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A Coffee Lover’s Guide To Espresso

Espresso and coffee grain


Coffee is no longer a regular drink, it’s a stylish beverage.

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Is there a better way to beat Monday blues than with a steaming cup of caffeinated goodness? We think not! Coffee has most of us wrapped around its tiny espresso cups. Coffee drinks aren’t new to India, we have our own few specialities that have thrived such as the south-Indian filter kaapi. When India opened to the world, globalisation introduced people to a slew of interesting coffee beverages whose names we had only heard of until then. That was the early ’90s and today in 2021, we’ve embraced the coffee culture as one of our own. From companies like Starbucks making their own brews to plantations coming up with indigenous coffee blends, a lot has changed!


Have you ever entered a cafe serving a plethora of coffee drinks to only then choose a cappuccino? Studies say that 44% of Indians are cappuccino drinkers. A gentle reminder to everyone reading, there is a coffee drink for everybody. So why stick to being boring when you can try something new? Here’s our guide to espresso that breaks down coffee jargon for ordering a brew like a pro!


An Espresso shot is a concentrated shot of caffeine that is a flavour bomb by itself. It is made by forcing pressurised hot water through finely-ground coffee using an espresso machine.


▶ ESPRESSO: The basics of any espresso drink is a single shot of espresso. You use a single shot filter (a filter basket used in an espresso machine for a single shot) along with six to eight grams of finely ground coffee.DOPPIO: Commonly called the double shot, this uses the double shot filter instead of a single shot filter—for double the amount of ground coffee and have pressurised hot water run through it.

▶ RISTRETTO: A ristretto contains a higher percentage of caffeine because it’s made from finer ground coffee beans with just half the amount of water. It is a concentrated espresso shot.

▶ AMERICANO: An Americano is very similar to black coffee in caffeine strength. It is made by adding water to a single or double shot of espresso. What you get is a really strong flavourful coffee a lot different from the black coffee flavour wise. Always fill the water in first and then add the shot of espresso to yield better taste.

▶ CORTADO: This drink is simple and strong. Double shots of espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk. It has the strength of espresso and the slight sweetness from the milk.

▶ PICCOLO LATTE: Piccolo in Italian means small. So a piccolo latte is a baby latte served in a demitasse (short latte glass). It is a ristretto shot topped with silky smooth steamed milk.

▶ LATTE: While a cappuccino contains three distinct layers of espresso, steamed milk and foam, a latte steers slightly away. It is made with one-third espresso, two-thirds steamed milk and a very thin layer of micro-foam. They are usually made with double shots of espresso where the steamed milk and the shots are completely blended together.

▶ CAPPUCCINO: The crowd favourite cappuccino is a rich shot of espresso, generally a double shot with a lovely layer of foam on top. A wet cappuccino with a ratio of one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk and one-third milk foam, whereas a dry cappuccino has less steamed milk and more milk foam on top. An average cappuccino has 33% foam for you to consume.

▶ FLAT WHITE: This drink is in between the cappuccino and the cortado. If you like the flavour of a cappuccino, but find it too milky and foamy, go for a flat white. It is made with a double shot of espresso and steamed milk that isn’t frothed too much. It has a higher coffee to milk ratio.

▶ ESPRESSO MACCHIATO: Also known as caffè macchiato, this is one of those drinks where the espresso is king and has to be of the best quality. It is made with two-third foamed espresso and only a dash of steamed milk. Macchiato in Italian stands for ‘spotted’ or ‘stained’, so in a caffè macchiato, the espresso is stained with steamed milk.

▶ LATTE MACCHIATO: A latte macchiato is a variation of the caffè macchiato, where the steamed milk is more than the regular drink. In a latte macchiato, half to three-fourth of steamed milk is poured into a glass and topped with a shot of espresso. In latte macchiato, we are tainting the milk with espresso.

▶ MOCHA: One of the popular things to add to coffee is chocolate. A mocha is ideally a latte with chocolate added to the espresso. Pour a shot of espresso into the chocolate in the cup to melt it, then go on to pour hot milk on top to make this delicious drink.

▶ AFFOGATO: This is not exactly a drink, but an espresso dessert. Common in Italian menus, affogato is just ice cream topped with espresso. Go for a vanilla ice cream, as it enhances the flavour of the espresso. 

Now that you’re somewhat an espresso expert, your next coffee haul is going to be a breeze. Whether you like it bitter or sweet, coffee has got them all!


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