49 Different Types of Coffee – The Complete Guide

Here we are going to discuss all the different types of coffee out there. With so much different language and terminology out there, it can be a bit overwhelming!
types of coffee

If you’ve ever been in line at a coffee shop and panicked because you couldn’t decide what type of drink to get, don’t worry you’re not alone. Menus at these shops can be lengthy and lack detail. 

We set out to arm you with that knowledge for the next time you’re at the coffee shop or at home and want to try a new drink.

In this article we’ll get into all the different types of coffee, from the beans and roasts, to the different brew methods and drinks you can make.

Keep reading to learn more about and how to make each of the different types of coffee drinks.

Types of Beans

There are four main types of beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Arabica and Robusta are the most common. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard of them all.

Arabica

This bean originated in Ethiopia all the way back in 1,000 BC. It later gained its name “Arabica” when it was transported across the Red Sea to Arabia and became popular. 

The Arabica bean is one of the more popular beans, especially in North America. It’s estimated that this type of bean makes up 60-70% of the world’s coffee production. 

While the Arabica bean has less caffeine than Robusta beans, it has a sweeter, smoother, and less acidic taste. Because of that, coffee made from this type of bean is commonly consumed black. If sweeteners, milk, or cream are added, it’s said that they can diminish the flavor of the coffee.

These beans are typically more expensive than the Robusta beans. This is because the Arabica plant is very sensitive to elevation, needs lots of rain, and is prone to diseases. These factors make it more difficult to produce Arabica beans.

Robusta

The Robusta bean originated in western and central Sub-Saharan Africa, growing under various elevations and climates. This is the second most popular bean, and is most common in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The Robusta bean has the most caffeine of the different bean types, but with that comes a stronger, more bitter, harsher flavor. This flavor makes the Robusta bean popular for use in espresso, instant coffee, and different coffee blends.

These beans are cheaper because the plants are heartier and more resistant to disease, making them easier to grow and scale up production.

Liberica

The supply of Liberica beans is much smaller than that of Arabica and Robusta beans. They make up approximately 2% of the world’s coffee production, and are rarely found in North America or Europe. 

The beans need to be grown in a specific climate and are mainly produced in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.  

Liberica beans produce a strong, deep-flavored coffee with a combination of woody, fruity, and floral flavors. The caffeine content of Liberica beans is less than both Arabica and Robusta beans.

Excelsa

The Excelsa bean was actually reclassified to be part of the Liberica family, but it is very different. This bean makes up about 7% of the world’s coffee production, so it’s again much rarer than the Arabica and Robusta beans.

Similar to the Liberica beans, Excelsa beans are mainly produced in the regions of Southeast Asia.

The coffee has a mix of fruity, dark roast, and light roast flavors. This results in a very unique tasting coffee that most in North America and Europe are not accustomed to.

Types of Roasts

There are four general categories of roasts based on color: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. 

As you move from light to dark roasts, both caffeine and acidity decrease. The medium-dark and lower end of the dark roasts have the fullest body and richest flavors.

To learn more about all the different roasts and how it’s done, check out our guide to coffee roasting.

Types of Brew Methods

There are many different brew methods out there. Which one you choose depends on how much effort you can put into your brew!

Drip

This is your classic coffee maker that many homes have. You put ground coffee into the maker with a filter and fill it with water. The coffee maker automatically boils the water and drips the water through the coffee grounds and into your cup.

Single Serve

This is identical to the drip coffee maker except that you insert pre-packaged coffee pods/cups (or reusable filter pods if you can!) instead of a filter and grounds. This coffee maker only makes single cups at a time, which is helpful if you’re brewing only for one person.

Pour over

This method is similar to drip and single serve methods, but with the pour over method you have more control over your brew. You load the coffee onto the filter above the brew container and pour hot water slowly into the filter with the grounds. The coffee will drip through the filter into the container below.

By varying the amount of coffee grounds and the temperature of the water, you can control the strength of your coffee. Check out our article on the optimal coffee water temperature to brew.

French Press

To use a French Press you simply add your coffee grounds to the French Press and slowly pour hot water over the grounds. Once the grounds have steeped for a few minutes, push the plunger down into the French Press to lock in the grounds and pour out the brewed coffee. 

Similar to the Pour Over method, you have control over the strength of your coffee by varying the amount of grounds and the temperature of the water. 

Check out our guide on how to use a French Press to learn more.

