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20 Must Try Espresso Drinks

Espresso is a drink that gives life to people worldwide. Espresso purists wouldn’t dream of diluting their precious shot with anything else.

But, the fact is that espresso has become a base for many other drinks. Consider lattes: vanilla, mocha, mint, gingerbread, eggnog, and the list goes on. 

But, the list of espresso drinks is much more varied than a standard latte and cappuccino. No matter if you only drink espresso or like to experiment with espresso drinks, there’s something for you.

If you’re in an espresso rut or want to broaden your espresso menu, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the ultimate list of espresso drinks with espresso drink recipes, so you’ll be able to make each of these in the comfort of your home. 

Different Types of Espresso Drinks

1. Ristretto

Ristretto espresso drinks

The first on the list of espresso drinks is ristretto. Ristretto is a single, short espresso shot. It’s brewed in less time than a regular shot — 15 to 20 seconds compared to the standard 25 to 30. It has a richer and sweeter flavor compared to standard espresso. If you drink ristretto in the morning, it’ll wake you straight up. 

To brew a ristretto, you need a machine with either a built-in ristretto option or one that lets you adjust brew time.

Ristretto recipe:

  1. Grind the coffee — Use espresso roast beans. 9 grams for one shot and 18 grams for double. Grind until you have very fine grounds.
  2. Tamp coffee grounds — Place the ground coffee in the portafilter and tamp the grounds until compressed.
  3. Pull the shot — Lock in the portafilter and press the button on the espresso machine to start brewing. Aim for a 1:1.5 or 1:2 ratio of coffee-to-espresso.

2. Lungo

Lungo

Lungo is Italian for long, so this is the opposite of ristretto. You need a longer extraction time to make a lungo — 35 to 40 seconds compared to the standard 25 to 30.

Twice as much water goes through the coffee grounds, which results in higher caffeine content and a higher extraction level. The flavor is more bitter and less intense than regular espresso.

Lungo looks similar to an Americano, but it’s prepared and tastes differently.

The lungo recipe is the same as ristretto, but you should adjust the brew time to at least 35 seconds or press a dedicated button if your espresso machine has it.  Aim for a 1:3 ratio of coffee to espresso.

3. Doppio

Doppio

Doppio is Italian for double, so this is a double espresso. This term was popularized by Starbucks in Seattle between the 1980s and 199s. 

Doppio is commonly served in an oversize demitasse or a cappuccino cup. A doppio is a double shot. It uses double the amount of coffee, which means there’s a double amount of caffeine compared to a regular espresso. 

Doppio recipe: Use an espresso machine to pull two espresso shots with finely ground coffee. 

4. Americano

Americano

Americano is named after Americans (who would’ve guessed). Americans have a reputation for diluting their espresso (that’s how latte came to be, but more on that below). Americano was invented by baristas in Italy during World War II to accommodate the US troops.

The water softens the espresso flavor and makes Americano more sippable compared to a regular espresso.

Americano recipe: Pull a single shot of espresso and add 6 oz of hot water, or a double shot of espresso and add 8 oz of hot water.

Pro tip: Pour hot water into the shot to save the crema. 

5. Red Eye

Red Eye

Generally, all espresso drinks will give you energy to power through the day, but none quite as much as the red eye. Red Eye will leave you red-eyed because of its extremely high caffeine content. This drink isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you’ve never had it before, I recommend adding sugar or cream.

This espresso drink is a cup of brewed coffee with an espresso shot on top. Depending on your needs, you can even add two espresso shots (also called a black eye). 

Red Eye recipe: Brew a standard cup of coffee, and add a single or a double shot of espresso. 

6. Affogato

Affogato

Affogato is an Italian delicacy. It means drowned, and it’s basically drowning ice cream in coffee. You only need two ingredients for affogato: ice cream and espresso. 

In all honesty, it’s more a dessert than a drink, but it still has a shot of espresso, so it can pass as a drink too. Plus, it’s one of the best desserts for coffee lovers — it’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and give you an energy boost.

Affogato recipe: Place one scoop of vanilla ice cream in the cup and top it with a shot of espresso. Optional: add toppings such as caramel, chocolate syrup, or crushed biscuits.

