Which coffee is the one for you?
There are so many different types of coffee drinks out there, and the list is still growing. The variables that come into play may be milk intolerance, caffeine intolerance, diet of the week, and weather to name a few. I will attempt to remove the myriad of caffeine variances, as this may come into play for some. I get you. ;)
Let's start with hot or cold: Are we digging a hot drink because of the cold weather or an iced drink because of the beating sun? What I generally do when making this oh so important first decision, is imagine how I am going to feel several sips in. If it's killer hot outside, the hot drink allure may have worn off by the third sip. This one is going to come down to your personality and our ability to take a walk on the wild side, as the majority of people drink hot coffee as their go-to.
Okay, let's get down to the strength of the coffee on the palette. If you happen to be used to espresso, then this may not be too much of a shocker. There is a scale of coffee taste based on the amount of pressure and temperature subjected upon the grounds. Let's set our 1 spot at diner coffee and our 10 spot at ristretto. I know what you're thinking...what about double shot and a red eye. Don't worry, I won't leave anyone out. Red eye will live around 8 and single or double will take up the 9 spot. A lungo or a long shot and an americano are going to be chilling around the 3 and 4 range respectively. Once we know how much strength of coffee taste we want in our cup, let's add some of the fancy stuff.
Milk..the most controversial nectar and the catalyst of the next prohibition, can be added cold, frothed, steamed, whipped, and probably a million other ways that just were discovered while I was writing this. Adding steamed milk to a coffee will make a wonderful cafe au lait, where adding steamed milk to an espresso [or a double] will bring you around to a cortado. Keep pouring and you'll be holding a flat white. If you get fancy and you're wanting some foam or frothed milk in the mix you'll be at a latte, cafe con leche, or caffe latte. Now if you pour yourself a single or a double and you want more frothed milk than steamed milk, you're in good company with a cappuccino. Try a dry cappuccino if you don't want any steamed milk. If you're feeling really risky, you can order a macchiato at a traditional shop, not starbucks, and you'll be holding an tiny mug with a shot of espresso and about a tablespoon of foam. Yuuuum.
Gimme some sugar, suga'. If you pour yourself that single shot, now add three tablespoons of sugar while it's pouring. You read it correctly...3! Stir, stir, stir. Now you run her another couple of ounces to the size of a double, you've recreated the liquid crack of Miami's cuban cafes. The colada. You're welcome. Generally these are shared, but I don't judge if you're selfish with your coffee. Now, let's take that shot of espresso, add about 1.5 tablespoons of sugar with similar stirring power and top it off with steamed milk and foam...the cortadito. Sugar can be added to any of the above mentioned drinks to take the bite out.
There are a multitude of flavors that can be added to individualize, such as chocolate, caramel, and vanilla, salt, cayenne, and so many more. You can also add ice or even go so far as to blend it. Ice will completely change the taste of your coffee; I happen to love a triple shot over ice and a triple shot hot in their own rights.
I hope this helps to make it easier to order different types of coffee by having a little move background information on some of the drinks.
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