Aeropress

The Aeropress is a handy coffee maker when you’re camping. It functions very similarly to the French Press, except that when the plunger is pushed down in an Aeropress it’ll expel the coffee directly into a cup.

Percolator

The Percolator allows hot and close to boiling water to push up to the top compartment and drip through the coffee grounds back to the bottom. Once at the bottom, it is recirculated once again through the coffee. The longer the recirculation occurs, the stronger the coffee. This is typically made on a stove.

Moka

A Moka pot is very similar to a Percolator, except the Moka pot doesn’t have a continuous recirculation of the water. Once the water has moved out of the reservoir at the bottom, there is no water left to be heated. If the Moka pot isn’t’ taken off the stove then the coffee could start to burn.

Cold Brew

This is the only brew method that doesn’t use hot water. For the Cold Brew method, coffee grounds are steeped in room temperature or chilled water for up to 48 hours. The longer the process, the less bitter and more caffeinated the coffee will be.

There are cold brew coffee makers you can purchase, but a French Press can also be used.

Espresso

Espresso is made in a machine that pressurizes the water (typically to 9 bar of pressure, or 130 psi) in a filter compartment with the coffee grounds. The resulting espresso has a high caffeine content and stronger flavor than regular coffee.

Vacuum or Siphon

This is a unique and lesser known coffee maker. It has upper and lower compartments. Coffee grounds and a special filter are added to the top compartment, and hot water is placed in the lower compartment. 

The boiling water moves to the top compartment for the coffee grounds to steep for a few minutes, before the heat source is removed and a natural vacuum pulls the coffee into the lower compartment. The coffee grounds are collected on the filter.

Instant

This is the simplest of all the brew methods. You simply add the instant coffee powder to hot water and stir until it’s all dissolved. This is less popular in the United States, but it is still found in many hotel rooms. 

Types of Hot Coffee Drinks

Next we’ll look at many of the common hot coffee drinks out there. Keep in mind that more variations exist, and each recipe may vary slightly depending on the region, coffee shop, or personal preferences. You can scale certain recipes depending on the size of the drink you want to make.

Black

This is coffee at its most basic form. The coffee grounds are steeped in hot water, and nothing is added to the coffee to change the flavor.

  • Recipe: 8 oz. black coffee
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Decaf

This is similar to black coffee in terms of being basic, but here the caffeine has been removed from the beans.

  • Recipe: 8 oz. decaf coffee with optional sweeteners, milk, or cream
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Espresso

Darker roasts and a higher coffee-to-water ratio are typically used for espresso as compared to black coffee. This results in more caffeine and thicker consistency of the drink.

  • Recipe: 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.)
  • Mug/Cup: 2-3 oz. espresso cup

Double Espresso (aka Doppio)

If you’re looking for more caffeine than a single espresso shot has to offer, you can opt for this drink. Doppio means “double” in Italian.

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.)
  • Mug/Cup: 2-3 oz. espresso cup

Lungo

A Lungo is a long-pull espresso which uses double the amount of water as a single espresso shot. This results in a less concentrated drink with the same volume as a Double Espresso.

  • Recipe: 2 oz. of long-pull espresso
  • Mug/Cup: 2-3 oz espresso cup

Ristretto

This is a short-pull espresso, which uses half the amount of water as a single espresso shot. This results in an even more concentrated drink.

  • Recipe: 1 oz. of short-pull espresso
  • Mug/Cup: 2-3 oz espresso cup

Red Eye

As the name suggests, this drink aims at giving you even more caffeine in your normal cup of coffee by boosting it with an espresso shot.

  • Recipe: 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.) poured into 6 oz. of coffee (typically drip brewed)
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Black Eye

For those of us that need EVEN MORE of a caffeine boost than the Red Eye, it’s possible to add a second shot of espresso to your normal coffee.

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.) poured into 6 oz. of coffee (typically drip brewed)
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Americano

This drink was made popular during World War II and is a popular breakfast drink. The water dilutes the espresso taste but maintains the same amount of caffeine in the drink. The ratio should be 2 parts water to 1 part espresso. This is very similar to the Long Black drink, but the order of adding the ingredients is key. For an Americano, always add the hot water to the espresso.

  • Recipe: 2 oz. of hot water added to 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.)
  • Mug/Cup: 5-6 oz. cappuccino mug

Long Black

This drink, like some others on this list, originated in New Zealand and Australia. It’s basically an Americano with more caffeine and a different prep. For a Long Black, the espresso is added to the hot water. 

