Unless you’ve been living on a remote desert island, the coffee craze isn’t likely to have passed you by. But maybe you’ve only just made the switch from instant to your local chain or the mobile coffee van. If you’re puzzling over the difference between an Americano and an Espresso, here’s a handy guide to the most common types of coffees around.
Let’s elaborate on the espresso first, because this forms the basis for many other coffee beverages. If you have a filter machine or cafetière at home, then you’ll know your coffee is prepared slowly and steadily by dripping heated water through ground beans. Espresso, on the other hand, is brewed far quicker by flushing a small volume of water at high pressure through the ground coffee to give an intense, rich concentrate, or a ‘shot’. It’s a quicker process for a coffee van or coffee shop to produce, but needs specialist equipment and can be too strong for some people in its purest form. So next in terms of simplicity, we have the Americano. This is usually one or two shots of espresso combined with hot water to dilute it. In flavour and strength, this comes closest to what you’ll make in your filter machine at home. Many prefer a milkier taste, though, so then in terms of the most popular mobile coffee, we have the latte or cappuccino. The former is entirely made from steamed milk combined with espresso, with a small head of foam on top; while the latter has a larger head of foam. This tends to help the coffee below stay warmer for longer. Finally, the cortado. This has roughly equal amounts of warm milk and espresso, making a shorter drink than the Americano, the latte or the cappuccino, but the milk neutralises some of that bitter espresso taste.
If you always order the same old drink from your friendly mobile coffee van barista, why not try something new today? You might just find a fresh favourite to tickle your taste buds!