If you’re reading this article then there a high possibility that you’re a Coffee lover.
I’m sure I’m not alone in needing at least one cup a day just to keep me sane and functioning. A lot of people have their coffee brewed a certain way, in a certain place and only enjoy a particular type of bean.
I was that guy. For months the staple was a black americano from the best coffee shop in Chester, The Jaunty Goat.
But moving out of Chester’s city centre for work meant I had to switch it up, I had to abandon the safety of Jaunty and discover something different, and that, if I’m being honest was pretty liberating.
You see I’ve always known that coffee culture is unique in each country, city and even town, but one thing always stays the same (pretty much), it’s the names of the different types of coffee.
Having moved out of the city centre I’ve begun to experiment with different beans, brewing methods, roasts and textures and it’s done nothing but improve my knowledge and passion for coffee.
Since my last post I’ve also been researching and learning about all sorts of history and skills from a couple of books that I was given as a gift, and I can highly recommend both.
The first is ‘The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee‘. It gives an in-depth history of the origins of coffee as well as a modern-day take on the culture and industry of the world’s most loved bean.
The second is ‘Coffee Art‘ by British latte art champion Dhan Tamang. I’m still doing my best to master the basics, but his instructions are ridiculously easy to follow (it’s just my skills that need some work).
So if nothing else, you should invest in both books if you love coffee.
As it’s been a while since my last post, I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve gained by breaking down what some of the coffees you see on your coffee shop wall mean, including how they’re brewed and how they’re made in the hope that you too will become a little more adventurous next time you hit up your favourite coffee hangout.
At its core, an affogato is an Espresso with a scoop of ice cream which sweetens the sometimes bitterness of the espresso – it’s perfect if you have a sweet tooth.
It’s probably the most humble cup of coffee you can get. You combine steaming hot water (not boiling) with a shot or two of espresso and enjoy. Simple.
If you’re looking to buy a coffee from one of the big chains, I’d recommend Cafe Nero. Their Americano is always full-bodied and isn’t as bitter as some of the other chains.
Now I’ve never tried one myself, but a Café breve is a Milk-based espresso where half-and-half (or single cream in the UK) is used instead of milk. The coffee is foamy compared to a latte and can be a bit of an issue for those with a moustache.
This frothy coffee is a favourite of connoisseurs and commuters alike and is made with espresso, a small amount of steamed milk and then a layer of milk foam to finish it off.
The thing to remember with a cappuccino is that it has less milk than a Lattee but more than a Breve
Check out how to make the perfect cappuccino here.
I’ve found that you can make an excellent cappuccino using the Sage Barista coffee machine.
The name cortado comes from the Spanish ‘cortar’ which means ‘to cut’, probably referencing the way the milk cuts through the espresso.
A cortado is usually made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. The best ones hold the same texture as a flat white but come in a much smaller package.
This is an easy one. Doppio is the Italian word for double, and if you order a doppio in your local coffee shop, you can expect a double shot of espresso on its own and that’s it. It’s not used frequently on coffee shop boards, but if you do spot it, you’ll now know what it means.
Essentially espresso is coffee! It’s usually a small shot of coffee in its purest form with a lovely thick crema on top which comes from the essential oils that are extracted during the brewing process.
According to Illy, the ideal way to brew an espresso is when: “…a jet of hot water at 88°-93°C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres through a seven-gram (.25 oz.) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee. Done right, the result is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz.) of pure sensorial pleasure.”
French press alongside a Turkish coffee may be one of the oldest forms of brewing coffee, but there’s a reason it’s stood the test of time.
Ideal for groups of people or if you can’t be bothered firing up the coffee machine, the French Press is prepared by pouring hot water over ground beans before pushing down the plunger after 1-3 minutes depending on how strong you like your coffee.
I like to use a Kitchen Craft LeXpress, it always delivers a great filter and comes in a variety of sizes.
As with many other coffees on this list, the flat white is made with espresso and steamed milk.
It’s the coffee world’s attempt at finding a happy medium between an Americano and a latte. It traditionally has less milk in it than a latte.
The consistency of the milk is another point of difference between a flat white and a latte – a latte has a creamy, velvety layer of milk on the surface which can vary in depth depending on where you buy your coffee. A flat white has a thinner band of the textured milk, ideally with a shinier surface.
Granita al Caffe Con Panna
Now we’re getting into a few coffees I haven’t tried personally, but have learned about through the Curious Barista’s book.
The Granita is Sicilian and involves freezing espresso and then shaving or crushing the ice and combining it with gelato or cream.
You can try to make one yourself with this recipe.
Helado de Cafe
Another on my list of ‘to-trys’, this is a coffee mixed with vanilla ice cream and topped with a hot caramel sauce or milk foam.
Simply put, to make an Irish coffee, get your best blend of coffee, your favourite whiskey and combine equal measures of both with cream for a silky smooth boozy bonanza.
All you need for a top-notch latte is a shot or two of strong, tasty espresso and plenty of hot sweet steamed milk over the top.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can always add a syrup into the mix to switch it up a bit.
I recommend Monin syrups which always provide excellent flavour and they definitely offer the best sugar-free options.
Another delicious beverage from the Italians. The clue as to how you make it is in the name itself.
Macchiato translated into English means ‘spotted’, so it’s essentially espresso with a spot of milk. You serve it exactly the same way as you would an espresso (small cup etc) the only difference is the small amount of foamed milk on the top.
Mocha or Mochaccino
To make a quality mocha, you need three things. Your favourite espresso, some steamed milk and chocolate syrup.
You make a mocha as you would make a latte, but instead, you add chocolate syrup into the mix too. I love topping mine with whipped cream.
A Noisette is essentially the French’s way of saying Macchiato, it’s made the same way. A short espresso with a spot of milk.
Again, this is an espresso, but it is finished by topping it with whipped cream.
No coffee world tour would be complete without a stop in Turkey. They have their own way of doing things and they prepare their coffee with long-handled pots usually made of copper and brass.
It’s usually brewed in a similar way to a french press except this time there’s no plunger.
You can get all your Turkish coffee accessories by clicking here.
So, there we have it.
The Boy N Bean guide to coffee. I hope this helps you next time you’re in a coffee shop and want to try something different but didn’t want to risk it given you had no idea what you might be picking.
Whilst I’ve tried to be as extensive as possible in this post, I’m fully aware that there are many more varieties of coffee that I’ve either not heard of or not encountered yet.
If you’ve tried a type of coffee that isn’t on this list, I’d love to hear about it. Just drop a comment and I’ll be sure to give it a go.
Don’t forget to check out which coffees I’ve reviewed on The Bean Pole and also like the page on Facebook.
Have a great day everyone.