Espresso is probably one of the most popular beverages around the world, mainly because of the distinct flavor that comes with the meticulous brewing process it goes through. It is considered as an art form from the moment the coffee beans are picked, to the exact level of roasting, up to the way each bean is grinded and brewed. Espresso is often sweeter than other coffee forms, but this does not affect the strength of each cup. It is more concentrated and has a thicker consistency compared to your regular coffee, and also has a bit of foam on top.
Because of its popularity, espresso has become an element in several other beverages, and has lent its flavor to create a whole lot of new ones. It is also used in baking cakes and making other kinds of desserts, which is perfect for those who are not really fond of drinking coffee but would like a similar twist in their dessert.
Here are the most popular espresso-based drinks that you can try making at home.
The term Café Latté literally means ‘coffee with milk’. It is basically espresso with steamed milk and milk foam, and can also be flavored with sweet syrups.
How to make it: Make a 1 to 1 ½ oz shot of espresso. Steam 10 oz of milk by pointing the steam wand towards the bottom of the stainless steel pitcher. Create froth by raising the tip just below the surface of the pitcher. Pour hot milk into a 12 oz glass until it is ¾ full. Pour the espresso shot into the milk. Use ground chocolate, cinnamon or nutmeg to add flavor.
Cappuccino comes from the word ‘capuchin’ which means ‘small cap’. It also comes from the color of the habits worn by Capuchin friars. It is a mixture of espresso and a little steamed milk and milk foam.
How to make it: Make a 1 ½ oz shot of espresso and put it in a 5 oz or larger cup. Set the espresso machine to steam. Place the steam nozzle halfway into a stainless steel carafe that has 3 oz of cold milk and leave it there for around 45 to 60 seconds. You can adjust this depending on the amount of foam, or if you think the milk is hot enough. Add 1 ½ oz of steamed milk on top of the espresso, and spoon some foamed milk over the top. Use ground chocolate, cinnamon or nutmeg to add flavor.
The word Macchiato means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’, so café macchiato literally means ‘espresso stained or marked with milk’.
How to make it: Prepare the ideal amount of espresso. Steam some milk using the steam wand, or you can heat the milk on the stovetop. Heat the milk evenly until frothy and steamy using a whisk. Pour the coffee into an espresso cup, and mix some sugar in it if you prefer. Top it with the frothy steamed milk. Try to balance it to 80% coffee and 20% milk.
Café Mocha is a variation of café latté, which is based on espresso and hot milk. However, chocolate is also added in to give it a unique, sweet blend. It was inspired by the Turin coffee beverage called Bicerin, which is also made of espresso, drinking chocolate, and whole milk, but is served layered in a small rounded glass.
How to make it: Place some chocolate syrup in the bottom of a tall, thick glass or a large mug. Prepare a shot of espresso. Steam the milk. Add ¾ of the steamed milk into the glass, and stir gently. Add the shot of espresso and continue stirring. Add the rest of the steamed milk. Place a dollop of whipped cream on top, and you can add décor by sprinkling some chocolate shavings or cinnamon on the whipped cream.
*Note: Depending on your taste and preference, you can replace the chocolate syrup with sweet cocoa powder. The chocolate syrup can either be dark or milk chocolate.
Café Americano is Italian for American coffee, and gives a different flavor to your regular drip coffee without sacrificing the strength.
How to make it: Pour one shot of espresso into a 6 oz cup, and then add boiling water until cup is full.
These variations are easy to make at home, especially once you have perfected the art of making the perfect espresso cup. You can also experiment some more and create your own flavors. Also try adding more elements into it, such as making it an iced beverage, similar to what is widely sold commercially. You can also be creative in decorating each cup, not only limiting yourself to the froth or whipped cream and the cinnamon sprinkles, but thinking of other things you can put on top that will not only add color, but will also give a different flavor to your creation.