We all face this overwhelming situation at least once in our lives – that awkward moment when we find a restaurant menu full of items we’ve never heard of. Well, coffee might just put you
We all face this overwhelming situation at least once in our lives – that awkward moment when we find a restaurant menu full of items we’ve never heard of. Well, coffee might just put you in that situation! Coffee is one of the most popular beverages globally, and the second most important product after oil. Our love of coffee is celebrated every October 1st (International Coffee Day).
Did you know that there are hundreds of different types of coffee? Of course, no one knows them all unless they are a guide or a beverage professional, but if you are a coffee lover, I am sure you would like to explore as many as possible. Whether you enjoy a latte, cappuccino, or simply a black coffee, this article will take you on a coffee journey worldwide – giving you an idea of the distinct characteristics of the many different coffees and the breadth and depth of our love affair with these divine beverages!
#1. Café au lait
Although it is often compared to other European variations, especially the espresso-based Italian caffè latte, this French version of coffee and warmed milk is mostly made with brewed coffee, traditionally using the French press. The ingredients’ ratio also differs, and café au lait will usually have equal amounts of both, and it mostly does not have any foam on top, unlike caffè latte.
The confusion between the two beverages often appears because the terms are interchangeably used in some European countries that do not make a clear distinction between the two types. Also, café au lait can sometimes be made with espresso. Similar variations that combine coffee and milk are enjoyed in most European countries.
#2. Caffè Americano
Italian caffè Americano is prepared by adding hot water to an already extracted espresso shot. The ratio of coffee and water can vary, but the process should partially dissipate the crema—a creamy foam on top of an espresso. The origins of caffè Americano are vague, though some suggest it was made famous during the Second World War by American soldiers in Europe. Not accustomed to espresso’s intense flavor, this diluted, milder drink was more suited to their taste. Caffè Americano should not be confused with American coffee, a term that might refer to drip or filtered coffee.
Although the word frappe first appeared in the 19th century, this Greek coffee variety was invented in 1957. It is made by combining instant coffee with water and ice. The combination is usually prepared in a shaker or a hand mixer, so when the drink is poured in a glass, a frothy foam should appear on top.
The variations may include milk or evaporated milk—when it is often referred to as frapógalo—and the drink can be sweetened according to taste. Traditionally, this coffee is served in a tall glass, and three degrees of sweetness are available. These include glykós (classified as sweet and typically consisting of four teaspoons of sugar), métrios (medium sweetness with approximately two teaspoons of sugar), or skétos (no sugar). Other specialty versions may also include creamy liqueurs or ice cream, while sometimes the combination can also be mixed with a spoon.
The invention of frappé coffee is usually associated with a former Nescafé employer Dimitris Vakondios. He created the drink by accident at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki when he wanted to make instant coffee, but hot water was not available. Frappé coffee is a Greek staple, but it is also popular in Cyprus. Nescafé initially promoted the drink.
#4. Flat White
Flat white is a variety of coffee that combines a freshly brewed double espresso with milk, usually steamed, to create a light and silky micro-foam. A perfect flat white should have an intense coffee taste, and milk should only be a top-up and not a predominant element, while the top foam should be less airy and less sparkling than in a classic cappuccino or caffè latte. Flat white is thought to have appeared in the 1980s, but it is not yet known whether it occurred in Australia or New Zealand.
Extra finely ground roasted coffee beans are combined with cold water (and, optionally, sugar) in a traditional coffee pot called cezve or ibrik, and then brewed over low heat until frothy and on the verge of coming to a boil, yielding a uniquely strong and rich Turkish coffee.
This specific method of brewing the beverage distinguishes this coffee from other coffee types, and it has been attributed to the Turks, hence the name. Turkish coffee is characterized by a dark color, thick foam on the surface, homogenous consistency, and a strong flavor with notes of bitterness when appropriately prepared.
This coffee is believed to be one of the oldest coffee preparation methods and is often flavored with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, or mastic. It is typically consumed from demitasse cups accompanied by a glass of water and a sweet dessert such as Turkish delight or any homemade or store-bought dessert.
#6. Irish Coffee
Irish coffee is a hot and potent cocktail invented by Irish chef Joe Sheridan in the 1940s. According to the original recipe, it consists of black coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar, and cream – which should not be whipped. Although it originates from Ireland, the drink became popular throughout the world, especially in the USA, where it was brought by a writer named Stanton Delaplane.
There are several variations in the preparation process that can significantly alter the flavor of this warming beverage. It can be made with different coffee types or served with ice, while whiskey can be replaced with some other spirit. The classic Irish coffee is prepared by pouring hot black coffee in a mug, stirring whiskey and brown sugar into it until fully dissolved, then topping it all with a layer of thick cream.