If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ve probably already explored beyond the realms of the basic drip coffee or simple latte.
Only two species of coffee plants are responsible for supplying the majority of the world’s coffee. C. canephora robusta coffee beans and Coffea arabica beans are the main types. However, the number of recipes you can concoct with these types of coffee beans seems to be infinite.
There are at least 25 various beverages you can make with simple coffee beans. Below, we highlight different types of coffee drinks, covering everything from the famous espresso to some obscure specialty drinks you may never have heard of—until now.
If you’re a purist who believes that coffee should be a no-frills drink, then black coffee is for you. Luckily, there are many different types of coffee drinks in this category.
Thanks to its high caffeine content, the espresso shot is often used as a base for other espresso drinks.
How it’s made: An espresso is made by forcing pressurized steam through ground coffee beans. The espresso machine heats water to create steam and siphons through the portafilter holding the ground coffee.
Perfect for: People who love to get a quick hit of caffeine in a single sip. Need more? Upgrade your single shot of espresso to a double shot of espresso.
Ristretto means “short” in Italian, a moniker that refers to how this drink is made. It’s the counterpart to a lungo coffee. Lungo means “long” in Italian.
How it’s made: Ristretto is made like an espresso but using half as much water. This results in a more concentrated single-shot drink with a slightly different taste.
Perfect for: People who want their espresso but are so busy they don’t have time for a full one.
According to legend, the Americano was developed in Italy during World War II. “Cafe Americano” is the Italian reference to how Americans take their coffee.
How it’s made: An Americano is made by pouring hot water over a shot of espresso, transforming the small shot into a big cup of coffee.
Perfect for: People who love the idea of espresso but can’t stomach the strong taste.
Doppio is basically a double espresso shot.
How it’s made: A doppio is made like an espresso but passes through the espresso machine’s portafilter via a double spout.
Perfect for: People who need that extra hit of caffeine in the mornings.
Pour Over Coffee
Pour-over coffee is proof that you don’t need any fancy gadgets or gizmos to enjoy a great cup of coffee.
How it’s made: Pour over coffee is made using a dripper, which holds a filter containing ground coffee beans. The dripper is positioned over an empty mug. Hot water is poured over the coffee grounds before slowly trickling down to the cup below. Want to try it yourself? Check out our in-depth pour over coffee brewing guide!
Perfect for: People who have plenty of time in the mornings.
Don’t let coffee snobs fool you. Drip coffee is more potent than espresso.
How it’s made: Drip coffee is made using a particular coffee machine, which heats water and then drips the boiling water over ground coffee. It passes through a filter, and the finished product ends up in a coffee pot.
Perfect for: People who want to recreate the vibe of a classic American diner at home.
Batch brew offers a new take on the traditional pour-over cup.
How it’s made: Batch brew coffee is made just like a pour-over coffee—except a machine, not a person, is doing the pouring. Batch brew machines disperse the water in small doses over brief intervals.
Perfect for: People who love the flavor of pour-over but can’t be bothered to do the actual pouring.
It doesn’t get any easier than instant coffee.
How it’s made: Instant coffee is made by pouring boiling water over powdered or crystalline coffee directly in your mug.
Perfect for: People who want to stir and sip.
This is one of the types of coffee drinks that require special machinery—in this case, an AeroPress device.
How it’s made: The AeroPress device steeps the coffee for less than one minute. It’s then pressed through the device’s filter with a plunger. Want to try it yourself? Check out our Aeropress Brewing Guide!
Perfect for: People who want to be able to say they own an AeroPress.
Here’s another type of coffee that requires a particular gimmick. In this case, you’ll need a vacuum coffee pot.
How it’s made: The vacuum coffee pot has two vessels. The lower vessel boils water while the upper container holds coffee grounds. The pressure from the heat causes the boiling water from below to push up, brewing the coffee.
Perfect for: People who want to feel like they’re mad scientists as they brew their morning cup (and who want something more cutting edge than a simple Moka pot).
French press coffee is one popular type of immersion coffee.
How it’s made: Immersion coffee is made by immersing coffee grounds into boiling water and steeping them. This results in a richer taste.
Perfect for: People who already own a French press and want to put it to use.
Chemex is another coffee gadget. Although it dates back to the mid-1950s, it’s seen a surge of popularity since the early 2000s.
How it’s made: Chemex uses the pour-over method. The difference is the unique Chemex filter, which is thicker than a standard filter, resulting in a slower brew and a more robust taste.
Perfect for: People who want a richer cup of coffee.
Coffee Drinks With Milk or Cream
If plain coffee isn’t your thing, there are plenty of milk- and cream-infused options to choose from. Read on for different types of coffee drinks in the “au lait” (with milk) category.
The flat white originated in Australia and has since become a global sensation.
How it’s made: The flat white is made with espresso and a small amount of steamed milk, topped with incredibly dense and creamy foam.
Perfect for: People who want to enjoy the aroma of espresso but want to temper the taste.
