Understanding Different Types of Coffee

There are so many different types of coffee for you to appreciate and enjoy. Even the biggest coffee fans may not know all of them or understand what they are about. If you’ve ever been caught unprepared in a Starbucks trying to figure out the difference between cold-brew and regular iced coffee or what size a “Venti” is, then you’re not alone.

Coffee is one of the most popular and common drinks around and if you’d like to learn more about it, we’ve got you covered.

Types of Coffee Drinks

Let’s take a look at some of the most common coffee drinks.

  • Black – The basic form of coffee is a plain black cup, but don’t let that fool you. Black coffee is anything but basic. Café noir, if you want to be fancy, is just coffee beans steeped in hot water and then served warm. You don’t add any sugar or creamer or anything – you just enjoy it for its natural flavors. Of course, this means choosing a coffee brand or bean based on its flavor will be important.
  • Americano – This type of coffee has a similar flavor to black coffee, but it has an espresso shot diluted in hot water. Whenever making your own, you should pour the espresso first and add the hot water after. It’s definitely a coffee drink that will wake you up.
  • Espresso – Speaking of espresso, here’s another option if you love coffee. It can be served solo or added to other coffee drinks like Americano, lattes, and macchiatos.
  • Doppio – A double shot of espresso. When you need an extra kick to your morning, this is a surefire way to do it.
  • Cappuccino – Cappuccino is a type of latte, made with more foam than steamed milk. Sometimes it also has a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, or even cocoa powder. 
  • Latte – A very popular coffee drink that uses a shot of espresso and steamed milk with a touch of foal. You can make a latte plain or with a flavor shot of something like vanilla or pumpkin spice.
  • Macchiato – This is another espresso-based coffee drink, and it has just a small amount of foam on the top. It’s a bit like a medium between a doppio and a cappuccino.
  • Mocha – Another popular coffee drink that’s perfect for people who love chocolate is the mocha. This is a chocolate espresso drink with steamed milk and foam. What’s better than coffee and chocolate combined?
  • Irish – When you want your coffee as a nightcap, consider Irish coffee. This is black coffee, whiskey and a bit of sugar, topped with some whipped cream. There are variations of the Irish coffee that may add other ingredients as well.

The foundation of any coffee drink is always going to be the coffee beans. While you can go to any supermarket today and find hundreds of different coffee brands available, you may not understand the different types that exist. Let’s take a look. 

Types of Coffee Beans

Great coffee always begins with the coffee bean. For the best coffee grinder, check out our guide here. Next, let’s explore some different types of coffee beans.

  • Arabica – Arabica is the most popular type of coffee bean, and you’ll find many different types and brands in your local supermarket. This is the type you’ll typically use for black coffee because it has a sweet taste and a more complex flavor that is good if you drink it straight. It doesn’t have as much caffeine as Robusta.
  • Robusta – This type is cheaper and stronger. It will have more caffeine but a stronger taste that some people feel is too bitter, especially when taken straight. It’s often used in espresso or in instant coffee mixes.
  • Excelsa – This type of bean used to be classified as its own type but has now been reclassified as a type of Liberica bean family. It’s found mostly just in Southeast Asia and amounts for about 7% of the coffee in the world.
  • Liberica – This is a rare type of coffee bean that is much harder to find. They are larger in size than other coffee beans and they have an irregular shape. It has a very different taste to the traditional Liberica bean, however. The beans have a unique smell and flavor. They’re fruity and floral and also a bit smoky.

For our recommendation of the day, try the Cafe 1820 coffee here.

Types of Iced Coffee

And last but not least, what if you’re someone who loves your coffee cold and over ice? Let’s take a look at the different types of iced coffee drinks as well.

  • Ice coffee – It’s just coffee with ice, typically served with a splash of cream, milk, or sweetener. It’s that simple! Some people like more cream or milk than others. You can add to taste for the perfect iced coffee for you.
  • Iced espresso – Again, as the name suggests, this is just espresso with ice. It can be served straight, or you can add creamer or milk like with iced coffee. Some people like to add a sweetener as well. You can also make any espresso-based coffee drinks like macchiato, mocha or Americano, iced.
  • Cold brew – Cold brew is often confused with ice coffee, so let’s look at the difference. Basically, iced coffee is a regular coffee poured over ice. But a cold brew is steeped coffee beans from 6-36 hours, depending on how strong you want it. When you’re done steeping, you can add some cold milk or cream to it, along with sweetener, if you desire.
  • Frappuccino – This is a blended iced coffee drink topped with whipped cream and some type of syrup. Non-coffee Frappuccinos were made famous by Starbucks as well.
  • Nitro – This is just a cold brew with nitrogen bubbles added. It gives it a frothy consistency and it’s poured from a nitro tap. It’s definitely a unique coffee drink and worth a try if you’ve never had one.

Conclusions of the Different Coffee Types

You may not be a full-fledged coffee aficionado yet, but you should have a much better understanding of the types of coffee now. At the very least, you’ll be able to hold your own when ordering at a coffee shop.

Are there any of these types of coffee you’ve never tried before that you may want to explore now that you know what they are?