If you’re just getting into coffee, you may feel confused by the sheer number of options available to you. There’s a whole new vocabulary to familiarize yourself with, and the words aren’t all in English. Cappuccino, café au lait, ristretto, red eye—and that’s not to mention the different types of beans. What does it all mean?
The world of coffee can be overwhelming if you’re just starting to orient yourself in it, but the rewards are plentiful. If you’re looking to become a more conscientious coffee consumer, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on for a complete guide to different types of coffee. You’re one step closer to your new favorite cup with every line you read.
Different types of coffee
There are many different types of coffee in the world, but the varieties we actually come into contact with are few. If you’ve ever stood in the coffee aisle at your local supermarket, staring dumbfounded at the vast selection available, this may surprise you. Most coffee sold in U.S. supermarkets is one of two coffee bean varieties: Arabica beans or Robusta beans. What’s the difference between them?
- Arabica: Of all the coffee sold in America, the Arabica bean is by far the most popular variety. It’s favored by many coffee roasters for its taste, which is subtly sweet and complex. Because of its pleasant flavor profile, Arabica is perfect for drinking straight up, with no additions necessary. It’s also a relatively low-caffeine bean, meaning you can comfortably sip Arabica all morning long without getting jittery.
- Robusta: Although somewhat less widely sold than Arabica, the Robusta bean is readily available across America. The Robusta bean is less expensive than Arabica, and it packs a stronger punch. Because of its high caffeine content and bitter flavor, it lends itself well to strong coffee roasts like espresso and instant coffee.
Types of coffee drinks
Once you’ve got your beans, you can roast and grind them differently to make an almost endless number of drinks. As you move around the world, you find that each culture has its own favorite ways to serve coffee. Here are some of the most common in America:
- Latte: Aside from a straight-up cup of black coffee, the most common coffee drink in the U.S. is a latte—a shot of espresso and steamed milk with a bit of foam on top.
- Cappuccino: Like a latte, the cappuccino is espresso with steamed milk, but the cappuccino traditionally comes with significantly more foam and a light dusting of cocoa powder.
- Doppio: If you like your coffee simple and strong, the doppio—which is just two shots of espresso, straight up—is perfect for you.
- Red eye: A cup of hot coffee with an espresso shot on top, the red eye is perfect for those looking for a serious caffeine fix.
It’s impossible to cover all the different types of coffee drinks you can make in a short article, but this list should get you well on your way to expertise. If you’d like to expand your horizon and try something new, get in touch with the knowledgeable staff at Armstrong Coffee Service. We offer a variety of coffees that are sure to delight any palette.