How to Distinguish Different Types of Coffee
From decaf to cold brews, there are so many different types of coffees out there beyond your average medium roast. There’s a world of coffee out there, and once in a while, you can explore other brews than your usual cup of joe. In this article, we’ll go through different kinds of coffee, various coffee flavors, and some of the best coffees to try, and maybe you’ll find your new favorite cup! Why not experience different blends, roasts, and preparations that so many coffee shops offer? This guide will also describe in detail how popular coffee types differ, and what some recommendations are.
Different Kinds of Coffee
Of course, it's easy to go to a simple black coffee to get your morning started. However, why not treat yourself to something even more savory and adventurous? There are more than fifteen traditional hot and iced different types of coffee, so let’s go through some of the most popular and commonly available kinds of coffee.
Perhaps as popular as a normal cup of coffee, espresso is both a drink and brew style. Espresso as a drink is concentrated coffee that was brewed with high pressure and hot water. Espresso is thicker than traditional coffee, so it offers a different texture. Any kind of coffee beans can be used to make espresso– what matters is it's brewed under high pressure (unlike traditional drip coffee) and hot water. Espresso is normally enjoyed in small quantities because of its high caffeine content.
If you’d like to enjoy an espresso over a longer period of time, consider an Americano. An Americano has a shot of espresso brought to the top of a cup with hot water.
A latte is similar to an Americano, but instead of hot water and espresso, it’s made of steamed milk and espresso. You can expect a latte to be frothier than an Americano for this reason. Some lattes may have just a little bit of foam on the top as an extra flair of texture.
A cappuccino has less steamed milk than a latte and way more foam on top, as well as espresso. Cappuccinos are thus even more decadent than lattes. Think of lattes and cappuccinos as opposites!
You can’t go wrong with a flavorful mocha to treat yourself. Mochas have a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. The chocolate makes a mocha a perfect dessert drink or even a fun start to your morning!
A flat white is similar to a latte because they’re both made with espresso and steamed milk. However, if you want even more of a wake-up call, go for a flat white! It has way more espresso than a latte does.
Alright, onto iced coffees. Besides the typical iced coffee, there’s the more powerful cold brew. Cold brew is made from coffee beans that are steeped in water between 6 and 36 hours. The longer the beans are steeped, the stronger they are!
And finally, last but not least in our list of popular kinds of coffee is the frappuccino. A frappe is an iced coffee made of coffee or espresso, milk, and whipped cream on top if you’d like.
Now that we’ve explored different types of coffee, let’s go into different coffee flavors or roasts. Different flavors can add an extra layer of goodness to your coffee, whether you choose to add a caramel drizzle or try a dark roast.
While there are different ways to prepare your coffee, such as having a latte or flat white, you can also decide to try a different roast than the typical medium roast that most commercial coffees are made of. Different types of coffee can have so many different flavors, and it's fun to mix and match with add-ins! Let’s take a look at how each roast differs and how they cause different coffee flavors.
Coffee beans for light roasts are roasted at lower temperatures compared to other roasts but are roasted for longer, which causes coffee made from this roast to have way more caffeine. Light roasts are also more acidic and have more citrus, other fruit, and lighter coffee flavors.
Next is the typical medium roast. At a coffee shop, if a roast isn’t specially denoted, it's most likely a medium roast. These roasts are balanced in their flavors and acidity, which is perfect to add any kind of creamer or syrup.
Medium-dark roasts are roasted at higher temperatures than medium roasts, as the name suggests. This roast has a fuller body than medium and light roasts, as well as a richer flavor.
Finally, dark roast coffee is roasted at the highest temperature and is sweeter because the sugars in the beans become caramelized. Dark roast coffee flavors are the richest and have the fullest body, which gives the coffee a buttery texture and taste. Dark roasts are also the least acidic and have the least caffeine content. For the boldest coffee flavors, a dark roast is your go-to!
Beyond the Roasting Process
We can’t talk about coffee flavors without bringing up popular coffee add-ins! While some coffee purists might only like regular black coffee, why not try different creamers and syrups? Creamers can be milk-based, such as half-and-half, or they can be milk alternatives, such as oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk. Milk-based creamers are fuller and make your coffee thicker compared to milk alternatives, but each has a unique flavor and texture. You can pair your creamer with flavored syrups like caramel or vanilla. You can even dare to try syrups like blueberry, lavender, or peppermint! Think of your cup of coffee as potential; you can mix and match coffee types, roasts, creamers, and syrups to make a drink unique to your tastes. To get started, here are some popular coffees to try.
Finding the Best Coffees
Of course, the best coffees are the ones that you enjoy. It's entirely subjective, yet some coffees are popular because they’re just so good! Different types of coffees, roasts, and add-ins can result in some unique coffee profiles. Here are some popular coffees to try:
Iced Caramel Macchiato
Iced caramel macchiatos are like cappuccinos, just with a little bit more espresso. Made with milk, espresso, vanilla syrup, ice, and caramel drizzle, iced caramel macchiatos satisfy a sweet tooth pretty easily.
Lavender Latte with Oat Milk
Lavender syrup is gaining popularity recently because of its light and subtle floral taste. Oat milk is also lighter in body and texture than other creamers. Paired together in a latte creates a simple yet tasty drink that won’t weigh you down as you go about your day.
Light Roast and Berry Syrup
Because light roasts (aka blond roasts) are citrusy and fruity, pairing them with berries complements their flavor profile. This can be enjoyed with or without creamers and sugar. For an extra refreshing hint, you can try this coffee combination iced for a bright experience.
Since we’ve gone through some of the best coffees, different types of coffees, and how each roast differs from the other, you can start to experiment with what you know to make your new favorite cup. From dark roasts to cappuccinos, this a pretty comprehensive guide to different types of coffee and how you can distinguish them!