What are Espresso Drinks? 23 Best To Try Out!

espresso shot
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Whether you prefer robust and intense coffee or lighter, refreshing iced beverages, espresso can meet your needs. An espresso shot is so versatile that it can make various delicious hot and iced coffee drinks.

No matter your preference for espresso drinks, you like it on its own or add milk; there’s something to satisfy your taste.

It may be challenging to sort through the plethora of espresso-based drink options. 

So, I will break down coffee shops’ commonly found espresso drinks, from lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, ristretto, mochas, and countless other options.


Here is a list of the best espresso drinks and what makes them unique. You can easily make your favorite espresso drink at home or order it at your favorite café.

What is Espresso?

An espresso is a full-bodied, bold coffee cup with a rich, concentrated flavor with a luxurious crema or dense foam on top.

To pull a shot of espresso, the espresso machine forces hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. You can prepare an aromatic espresso cup with finely ground coffee beans of your choice; Arabica or Robusta.

Espresso is also popularly used as a base for many delicious drinks like Americano, affogato, ristretto, and milk-based coffees.

coffee beans for espresso

The 23 different Types of Espresso Drinks

Whether you prefer more potent, more intense coffee drinks or a lighter, more refreshing version, espresso is a great way to enjoy coffee.

The taste profile and qualities of each espresso-based drink are distinct, so there is something for every coffee lover to suit their preferences.

The following are 23 of the most popular types of espresso drinks for you to choose from.

1. Espresso

Espresso is the base of many delicious espresso drinks. It comes in a 1 to 2-oz serving containing a 1:2 ratio of water to coffee.

The espresso brewing method differs from coffee as it involves forcing hot water with pressure to extract intense flavors from coffee beans.

The perfect balance of a pleasant and robust taste is the hallmark of a properly made espresso.

2. Americano

Americans are huge fans of the Americano, a shot of espresso mixed with hot water. Hot water stretches the espresso and weakens its strong flavor, making it more drinkable.

You can adjust the water-espresso ratio to taste, but it is usually two parts hot water to one part espresso.

A cup of Americano

3. Ristretto

Ristretto refers to the “restricted” espresso shot, which is smaller and more concentrated. It has a shorter extraction time (15 to 20 seconds) and uses the same amount of coffee as espresso (8 to 10g) but less water.

Due to less water and a shorter brewing time, coffee beans’ bitter flavors are not fully extracted.

As a result, a ristretto tastes sweeter but more intense and richer than an espresso.

4. Lungo

Lungo in Italian means “long.” A lungo takes a longer extraction time than a ristretto (30 to 45 seconds) and uses twice the amount of water (45 to 50 ml).

Therefore, the lungo’s caffeine concentration and coffee extraction increase, resulting in a milder espresso flavor but with a stronger and more intense caffeine kick.

You can indulge in a Lungo as it is or add flavoring syrups.

Related Read: What Is Gran Lungo? (Everything You Need To Know)

5. Doppio

Between the 1980s and the 1990s, Starbucks popularized the term “Doppio,” which means “double espresso.”

Doppio is double in volume (60 to 70 ml), using double the amount of ground coffee (16-20g). In comparison to a shot of espresso, it is more concentrated and has a more pungent taste.

Ideally, a doppio will be well-balanced between sweetness, acidity, and bitterness.

6. Affogato

Affogato is an Italian delicacy, one of the most popular desserts among coffee lovers. It’s more like a dessert, but as it has an espresso shot, you can enjoy it as a drink to get your caffeine kick on.

Affogato is a combination of vanilla ice cream drowned in an espresso shot. It has the perfect balance of sweet and robust flavors.

You can easily prepare it at home; brew espresso, add a vanilla ice cream scoop, and top it off with chocolate syrup or chocolate powder.

Affogato dessert

7. Espresso Macchiato

Espresso macchiatos have single or double espressos with heated, foamy milk and are (usually) served in small cups. “Macchiato” means “mark” or “stain”; here, the mark is milk floating on top of an espresso.

The espresso macchiato consisting of one shot of espresso is a short macchiato. On the other hand, If your drink has a double shot, it is a long macchiato.

8. Breve

The Breve coffee drink is an adaptation of an Italian classic, the caffé latte. Rather than milk, this recipe uses steamed half-and-half and one or two shots of espresso.

Half and half is a combination of half cream and half whole milk, so you can also prepare it at home if you don’t find it at the market.

Breve has a super creamy and rich texture and a sweet taste. The double shot adds the perfect bold flavor notes to this coffee drink.

9. Latte

Latte is America’s favorite milk-based coffee drink. It consists of 1/3 parts espresso mixed with 2/3 parts steaming hot milk, then topped with foam.

A latte has a fluffy texture, balanced sweetness, and rich coffee flavor. A Latte also has variations like chai latte, vanilla latte, hazelnut latte, etc.

latte coffee cup

10. Cappuccino

A cappuccino is one of the most popular espresso drinks after the latte. It is a delicious creamy drink with an espresso shot and heavily steamed milk. A cappuccino contains 1/3 parts espresso, 1/3 parts hot milk, and 1/3 parts foam. 

If you like your coffee more on the robust side, you can add a double shot to your cappuccino. 

Related Read: Macchiato vs. Cappuccino (Key Differences And Recipe)

11. Flat White

Flat whites are milk-based drinks that don’t overpower espresso flavors. It consists of a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk and a very thin layer of microfoam on top. 