7. Espresso Con Panna

Espresso Con Panna

Espresso con panna literally means espresso with cream in Italian. This espresso drink is a shot topped with a tablespoon of whipped cream.

The drink isn’t too heavy because of the combination of a rich espresso flavor and sweet cream. This drink is also served as a dessert after a meal. It’s not a sugar bomb as some of the other espresso drinks. Instead, the cream melts and infuses the espresso.

Espresso con panna recipe: Pull one or two espresso shots and top off the drink with a dollop of whipped cream. 

8. Cortado

Cortado

Cortado is of Spanish origin, and it means to cut or to chop — it cuts through the espresso acidity with milk. This espresso drink is served in 4.5 oz clear or glossed glass, also called Gibraltar glasses

Cortado is equal parts espresso and milk. The strong espresso flavors aren’t lost or diluted, but the espresso flavor is noticeable and balanced with the milk.

Cortado recipe: Brew a double shot of espresso (2 oz). Steam 2 oz of milk until the temperature is 130 to 140 degrees and combine. The milk should have a consistency of wet paint and shouldn’t be foamy or frothy as for other espresso and milk drinks.

9. Macchiato

Macchiato

Macchiato is another espresso drink coming from Italy. It means stained in Italian, as the addition of milk stains the espresso. This coffee drink is a shot of espresso with foam on top. The foam melts into the drink and sweeteners the espresso flavor.

Espresso macchiato has less milk compared to a latte and a cappuccino, so the flavor isn’t as sweet as a latte, but it’s bolder.

Espresso macchiato recipe: Pull a shot of espresso and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of foam. 

10. Latte Machiatto

Latte Machiatto

Latte macchiato is similar to a latte, but it’s prepared differently. When making a latte, you first add espresso to the cup and then milk.

Depending on the coffee shop, there can be differences in strength (if the coffee shop uses one or two shots). But, a latte macchiato starts with milk that’s been steamed.

Latte macchiato recipe: First steam the milk and pour it into the cup, up to a third or half of the cup. Then brew espresso. Espresso is heavier than milk foam, so it sinks beneath it. You have to pour it gently so it doesn’t mix with the milk but remains on top.

11. Caramel Macchiato

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel macchiato is an extremely popular Starbucks concoction. They paired espresso shots with buttery caramel, sweet vanilla syrup, and milk. 

The first sip of caramel macchiato is sweet because of the caramel found on top, but the flavor balances out the more you drink. 

Caramel macchiato recipe: Add vanilla syrup to the cup, then pour the steamed milk. The vanilla sweetens the milk. Next, pour the espresso shot, and at the end, make a cross-hatch pattern with a caramel sauce. 

12. Cappuccino

Cappuccino

No list of espresso drinks can be complete without a cappuccino. This espresso drink is a shot of espresso with steamed milk. The espresso shot gives it a robust flavor. 

The traditional cappuccino ratio is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 milk foam. It’s difficult to make because of frothed milk. It requires time and practice to make dense, creamy microfoam, so arm yourself with lots of patience. 

Cappuccino recipe: Pull a double shot of espresso. Steam 4 oz of milk. The milk layer should double, so there’s microfoam on top. When you combine the milk with espresso, you should have 1/3 of foam on top.

13. Dry Cappuccino

Dry Cappuccino

Are you thinking how can a liquid be dry? Here’s the answer. This is a variation of a classic cappuccino that can be found in many coffee shops. It has little or no steamed milk and a lot of foam, which is why it’s called dry. 

The foam in a dry cappuccino keeps the espresso hotter for longer and also gives a bolder flavor to these coffee drinks. There’s less steamed milk, which results in less sweetness. 

Dry cappuccino recipe: Pull an espresso shot and froth the milk with the espresso machine froth attachment. Add espresso to a mug, an optional layer of steamed milk, and a lot of foam. 

14. Latte

Latte

Finally, its majesty the latte, or the most popular drink in America. Latte, as we know it today, was invented in Italy to suit the tastes of American tourists who found espresso too strong. It became widely popular in the 1980s when Seattle baristas started working on latte art. And, its popularity hasn’t waned since. 

Nowadays, latte comes in endless versions: from standard vanilla latte to charcoal, cascara, granita latte, dirty chai latte, and many, many more. If you like to experiment, this is the drink for you, as the options are neverending.

