The Coffee Order Cheat Sheet

Has it ever happened to you that the barista was waiting to pick up your order, but befogged by the many unknown coffee names and expressions, you ended up ordering the wrong coffee? The confusion ends here. We put together a cheat sheet of the most common types of coffee drinks so that next time you’ll be able to tell caffè latte from latte macchiato, ristretto from espresso and caffè lungo from americano.

Black coffee

To make it easier for you, we put the coffees that are served without milk in the same category. The smallest in volume is the ristretto: contrary to popular belief, this contains the least caffeine. The strongness of the coffee is determined by the duration of the extraction and the amount of ground coffee. Ristretto requires a minimum amount of preparation time. This is why it tastes weaker than espresso. Espresso is a simple black coffee, it takes more extraction time, and it is made of 7 g coffee per 40 ml. Doppio means a double shot of espresso. This type of black coffee is made of 14 g grounds, and in volume is twice as big as espresso. Because of that, we can call it the strongest. The lungo, alias long coffee, contains as much caffeine as espresso, but the extraction time is longer and more water is added. In cafés usually, we have to tell the waiter if we would like to drink any type of coffee out of this category with milk.


Latte cavalcade

It’s easy to make a distinction between the different black coffee types as much as we have a hard time when milk is added to the equation. Telling caffé latte and latte macchiato apart might seem like a mission impossible. We weren’t wrong about the ingredients because both contain a single shot of espresso, milk and froth. As long as a simple latte looks like a milky hodgepodge, your girlfriend’s latte macchiato order is a true art of layers: coffee, skimmed milk and frothed milk. The secret lies in the ratio of the ingredients and the foaming. In the case of a simple latte, the hot milk is poured into the espresso, whereas in the case of latte macchiato the order in which the ingredients are added is reversed: espresso is poured into the steamed milk which is then topped with froth. Melange should be included in this second category as well. Melange is basically a latte macchiato but with a bottom layer of honey. Cappuccino needs to introduction. The beloved cappuccino is made by adding foamed milk to espresso with a ratio of ⅓ espresso and ⅔ froth.


It comes as no surprise that the name americano stems from America. But while overseas americano means a cold coffee made with a drip espresso machine, in Europe boiling water is poured into espresso. Those who would like to indulge in chocolate can opt for a mocha. This is prepared from espresso, a layer of chocolate and frothed milk. Caffé macchiato sounds complicated, when in fact it is very easy to prepare. One shot of espresso, one coffee completed with frothed milk, which creates a typical white stain on the coffee’s surface. It is hard to find the perfect time for an Irish coffee, considering a layer of whiskey between the coffee and the frothed milk. Usually, it is either too early or too late for this drink, but very inventive people can negotiate time boundaries.


We hope that next time you order, you will be able to confidently find your way around the various types of coffee drinks. When travelling abroad, it is advisable to ask the waiter, because the different cultures have different ways of serving and drinking coffee.