It’s the perfect espresso coffee for anyone looking for something larger than a cortado but not as watered down as a cappuccino or a latte. All you will need to do is pull a shot of espresso, add 4 oz of hot milk, and top it with a microform layer. 

Related Read: Flat White Vs. Cappuccino(Key Differences and Recipe)

12. Cortado

The word cortado comes from the Spanish meaning to cut or chop – it cuts the acidity of espresso with milk. Cortados use equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk. It tastes strong yet creamy, and the intense espresso flavors blend well with milk sweetness.

You can serve a Cortado, or “baby flat white,” as some call it, in Gibraltar glasses and add a sweetener of your choice.

13. Red Eye

In general, espresso drinks provide energy to get through the day, but none are as strong as Red Eye. Red Eye has a high caffeine content; it is a shot of espresso poured over a cup of coffee.

Most people who like Red Eye have it to pull an all-nighter or work for hours nonstop because this coffee will keep them up for hours.

So if it is your first time trying a red eye, add cream or sugar to balance the intense flavor.

Cup of red eye coffee

14. Black Tie

Black tie is the ideal drink for coffee and Thai tea lovers as it combines both.

You get a bitter espresso flavor combined with orange aromas in this drink, so sometimes the drink seems sweet and sometimes dark.

A layer of condensed milk, a single espresso shot, and tea complete the picture-perfect drink.

15. Dripped Eye

Dead eye blends espresso shots and drip coffee and consists of high caffeine content.

The three types of coffee, red eye, black eye, and dead eye, refer to the amount of caffeine in your brewed coffee.

The Dead Eye has three shots of espresso, so it’s the strongest of them all.

16. Espresso Con Panna

Espresso Con Panna means “espresso with cream” sounds yummy, right?

Adding a dollop of whipped cream over a shot of espresso makes this drink creamy and delicious, keeping the bold flavor intact.

Espresso con panna drink is neither sweet nor bitter but a well-balanced fine coffee.

17. Dry Cappuccino

A dry cappuccino is an ideal option for coffee fans who don’t like milk drinks. It resembles a regular cappuccino with minimal steamed milk and more foam.

A dry cappuccino will have an espresso shot topped with fluffy milk foam.

18. Piccolo Latte

You can call it a “baby” latte because it is an espresso shot with steamed milk. You can also prepare a piccolo latte using a ristretto instead of an espresso shot.

19. Vienna

Vienna is a long black coffee served with whipped cream. It has a delicious chocolaty flavor profile and Smokey aroma notes.

20. Caramel Macchiato

If you love caramel, this is the drink of your dreams. Starbucks’ caramel macchiato is a popular drink, but you can make your own at home with a few ingredients.

Caramel macchiato is a concoction of espresso shots, caramel and vanilla syrup, and milk. You can add chocolate syrup or other condiments as per your liking.

glass of macchiato coffee

21. Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato or long macchiato resembles a regular latte but is quite different in its way. In a latte macchiato, the steamed milk comes first, and then the shot of espresso.

Latte macchiatos have milder flavors and are less intense than regular macchiatos but have a more robust flavor than regular lattes.

22. Iced espresso

There is nothing like a refreshing drink on a hot sunny day, so an iced espresso sounds like a deal. Iced espresso is an excellent drink for summer as it contains robust flavors and a cooling effect.

However, you can always experiment with a recipe by adding milk or sugar.

If you order at a coffee shop like Starbucks, ask for their iced shaken espresso; it has ice, a shot of espresso, and a sweetener.

23. Mocha

Chocolate and coffee make a delicious combination. After a meal, a cup of mocha can satisfy your sweet tooth as it consists of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, and whipped cream.

It might not be something you like to have first thing in the morning as it is more on the sweeter side, but you must try mocha on cold winter nights after a night out.

To Sum It Up!

With this extensive list, you should know the variety of available espresso drinks.

All these espresso drinks differ in the amount of milk and foam and the water-to-coffee ratio. You can use a single or double shot depending on how much caffeine you crave.

You can make these espresso drinks at home because they involve few ingredients or steps.

Also, now you know what all these fancy coffee names at coffee shops mean, so it will be easy to place an order.


What is the most popular espresso drink?

A latte is undoubtedly the most popular espresso drink. Latte consists of one or two espresso shots and lots of frothed milk and foam. 

What are three shots of espresso called?

The dead eye drink consists of three shots of espresso. The dead eye has an overpowering taste and a strong aroma.

What’s the most robust espresso?

The most potent espresso drink is the ristretto. There is less hot water used in preparing this type of espresso, as well as a shorter extraction time. Ristretto has sweet and intense flavor notes, suitable for people who like to experience intense flavors.

Do you add milk to espresso?

You can have an espresso on its own or add milk to it. It all depends on your taste preference. If you like strong and bold coffee, have an espresso without adding milk or creamer. But if you want to balance out the bitterness of coffee, you can add milk to it.

What drinks have two shots of espresso?

The Doppio drink refers to a double espresso shot. It has an intense taste and is more potent than espresso.

Is espresso stronger than coffee?

Compared to regular coffee, espresso has more caffeine per ounce and is more intense. A cup of drip coffee has about 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving, while an ounce of espresso contains about 64 milligrams of caffeine.

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