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Espresso Drinks – The Classic Category

The focus here is to look at the various espresso-based drinks that make up the classic Italian and Italian American cuisines, hence providing a complete list of the “Classic” Espresso Drinks.

Espresso is an Italian term, which refers to a particular type of brewing method. Here, very hot, but not boiling, water under a lot of pressure is forced through ground coffee powder. Espresso has grown so immensely well loved over the years that it is more than just a way to make coffee. It is a complete coffee cuisine. And with the espresso technology being taken on by other countries and cultures outside Italy, one cuisine has become numerous cuisines. The basic component of these cuisines is always the coffee being brewed the espresso way. Variation is in the other components added to the coffee namely milk, chocolate and in the United States, an increasing variety of syrups and garnishes.

The different espresso cuisines include the:

1. Classic northern Italy cuisine;

2. Italian-American cuisine (developed by Italian-Americans in the United States);

3. Postmodern cuisine (United States Seattle-style cuisine);

4. Cuban cuisine and

5. other Latin American cuisines

This article aims to focus on the espresso-based variations that make up the first two cuisines. These can be referred to as the Classic espresso beverages:

The Classic Category:

1. Espresso: a straight 1 ounce, referred to as a ‘shot’. Black coffee and is usually drunk with sugar.

2. Espresso Ristretto (US); Small (Pacific); Corto (Italy): ½ to ¾ of a standard espresso shot. Hence also called ‘shortened’ espresso. This is the “small is gorgeous” espresso drink that is even denser and more aromatic than the normal espresso.

3. Espresso Lungo (Italy, US), Long (Pacific): An extra long pull letting about twice the amount of water pass through 1 standard shot, giving a relatively over-extracted and weaker tasting drink. This term is not used frequently in US since by Italian standards, most American servings are already considered long.

4. Espresso Romano (US; Italian-American): Standard espresso, but served with a twist of lemon on the side of the cup.

5. Espresso con Panna (Italy, US): 1 standard shot, topped with whipped cream and an optional topped of unsweetened chocolate powder.

6. Double (US); Doppio (Italy): 2 espresso shots in one cup. Also known as ‘double-shot’.

7. Cappuccino: 1 standard shot of espresso, topped by hot steamed milk and milk froth. A well-done cappuccino in the classic Italian-American cuisine consists of about 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk and 1/3 pretty stiff foam. In cappuccino, the hot frothed milk is always added to the espresso coffee. And like most espresso drinks, it is usually drunk with sugar.

8. Café Latte (US): 1 to 2 shots of espresso and 3 times as much hot milk. Latte has a greater proportion of milk to coffee than cappuccino does. Hence, it has a weaker and milkier taste. To prepare Latte, the milk and coffee is poured simultaneously from either side of the glass.

9. Espresso Macchiato (Italy, US): 1 standard shot, but topped with a small amount of milk steam foam.

10. Latte Macchiato (Italy, US): Hot frothed milk is first poured to a glass, followed by slow dribbling of the espresso. In other words, the coffee ‘stains’ the milk. Notice that in case of cappuccino, the milk and froth are added later to the coffee; in latte, milk and coffee are poured at the same time into the glass, whereas in latte macchiato, the coffee is poured into the milk and forth. Thus making a layered effect, which can be viewed through the serving glass.

11. Café Mocha (US): In the Italian American cuisine, this is prepared by mixing 1 standard espresso shot with 2 ounces of thick strong hot chocolate and lastly topped with hot frothed milk. On the other hand, more and more American cafes are preparing mocha by merely adding chocolate fountain syrup to a café latte.

Michael Russell

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