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.) added to 2 oz. hot water
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug or 6-8 oz. glass coffee mug

Guillermo

For those who want a bit of refreshment with their coffee, the Guillermo is a good option. This drink has a bit of twist and adds acidity with the lime.

  • Recipe: 1-2 shots of espresso (1-2 oz.) poured over a few slices of lime
  • Mug/Cup: 4.5 oz. Cortado glass

Macchiato

The Macchiato originated in Italy and means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian. Syrups (like caramel) can be added depending on personal preference.

  • Recipe: 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.) with 1-2 teaspoons of steamed milk or milk foam added on top
  • Mug/Cup: 2-3 oz. espresso cup

Long Macchiato

This is a larger, more caffeinated version of the Macchiato. 

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.) with 2-4 teaspoons of steamed milk or milk foam added on top
  • Mug/Cup: 4.5 oz. Cortado glass

Cortado

The Cortado is similar to the Macchiato but there is an added milk component to help with neutralizing the acidity. This drink is common in Spain and Portugal.

  • Recipe: 1-2 oz. of warm milk added to 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.), with an added thin layer of milk foam on top
  • Mug/Cup: 4.5 oz. Cortado glass

Cappuccino

This is very popular in the United States and is a creamy drink with a thick foam layer. Syrup, milk, or cream can be added for additional flavor. 

  • Recipe: 2 oz. of steamed milk and then 2 oz. of milk foam are added to 1-2 shots of espresso (1-2 oz.) with an optional topping of cocoa powder or cinnamon
  • Mug/Cup: 5-6 oz. cappuccino mug

Galão

The Galão originated in Portugal and is similar to the Cappuccino, but lighter due to more milk foam. The ratio for the drink is three-fourths milk foam to one-fourth espresso. 

  • Recipe: 3-6 oz. of milk foam added to 1-2 shots of express (1-2 oz.), with optional sweeteners added for taste
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. tall glass

Flat White

This drink originated in Australia and New Zealand. It’s similar to a latte, but no milk foam or topping is added. To create a smooth, velvety texture of the drink, either use milk from near the middle or bottom of the steaming pitcher or “fold” the milk while steaming. This very similar to a latte, but with less milk foam and a higher coffee to milk ratio

  • Recipe:3-4 oz. of steamed milk added to 2 shot of espresso (2 oz.), with thin layer (0.5 cm) of milk foam added to the top
  • Mug/Cup: 5-6 oz. cappuccino mug

Latte

This is one of the most popular drinks you’ll see. Latte means “milk” in Italian, and it shows through the larger proportion of milk in the drink.

There are many variations which can be made by adding different syrups and spices for flavor, such as pumpkin spice or vanilla. The latte is mixed through the pouring of the steamed milk into the espresso. If you’ve got a creative side, then considering trying latte art to add a little more flair to your drinks!

  • Recipe: 8 oz. of steamed milk added to 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.), with optional flavoring syrup and then a thin layer (1 cm) of milk foam added to the top
  • Mug/Cup:11-15 oz. latte cup

Piccolo Latte (aka Cataldo in Spain)

This is the smaller version of the classic latte that originated in Australia. This drink isn’t as common as the regular latte and there is some confusion out there on how it’s made.

  • Recipe: 2-3 oz. of steamed milk added to 1 oz. of short-pull espresso (Ristretto), with a thin layer of milk foam added to the top
  • Mug/Cup: Demitasse

Breve

Breve is the American version of the latte, with half and half used instead of milk. This makes the drink thicker and have a higher fat content, so it’s best to drink these in moderation. This is commonly served with dessert, with no additional sweeteners needed. 

  • Recipe: 3 oz. of steamed half and half added to 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.), with 1 oz. of milk foam added on top
  • Mug/Cup: 5-6 oz. “low cup”

Latte Macchiato

This has the same ingredients as a classic latte, but the preparation is different to allow you to see the multiple layers in the drink. 

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.) added slowly to 8 oz. of steamed milk, with optional flavoring syrup and then a thin layer (1 cm) of milk foam added to the top
  • Mug/Cup:11-15 oz. latte cup

Mocha

This drink is for chocolate lovers! It’s similar to a latte and consists of a mix of hot chocolate and espresso. Chocolate (powder, syrup, or melted chocolate) reduces the acidity and makes it rich and creamy

  • Recipe: 2 shots of espresso (2 oz.) mixed with 1-2 oz. of chocolate syrup and 1-2 oz. of steamed milk, with 2 cm of milk foam (or whipped cream!) added on top
  • Mug/Cup: 6-8 oz. Irish coffee mug

Café Vienne, Viennois, or Con Panna 

There are multiple names available to this common drink depending on the region you’re in.

