresso machines) before you add sugar (if you do) and consume the espresso. You can also find the espresso available as solo, dioppo, and trio with each referring to the number of shots (can you say '1,2,3..'?)

Naturally, you'll find some interesting espresso variations: one that is even tastier is Espresso con Panna, espresso with whipped cream on top. There's also the Caffe Macchiato, which has a small amount of milk or even foam spooned by hand onto the top of the espresso.

The Americano

The final variation is the Caffe Americano that is made with 1 part espresso and 3 parts water.  This produces a stronger coffee drink than a cappuccino or even a drip coffee. You can also ask for an extra shot.  Often drunk black, I usually add a dash or two of cold milk for flavor, and to cool the coffee. Suggest that if you order this, ask them to use less water, if you get it to go.

Americano

Cup of Americano Espresso

Other popular types of coffee drinks include making iced coffee drinks, or it is made with crushed ice (Starbucks calls this frappuccino), and even edible variations where coffee is used to make delicious deserts.

V. Local Variations

Many types of coffee drinks are very popular in Europe and elsewhere. These are often served as much for visual effect as for taste.

One example of this is Bombon, popular in Spain.  Espresso is combined with condensed sweetened milk but in a transparent glass.  The milk settles to the bottom of the glass creating a pleasing bi-colored drink that is delicious as it is attractive.

In Italy, especially Rome, Espresso Romano is the preferred coffee drink; espresso is served with sugar and a piece of lemon rind.

In Germany people like to drink Eiskaffee which is cold coffee with sugar poured over vanilla ice cream.  Sometimes it is topped with whipped cream.  Understandably, this drink is an important part of enjoying the warm summers!

In Vietnam the people enjoy Ca phe sua da (or Café Sua Da), which translates to iced milk coffee.  It is sometimes made just by mixing black coffee with sweetened condensed milk and pouring it over ice.  More often it is brewed using a drip filter and fed directly into a cup containing the milk then poured over the ice.

Frappuccino has become very popular, particularly in the warm months.  It is made with espresso and one of many flavors, one of the most popular being hazelnut but can also be made with vanilla, chocolate, raspberry or other flavors.

This combination is poured into a blender with ice and milk, creating a frothy drink that is not only refreshing but delicious. Some coffee shops use instant powder to make this, especially one popular chain; while others use fresh shots of espresso as the base. I already know which I prefer, and it's not just because the popular frappuccinos are high in calories.

Coffee has become the base of many wonderful drinks.  With all these varied concoctions, even people who don't care much for the taste of coffee may still find one of the types of coffee drinks enjoyable for themselves!

Hear From You

It's easy to learn the coffee drinks names as well as how to make great drinks, once you have the knowledge, skills and supplies! I'll be adding recipes to showcase some of the drinks I've tried! And if you have any great recipes to share with us this winter, why not drop one in the form below! I'd love to hear from you!

Coffee Drink Names: List of Black and Milk Coffee Drinks

There are many coffee drink names that you can find in cafes and countries around the world. Is it possible to know all the coffee drinks in the world? Is it? One popular store listed over 2000 coffee drinks alone!

Perhaps this is the way it should be, because coffee drinks are popular in so many countries, many cultures. Why? When PurelyCoffeeBeans travels, it's always great to try out the local variations!

However, in this list, we're aiming for something a little less than a complete list of drinks! One day, we'll get there, I'm sure!

But first, let's break our initial list of coffee drink names into three groups: Black Coffee Drinks, Milk Coffee Drinks, and Flavored Milk Coffee Drinks. In 2020, when the weather is hotter again, we'll add Cold Coffee Drinks and Frappe Drinks (made with crushed ice).

Black Coffee Drinks

These are typically made with espresso coffee makers, though French presses, and even drip coffee makers can make some quite decent black coffee drinks, as well!

In much of the world, the espresso is the standard, a small cup of strong coffee extracted under lots of pressure. I mean, this is a really small cup! But this style gives rise to many entries on this list of coffee drink names, as you'll see.

The typical espresso shot is about 1 fl.ounce (to 1.25fl. ounces). The double shot is (well!) double that!

If the amount of water is right, the grounds are of decent quality, then the resulting espresso shot(s) are absolutely divine. You'll often see a 'crema' on top, too, often the sign of a decent shot!

Some variations I have tried include:

  • Espresso Con Panna, which translates as 'with cream'. A twist of cream, lightly whipped, is squeezed on top of the espresso.
  • Americano is a simple drink made from two shots of espresso with hot water added at the end. You can also find the variation called a Long Black where the espresso is added to a cup of hot water.
  • Espresso Macchiato which is a single or double shot of espresso topped (or dappled) with steamed milk froth. Lovely!

There are also quite a few simple espresso drinks made with other ingredients: a Carajillo, served with a shot of brandy; a Black Eye in which double shots are added to a cup of regular coffee made in a drip maker; and even several iced variations, where espresso is poured over ice cubes in a small glass!

Milk Coffee Drinks

One of my favorites has always been the Cappuccino, and there are also many variations of these basic drinks in stores like Starbucks, such as the Cafe Au Lait, Latte, Caramel Macchiato, Flat White, etc.

Most of these milk drinks are also made with the same basic espresso shots, but there really are two groups of milk drinks: basic milk drinks and flavored milk coffees where additional syrups and flavorings are added.

- Basic Milk Coffee Drinks

The Latte is certainly one of the most popular milk coffees drinks for women (at least where I live), though I prefer a stronger Cappuccino.

The latte, or Caffe Latte, is made from a shot of espresso and freshly steamed milk. The key to the successful latte is keeping a decent ratio of espresso and milk, then it is topped with a thin layer of foam from the steamed milk.

