Types of Coffee

For most people it is confusing to make a decision among several types of coffee. Looking at the menu of an ordinary cafeteria can be a dreadful experience for many. The short description on the menu boards don't give a good summary of what you're ordering unless you're a seasoned coffee drinker.

Fortunately, despite all the efforts of the coffee society, it is not that complicated – yet.

To begin with, there are four main types of coffee:

  1. Espresso-based coffee
  2. Filter coffee
  3. Boiled coffee
  4. French press


Espresso is a short, strong drink made by using finely ground coffee under high water pressure. It should have a ‘crema’, a thin layer of coffee coloured foam (the darker the foam the stronger the coffee) sitting on the top.

Espresso’s history goes back to 1884, when Angelo Moriondo, an Italian, registered a patent for a steam-driven "instantenous" coffee beverage making device in Turin.

In time, many other coffee types were developed based on Espresso. Today, these drinks lead the coffee market. So, a good quality Espresso machine is the first machinery, that a café-owner should consider investing in before starting her business.

Professional Espresso Machine

Espresso with water

Let’s begin with the tiniest member of the Espresso family, Ristretto. It is basically a short shot of Espresso coffee made with the normal amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water. Because the strongest Espresso is the first to be brewed, Ristretto is the most concentrated form of espresso, and so has the most caffeine per ounce of any drink on the Espresso list. That said, one shot of Ristretto is less caffeinated than one shot of Espresso simply because there's less of it.

The opposite of a Ristretto is a  Lungo, which is typically double the shot volume. Ristretto means “limited” or “restricted” in Italian whereas Lungo means “long”.

Ristretto vs Espresso vs Lungo

Americano is an espresso with extra hot water added. Serious coffee drinkers think that this is inferior to filter coffee. The difference from Lungo is that, in Lungo, all the water is brewed, and it is generally shorter than an Americano.

Espresso with milk

Several different coffee can be made by adding varying amounts of milk to Espresso.

These will normally appear on menus as Cappuccino, Latte, Flat White (a flat white has the most coffee of any of the longer milky coffees), Mocha, Macchiato or Cortado.

Mocha is based on Espresso and hot milk, but with added chocolate, typically in the form of sweet cocoa powder, although many varieties use chocolate syrup. Mochas can contain dark or milk chocolate.



Also commonly referred to as Espresso Macchiato, a Macchiato has the least milk – it’s an Espresso ‘stained’ with a little milk foam, though in recent years a little more milk has been added so that the barista can show off her latte art skills.



Cappuccino is made with 1/3 Espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 wet foamed milk. The difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino is the milk content. Latte has a lot of milk, whereas Cappuccino is a strong coffee.

Cappucino vs. Latte

A Cortado, which originated in Spain, has equal quantities of espresso and milk and is served in a glass. 



Drip-brewed, or filtered, coffee is brewed by hot water passing slowly over roasted, ground coffee beans contained in a filter. Water flows through the ground coffee slowly, absorbing its oils, flavours and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter. The used coffee grounds are retained in the filter with the liquid dripping into a collecting vessel such as a carafe or pot.

Filter Coffee machine

Paper coffee filters were invented in Germany by Melitta Bentz in 1908. To reduce waste, some coffee drinkers use fine wire mesh filters, which can be re-used for years.

Paper coffee filters were invented in Germany by Melitta Bentz in 1908. To reduce waste, some coffee drinkers use fine wire mesh filters, which can be re-used for years.

Melitta Bentz

Pourover coffee is the manual version of filter coffee and starts with (freshly) ground coffee, a filter, and a filter holder, often called a 'pourover dripper.' At the most basic level, pourover brewing involves pouring hot water over and through the grounds to extract the coffee flavors into a cup.

Pour-over coffee


Boiled coffee is the oldest method in our list of coffee making methods. For centuries, the hot beverage was enjoyed after finely ground coffee was mixed with water and heated up to almost boiling. This is called Turkish Coffee and it still maintains its high popularity among the people of Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

Turkish Coffee

The American version, which is called the "Cowboy Coffee," is a technique as basic as boiling water. While one will get the best coffee flavor by keeping the water just below the boiling point at around 96 °C as in the case of Turkish Coffee, strong coffee is achieved by boiling. Boiling also may bring out the bitterness of the grounds, so one may have to adjust the amount of grounds you use after tasting your first pot.


French press, also known as a Cafetière, is a coffee brewing device patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929.

A cylindrical pot with a plunger and built-in filter screen that presses hot water through ground coffee: that’s the simple beauty of the French press, creating an earthy, rich taste in the cup.  

French Press

All in all, the world of coffee is endless; there are several more ways one can enjoy coffee: Mocha, Percolator, Vacuum, Cold Brew and even Atomic coffee. All matters is the amount of time and money you've got.