  • Recipe: 1-2 shots of espresso (1-2 oz.) are topped with whipped cream (~2 oz.)
  • Mug/Cup: 6 oz. coffee mug, demitasse, or latte cup (depends on region and size of drink)

Affogato

This is a delicious dessert drink for all the ice cream lovers out there!

  • Recipe: 1-2 shots of espresso (1-2 oz.) are poured over 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Mug/Cup: 6 oz. dessert dish

Café au Lait

The Café au Lait is a French drink which means “coffee with milk” in French. It’s typically made with dark roasted beans (French Roast). The ratio of coffee to milk is 1:1.

  • Recipe: 4 oz. of black coffee (made with French Roast beans) and 4 oz. of steamed milk are mixed together 
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee is typically used as part of a diet (high-fat, low-carb diet) and is a substitute for breakfast. Intermittent fasters also make use of Bulletproof coffee.

  • Recipe: 6-8 oz. of black coffee, 2 tbsp of butter, and 1 tbsp of coconut oil are blended together
  • Mug/Cup: 8-12 oz. regular coffee mug

Types of Cold Coffee Drinks

Finally, let’s dive into the common cold coffee drinks out there.

Iced Coffee 

Iced coffees are an extremely popular drink in the summertime, especially in the United States.

  • Recipe: 8 oz. black coffee served over ice, with milk, cream, syrup, or sweetener added for flavor
  • Mug/Cup: 12-16 oz. tall glass

Iced Latte

This is just the cold version of the latte, with additional flavorings added depending on your preference. As an added tip, if you shake the milk in a jar before pouring, you can create some foam to top off the drink!

  • Recipe: Fill the glass two-thirds full with ice, pour 2 shots of (hot) espresso (2 oz.) into the cup, followed by 8 oz. of cold milk and 1-2 oz. of optional flavoring syrup such as vanilla
  • Mug/Cup:16 oz. latte cup

Iced Espresso

A basic iced espresso drink can be served black over ice. Optional sweeteners can be added for taste.

  • Recipe: 1 shot of espresso (1 oz.) poured over ice
  • Mug/Cup: 4-6 oz. tall glass cup

Cold Brew

This is both a type of brew method and its resulting type of drink. Cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee beans in chilled or room temperature water for anywhere from 4-48 hours. Cold brew has a different flavor than hot coffee and it can’t be made simply by pouring hot black coffee over ice! 

The colder temperature of a cold brew compared to a hot brew means that extraction of the flavors from the coffee will take longer.

  • Recipe: 8 oz. black cold brewed coffee with optional sweetener, milk, or cream for flavor
  • Mug/Cup: 12-16 oz. tall glass 

Frappuccino

Frappuccino is a trademark of Starbucks. This type of drink consists of coffee, ice, sugar, and additional flavors all blended together. The consistency is similar to a milkshake. They can be served with a whipped cream topping and more syrup or spices.

Nitro Cold Brew

This type of drink is simply cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen bubbles. If you’re into drinking craft beers, you likely noticed that there are certain nitro beers out there that are frothier and aren’t carbonated. Using nitrogen on coffee has the same effect, giving it a frothy texture. Many times this is served directly out of a tap and into your glass, with additional sweeteners or flavors added for taste.

Mazagran

The Mazagran originated in Algeria, but there are multiple variations of this drink depending on the region. The drink is dubbed the “original iced coffee.” The base drink across the different variations consists of coffee or espresso served over ice. In Portugal, the drink can include espresso, ice, lemon, mint, and/or rum. In Spain, only the lemon adder is used, while in Austria rum and a large ice cube are used.

Espresso Tonic

This is another lesser known, but refreshing drink. The drink likely originated in Sweden, but it’s not totally certain. Since this isn’t a standard drink compared to others on this list, there are many slight variations in ratios and ingredients in the recipes.

  • Recipe: 5 oz. of tonic water and splash of lime juice added to the cup full of ice, followed by slowing pouring 1 shot of cooled espresso (1 oz.) into the cup 
  • Mug/Cup: 6-8 oz tall glass

What to Do Next?

Any of these types of coffee drinks spark your interest? If so, next time you’re in your kitchen or out at a local coffee shop, be sure to try it! And if things still seem overwhelming and you can’t choose, check out our article on the best way to brew coffee to get started.

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