Top 10 Different Types of Espresso Drinks for 2023 | Definitive Beginner List

John Newbranch
Post date 04.19.2023

Here is my definitive list of top 10 espresso drinks everyone should try.

They are classic, delicious and a great start for anyone looking to get into espresso making. 

You probably already know what an espresso is right? That tiny cup filled with amazing coffee that all the Italians drink.

But the espresso is also the base for a tonne of amazing drinks.

As a barista, I traveled a lot throughout Southern Europe and tried most of the coffee they had to offer. I can tell you they have a coffee culture that is very different from the one I have seen working in the States. 

This is why I have decided to make this list. My favorite coffee has always been the espresso. So if you want to get into the espresso game this is the definitive list of espresso variants to try first.

Table of content

Top ten espresso drinks

Cappuccino

A rich and mildly sweet espresso drink.

The Cappuccino is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Made with one part espresso, one part hot milk and one part milk foam. A perfect alternative to the latte if you are looking for a deeper taste.

Latte

A sweet and milky morning drink alternative.

A Caffé Latte, or Latte for short, probably takes the prize for most popular espresso drink in North America.

The Latte can be made in a few different ways but traditionally it is made with one part espresso and two parts steamed milk. 

One or two shots of espresso is typical as well as a thin layer of foam with a topping of your choice.

Americano

A simple blend of espresso and water, a delicious alternative to regular brewed coffee.

An americano is simply a shot of espresso with the addition of water. Obviously popular in the US it is a more easily drinkable cup of espresso. Perfect if you want a bit less intense taste, but in a bigger cup.

Ristretto

A sweeter and less bitter version of espresso.

The Ristretto is all about quality over quantity. When making Ristretto you simply use less hot water and more finely ground coffee. This results in less bitter tasting coffee because of the shorter extraction time.

The only downside is that you get a bit less to enjoy. A tradeoff many find well worth it though. 

Mocha

A coffee and chocolate mix that is guaranteed to get you hooked at first taste.

Espresso, chocolate, steamed milk and cream all mixed together to create an explosion of taste. Mocha can really be customized more than most options on this list but is usually based on one part espresso and two parts steamed milk with chocolate added.

For the chocolate you can add chocolate syrup, chocolate milk or just cacao depending on what you prefer.

Macchiato

An espresso with a dash of milk.

Think of a cappuccino but instead of two parts milk to one part espresso you have equal parts milk to espresso. This gives the macchiato a stronger coffee taste.

Perfect for those that want a bit less sweetness than the cappuccino but not the bitterness of pure espresso.

Lungo

A longer and more caffeine rich version of the espresso, an americano on steroids basically.

Why is it longer you might ask. Well the lungo is prepared with twice the amount of water that the espresso does. This results in a more caffeine rich drink that takes longer to prepare, hence “lungo”. 

At first glance it might resemble the americano but it is actually completely different. The taste and caffeine contents being the most obvious ones.

Flat White

A mix between a Latte and a cappuccino… Kind of

What makes a flat white a flat white is a bit hard to put your finger on honestly. But it is basically a Latte with less milk, or a cappuccino with more milk. 

However you define it this one is very popular in “the land down under” which means it has to be good right?

Red Eye

The coffee version of dropping a whiskey shot into a beer.

As the name suggests this drink will keep you up. Made by lacing a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso it’s perfect for staying awake during a redeye flight. 

As someone who loves more traditional coffee this is not my favorite. But I have friends who actually like the taste of this one.

Black Eye

A Red eye on steroids.

To be honest I just added this one as a bonus. To make one of these just add another shot of espresso to your Red eye and enjoy not sleeping for 36 hours.

FAQ

What is the most popular espresso drink?

Latte is arguably the most popular espresso drink world wide. To make one you just add steamed milk and a thin layer of foam to a shot of espresso.

What is 3 shots of espresso called?

Triple or a Dead eye is usually what three shots of espresso refers to. A triple is just three shots of espresso while a Dead eye is three shots of espresso added to a cup of coffee.

What drinks have 2 shots of espresso?

Latte or Flat white usually have two shots of espresso. Check them out in the list above.

How to drink espresso?

#1 Drink your water

#2 Stir the espresso a bit

#3 take a sip

This is obviously just the traditional way but everyone has a different way of enjoying espresso.

Different espresso cocktails

Espresso Martini, Affogato Cocktail and the Espresso White Russian are my favorite examples. There are a lot of great espresso drinks with alcohol. Here are a few great but be sure to check out the full list.

Types of espresso drinks at starbucks

Caffe Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso macchiato and Caffe Americano are the most popular ones but there are about 13 in total.

What To Do Now?

Go out and try these drinks and pick your favorite!

If you want to make your own espresso drinks check out my lists of Top Espresso Makers.

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