Latte recipe: Standard latte is made of 1/3 espresso, 2/3 hot milk, and a topping of microfoam. You can also use two shots of espresso, steam 8 oz of milk, and add a 1 cm microfoam layer. 

15. Flat White

Flat White

Here’s a coffee drink that doesn’t come from Italy but from Australia or New Zealand. This espresso drink is a cross between a cappuccino and a latte, as the espresso is mixed with steamed milk, with a very thin layer of microfoam on top. 

If you want something larger than a cortado but not as diluted as a cappuccino or a latte, this is the coffee drink for you. 

Flat white recipe: 

  1. Pull a double espresso shot
  2. Steam 4 oz milk and combine it with the espresso
  3. Add microfoam on top. It should only be about 1/2 cm thick.

16. Mocha

Mocha

Mocha is latte’s fraternal twin. These drinks share all similarities, except chocolate. Mocha is essentially espresso with chocolate, steamed milk, and whipped cream.

Mocha is another sweet espresso drink, so it’s usually served at the end of a meal or with dessert. 

Mocha recipe: 

  1. Pull two espresso shots into a tall glass
  2. Mix in an ounce of chocolate syrup or chocolate powder
  3. Add steamed 6 to 8 oz of milk
  4. Top it off with whipped cream and chocolate flakes

17. Black Tie

black tie

No, not that black tie. This black tie espresso drink is perfect for lovers of coffee and tea, specifically Thai tea. The drink has an orange-like aroma mixed with bitter espresso flavor, layered in a glass, so you sometimes get a sweet and sometimes a dark taste.

Black tie recipe: 

  1. Prepare Thai tea and one shot of espresso 
  2. Fill a glass 3/4 with ice
  3. Add a tablespoon of condensed milk
  4. Pour in the coffee
  5. Pour in the tea
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of milk

18. Iced Espresso

Iced Espresso

Iced espresso is one of the best summer pick-me-ups. Where a lot of espresso drinks are heavy on sugar and dairy, iced espresso has low calories. However, you can add cream and sugar to make it sweeter. 

It often ends up diluted, so you should chill the espresso before pouring it over the ice. Or, you can make espresso and freeze it into cubes, so once it melts, it’s all coffee with zero dilution.

Iced espresso recipe: Pull a regular espresso shot on your espresso machine, and pour over ice, or freeze and use later. 

19. Iced Cappuccino

Iced Cappuccino

Coffee shops such as Starbucks make iced cappuccinos with espresso, a splash of milk, ice, and an optional sweetener. You can also add flavors to the iced cappuccino, such as cinnamon.

Iced cappuccino recipe: 

  1. Brew two shots of espresso with finely ground coffee and let them chill in the fridge for a couple of minutes. 
  2. Once the shots are chilled, pour them into a cup over ice. If you want a sweet cappuccino, now is the time to add sugar. 
  3. Froth milk until it becomes foamy. You should have steamed milk with foam on top. 
  4. Pour the milk on top of the coffee. 

20. Iced Vanilla Latte

Iced Vanilla Latte

Let’s finish off the list of espresso drinks with another iced coffee: an iced vanilla latte. Iced latte doesn’t have as much caffeine as iced coffee (126 vs. 168 mg), but there are still two espresso shots, so you’ll feel a caffeine kick. 

Iced vanilla latte recipe: Pull two espresso shots and mix them with 8 oz of milk. Add vanilla syrup, and pour over ice. 

Espresso Drinks: Final Thoughts

I hope the list of espresso drinks gave you some ideas on new coffee drinks to try. You can use a single or double shot for most of these, depending on how much caffeine you crave.

Finally, we didn’t forget the most important espresso drink of all: the espresso. We have a complete guide on how to use an espresso machine with plenty of tips for pulling a consistently flavorful espresso.

Marina Maletic

Marina Maletic

Marina comes from a family of coffee addicts, but she started to appreciate java fairly late — around 25 years old. Her coffee journey began by writing coffee articles. This led to buying her first coffee machine, where she fell in love with the drink that means so much to people all over the world. For the last five years, she starts every day by brewing a cup of coffee. Nowadays, if she’s not writing or thinking about coffee, she can be found trying out the latest social media coffee trend.

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