The Ultimate Coffee Guide

A small cup of black coffee (Photo: Wikipedia)
A small cup of black coffee (Photo: Wikipedia)

By Apurba Rath

Coffee is a beverage that is brewed from roasted and ground coffee seeds. The coffee plant is an evergreen plant from African origin. It is also the world’s one the three most popular beverages to sip along with water and tea! Coffee is known to have invigorating effect which is contributed by caffeine (an alkaloid). From bean to the beverage, coffee seeds make a rigorous journey of about 9 steps to brewing the perfect cup of the aromatic beverage.

Did you know that only the scent of the coffee beans will stimulate your brain to work better?

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee is an art. Starting from getting the right beans, the perfect ground and the equipment, they all play a vital role in making that one perfect cup of coffee.

When you are buying roasted coffee beans and you plan on grinding them as per your liking, make sure you don’t grind it too fine. Else, you’ll end up with a bitter tasting coffee.

Coffee experts suggest that when you are grinding your own beans, make sure to grind them as close to the point of brewing it to ensure maximum freshness. Also, it is preferred to use a mill grinder or burr instead to a blade grinder to maintain uniformity in terms of ground size.

Water is an essential addon when making coffee. You have to follow the golden “Coffee-to-water” ratio. One to two teaspoon of coffee grounds for about 1 cup of water. Try this and you’ll see the difference in your brew already.

Another important factor while brewing coffee is the brew time. Depending on the equipment you use, the timing varies. If you are using an espresso machine, the brewing time is about 20-30 seconds. And instant coffee takes about 10-15 minutes to make the perfect cup. For a delicious and aromatic wakeup call, any type of coffee will be just fine, won’t it?

I believe you must have different terms related to coffee-based drinks- latte, espresso, cappuccino, etc. But have you ever wondered why these different names and how actually are the made?

Short Espresso
We will start our list with the foundation of many coffee-based drinks. Espresso is also known as a short black and it is really strong black coffee. Espresso is made by dark roasting the aromatic coffee beans at quite high pressure in an espresso machine. For a short black, it is one shot (30ml approx.) espresso in a beautiful espresso cup!

Double Espresso
Double Espresso is the next drink on our list. It is an espresso-based drink with 2 shots of espresso in an espresso cup. A double espresso is also called Doppio or two shots.

Long Black Coffee
Long Black is also known as Americano. This coffee-based drink has hot water with an espresso shot on top of it. For making a good Americano, all you need to do is fill a cup up to its 2/3rd level with hot water than a shot of espresso on top of it.

Café Latte Known as Latte in short, this is another espresso-based drink. It has steamed milk, microfoam added to the aromatic coffee. Unlike espresso, Latte happens to be a little sweet. For making the perfect latte, a shot of espresso into a tumbler glass, add steamed
milk and then add 1cm of microfoam to top it up. Latte can be flavored according to one’s choice.

One can find a lot of similarity between Cappuccino and Latte. But in the case of Cappuccino, there is more foam and also chocolate on top of the drink! Also unlike Latte, Cappuccino is served in a cup, not tumbler glass. Here one has to add about 2-3 cm of foam and sprinkle chocolate on the top of the foam.

Flat White Coffee
Flat white coffee is just the opposite of Cappuccino. This type of coffee is mainly preferred in New Zealand and Australia. With one shot of espresso in a cup and steamed milk on top, there is no chocolate or foam in this coffee.

Mocha lies somewhere between the mixture of a Cappuccino and a delicious hot chocolate. The process of making mocha is a bit different. Into a cup, a shot of espresso is added. One spoonful of chocolate is added to the espresso shot. Then, steamed milk is added followed by 2-3 cm of foam topped with sprinkled chocolate over it.

A ristretto is a form of espresso but it’s really strong. It has half the amount of water than espresso usually does. Also, this coffee is stronger, concentrated and darker in looks and taste of it. A tip while making a Ristretto, do turn off the normal espresso extractor before it
starts to blonde.

Piccolo Latte
This type of Latte is made in an espresso cup. You can make a Piccolo Latte in two different ways. With either a shot of Ristretto or Espresso, this coffee has a mellowed down to mild sweetness due to the amount of steamed milk added. Also, a small amount of microfoam is introduced to the coffee as well.

Affogato can be called as the summer espresso treat. This simple dessert is mostly for summers and really delicious. One can make an Affogato by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream and adding one or two shots of espresso to it with respect to their own choice. Ice cream with espresso makes one delicious combination.

This coffee has two variants- long macchiato and short macchiato. Depending on the number of espresso shots, the name varies. For making a traditional macchiato, add one or two shots of espresso in a glass or cup of your choice, add a dollop of steamed milk. A layer of foam should follow the layer of steamed milk. If you can see the three layers then you made the right macchiato. It can be flavored too.

When you go to a coffee shop, you know which type of coffee you want to have!