This drink can be served just with foam or dressed up with cocoa powder, a dusting of cinnamon, a vanilla stick, chocolate syrup, and more. Some cultures even add ice cream (the Italian affogato) or whipped cream to their cappuccino, making it more like a dessert.
How it’s made: The cappuccino is made of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk (in equal ratio).
Perfect for: People who love foam and froth.
Many people get a latte versus cappuccino confused. In short, the cappuccino maintains the coffee taste, while a latte tastes more like milk.
How it’s made: A latte is made with milk and espresso, with the milk dominating the drink.
Perfect for: People who don’t actually like the taste of coffee.
You might call this the American version of the traditional Italian latte.
How it’s made: A cafe breve is made with steamed milk, milk foam, and espresso (ratio of 2-2-1). It’s foamier than a cappuccino.
Perfect for: People who can’t get enough foam.
“Piccolo” means “small” in Italian. You can probably already guess how this drink is made.
How it’s made: This mini latte is made like a latte, except it uses a ristretto instead of a standard espresso shot.
Perfect for: People who want the milky taste of a latte with fewer calories.
The word macchiato translates roughly to “mark” or “stain” in Italian.
How it’s made: The macchiato consists of a simple express shot with just a splash of milk, “staining” it.
Perfect for: People who want to show off their globalized language skills.
This drink is basically a latte but with an aesthetically pleasing twist.
How it’s made: The latte macchiato is made by pouring the espresso into the hot milk (instead of the other way around). You can distinctly see the different layers of the drink (foam milk at the top, espresso in the middle, and milk at the bottom).
Perfect for: People who need a pretty picture for their Instagram.
Consider this the no-frills, zero-froth version of a cappuccino.
How it’s made: The cortado is made with a one-to-one ratio of espresso and steamed milk.
Perfect for: People who don’t have the patience to find their espresso amidst froth.
Cold Coffee Drinks
A hot cup of coffee on a scorching summer’s day isn’t always appealing. Thankfully, there are many variations of coffee drinks you can enjoy cold.
Cold Brew Coffee
If you want a chilled cup to wake up to, mixing up a batch of cold brew the night before is the way to go.
How it’s made: To make cold brew coffee, mix ground coffee with room temperature water, stir it up, and put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Strain out the grounds before serving. Want to try it yourself? Check out this in-depth cold brew coffee brewing guide!
Perfect for: People who prefer less-caffeinated coffee.
Nitrogen or “nitro” coffee has a creamy consistency thanks to its unique production process.
How it’s made: Nitro is made like cold brew coffee—except it’s infused with odorless Nitrogen gas.
Perfect for: People who want to turn their coffee into a science experiment.
Coffee purists may cry, but an espresso tonic can be a refreshing pick for a hot summer’s day.
How it’s made: To make this drink, start by making two espresso shots and giving them time to cool. Fill a glass with ice and some fresh-squeezed lime juice. Then add the chilled espresso shots and slowly pour over tonic water. Adjust the amount of water according to your tastes.
Perfect for: People who want to show off their coffee knowledge with an obscure beverage.
Unlike a cold brew, iced coffee is made with hot coffee.
How it’s made: Iced coffee takes hot coffee and then cools it gradually, often with the help of ice. Just make sure you brew a strong pot, or your coffee will be watery! Want to try it yourself? Check out this in-depth iced coffee brewing guide!
Perfect for: People who constantly forget to make their cold brew the night before.
Surprising Coffee Drinks
Think you’ve heard of every coffee drink out there? Get ready to be surprised! The below drinks are even more out there than a red-eye or black-eye coffee.
This is a popular coffee drink among people who require a diet low in carbs and high in fat. It’s also sometimes referred to as keto coffee.
How it’s made: Bulletproof coffee combines unsalted butter, coconut oil, and brewed coffee. Try it yourself with this bulletproof coffee recipe.
Perfect for: People who are determined to follow any trend out there.
Traditionally a Vietnamese drink, it’s become more popular worldwide thanks to social media.
How it’s made: Egg coffee is made by beating egg yolks until they’re creamy and then combining them with coffee, sugar, and condensed milk.
Perfect for: People who are willing to risk salmonella poisoning.
Do coffee and lemon belong together? Try a mazagran and judge for yourself.
How it’s made: To make a mazagran, brew a coffee or espresso shot and add sweetener (honey, vanilla, or white sugar will do). Put ice into a glass and pour the concoction on top. Finally, squeeze in some lemon.
Perfect for: People who want some immune-boosting vitamin C with their morning cup.
The Final Word
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages—coming in third after only water and tea. It’s grown everywhere from New Zealand to Latin America and is a genuinely globalized drink.
Given coffee’s popularity, it’s no wonder that people have managed to concoct many different types of coffee drinks. You can even get coffee drinks with alcohol like rum or Irish whiskey (also known as Irish coffee). It seems everyone is on the hunt for the perfect cup!
Whether you love a traditional Turkish coffee, prefer a robusta coffee, or like a sweet mocha, there’s a beverage for you. The above list covers the most popular types of coffee beverages out there. Hopefully, you’ve found your perfect pick among them.