My preference is for the Cappuccino, though made with the same ingredients as the Caffe Latte, is typically a stronger and more flavorful drink. Somehow, the additional foam doesn't detract at all from the espresso flavor. Of course, there is an equal amount of steamed milk in the cup, too.

One variation that I love is the Flat White, which is espresso and steamed milk - poured direct from the bottom of the steam jug. This steamed milk has been gently folded back into the jug (rather like making a cake), and spooned on to a single shot of hot espresso. It's White because of the milk, but the texture of the foamed milk is much finer from the repeated folding technique, therefore Flat.

Cafe au lait is perhaps the French equivalent of the Latte, and is made in a similar way, but using bold roast (not necessarily espresso) which is mixed with steamed hot milk and more coffee in equal portions.

- Flavored Milk Coffee Drinks

For flavored drinks, there are almost as many variations as there are flavorings! So no list of coffee drink names would be complete without...

My wife's personal favorite is the Cafe Mocha, made in the European style. Made like a latte (see above), chocolate syrup is added for a finishing touch. The idea is to preserve the coffee flavor, not create a glass of hot chocolate!

Another perennial is the Caramel Machiatto, which is a Caffe Latte flavored with vanilla syrup, and caramel syrup is poured in an attractive manner on top. It's a really sweet drink, needs no additional sugar, and is great if you're needing a sugar rush, or a disaster if you're on a diet!

The last two flavored drinks are the Vienna Coffee and the Irish Coffee. The Viennese and is simply double shots of espresso, mixed with whipped cream in place of milk and sugar!

And the Irish coffee is a form of liqueur coffee made with, ... Whiskey and Cream! Totally indulgent! And perhaps the most popular of all on this (sadly) incomplete list of names!

Common Ingredients

In order to create your own recipes or unusual drinks, you’ll definitely need some extra ingredients. Now, what are some common ingredients used to make standard coffee drinks? What ingredients will you need to make your own drinks?

  • Chocolate dustings
  • brown or crystal sugar,
  • espresso beans
  • milk: full fat, low fat or zero fat
  • soy milk or almond milk

Special Ingredients

Apart from these ingredients, you may also need

  • whipped cream,
  • almonds,
  • cherries,
  • hazelnuts and
  • ground cinnamon

Special Syrups

Last but not the least ingredient you may require while trying something different is syrups. These flavored syrups play an important role in such recipes, and you can’t only use syrups to enhance the flavor of your coffee but also can be used to decorate the drinks.

You can buy these syrups from any good retailer, or you can make your purchase online. The most popular and standard flavored syrups are chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, amaretto, Irish cream, caramel and hazelnut, but more flavors are available out there depending on the country you are residing.

Inspired? Upgrade Your Coffee

Use What You Have Now

There are many ways to make decent hot coffee drinks with traditional methods: such as the drip maker, the French press, the espresso maker, the stovetop maker, and even just the plain old filter cone!

All of these methods can make great coffee no matter what kind of equipment you have! You don't have to go out and buy more expensive equipment or supplies, especially when things are a little tight! Just use what already have!

Perhaps the only thing I would suggest is either getting your coffee ground professionally for you, or buying a simple manual grinder, if you want to do that at home. It's a little more work, but if your budget is restrained right now, this is a great way to grind your own beans without mashing it in a mill.

Upgrade Your Cuppa

Now that I've saved you a bundle of money on your next expensive machine, don't be afraid of upgrading your beans. Spending a little more on your coffee can easily turn your average drinks into an altogether heavenly experience!

I'm going to suggest, if I may be so 'bold' (excuse the pun!), several upgrade routes that you can try for your upgrading your experience:

Route 1: instant coffee to ground

This simple upgrade is buying your favorite brand of ground coffee in bean form. While this is not always possible, you should be able to upgrade from Folgers instant to Folgers Ground or Whole Bean easily enough. This also works for Douwe Egberts, and one or two other brands!

Route 2: pre-ground to whole bean

Because pre-ground is much easier to use in the kitchen, it's become a very popular product. Modern packing technology also means coffee tastes fresher longer. But ... but it can still become stale over time. Simply buy beans rather than ground.

Many popular coffee brands are available in either ground or whole bean, such as Lavazza and Melitta. If you buy whole beans, you can grind it yourself or have it ground at the time of purchase! Now isn't that much fresher!

Route 3: upgrading your brand

This may be the more complicated step, so rather than find similar brands, you may want to focus on choosing a similar roasting level or kind of coffee. For example, if you like Yuban Dark Roast, you may one to try one of Starbucks French Roast coffees.

If you are a fan of the Simply Smooth series of coffee from Folgers, you may try a regional varietal such as Dominican Republic which also tends to be less acid and medium roast. You will perhaps end up paying more for your coffee, but the taste will be worth.

Route 4: upgrading your equipment

Make different coffee drinks

You may also want to try some different kinds of coffee drinks to help further your knowledge! Drinks like the Flat White, the Irish Coffee, etc. all can be served hot.

You'll find that if you vary the beans, the methods of making coffee, the types of milk or cream that you use, the sweeteners, and huge variety of flavorings/toppings, a whole world of hot coffee drinks opens up for you! Now you've only go to decide what food to pair it with! Your call!

Gallery of Awesome Drinks

Here are some of the fabulous drinks I've had over the years. [more]

Further Research: Recipes for Popular Drinks to Do at Home

PurelyCoffeeBeans' own recipe book: For the Love of Iced Coffee

List of Coffee Drinks Posts

Now that we’ve brewed up a storm…

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Or perhaps you just need to put your feet up and make a cuppa, already? Don’t let me stop you!

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