There are so many varieties of coffee drinks to choose from that finding one that hits the spot could be a daunting task. For those who prefer a strong cup of coffee, an americano does the trick.
If you’d rather have a more indulgent drink then a latte or cappuccino could be the ones for you.
When it comes to preparation, subtle differences make for dramatic variations in taste. Let's take a look at these 3 different espresso drinks and how to prepare them.
What Makes Americano, Latte, and Cappuccino Different?
Americano, latte, and cappuccino are all espresso-based drinks. This means that you first need to prepare an espresso and then add either water or milk to complete the drink.
Traditionally, there is no milk in an americano. However, both latte and cappuccino contain milk. The texture of the milk in a cappuccino is thicker than that of a latte.
Make Your Espresso Base
Espresso is considered the pride of Italian coffee.
Get the taste right for your espresso and all the variations that follow will be spot on. The outcome of your americano, latte, and cappuccino are heavily dependent on the taste of the espresso used to make them.
The perfect espresso has a rich, dark, and sweet flavor.
Medium roasted coffee can also work, depending on your taste preference, it gives a bitter-sweet aftertaste. The most common coffee bean used for making espressos is Arabica beans.
With the 100% arabica coffee beans found in Lifeboost Premium Espresso, you can brew an indulgent espresso. Not only are the Lifeboost coffee beans individually hand-selected but also sustainably farmed by local farmers.
You get a well-rounded, balanced coffee that’s free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Steps to Make an Espresso
If you're using an espresso machine, follow these steps to get a perfect espresso:
Grind The Beans
A single espresso shot is between 0.2-0.3 ounces and 0.4-0.6 ounces for a double shot. Depending on your taste, adjust these measurements to get your perfect shot. Grind the beans until they’re fine.
Pack and Tamp the Grounds
The espresso grounds are then added evenly to the portafilter of your espresso machine. Use the tamper to tamp down on the grounds until they’re fully compressed.
Pull the shot
Put the portafilter into the machine and press the button to pull the shot. A regular espresso is extracted from between 25 to 35 seconds and fills between 1-2 ounces.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re just starting it may take a few practice runs to get to your desired taste. If you find the shot to be too watery you can add more grounds or use finer coffee grounds.
Espresso Coffee Drink Variations
Once you've got your perfect espresso shot you can make your espresso variation drink. Let's have a look at the differences between the espresso-based drinks americano, latte, and cappuccino:
Also known as a “Cafe Americano,” this drink is made using either 1 or 2 shots of espresso and varying amounts of water. You start with a single or double espresso shot and add hot water to make an americano.
The difference between an americano and a long black is that for the latter, you start with a base of hot water and add espresso to it.
History of Cafe Americano
Some of the stories relating to the origins of the americano date back to World War II.
The American soldiers stationed in Italy found the coffee that the coffee they were being served was too strong. They were used to a drip-style coffee from back home.
The soldiers then added water to the espresso the Italian cafe owners served them, and the americano was born.
How Does the Americano Taste?
Similar to black coffee but slightly sweeter, americano has an intense taste that’s somewhat bitter.
Different amounts of water added to the espresso change the taste from stronger to weaker. The more water you add to the espresso reduces the bitterness but means a more watery taste.
On the contrary, the outcome of adding too little is a stronger tasting coffee.
How to Make an Americano
Follow these few steps if you need to know how to make an americano coffee. Although espressos are traditionally made using an espresso machine, pod machines can also be used.
The taste varies depending on the beans and pods used.
- First, prepare your base espresso drink
- Next, boil the water, most baristas use 2:1 up to 3:1 as the water to espresso ratio for an americano
- Lastly, pour the boiling water into the espresso and mix the two
That's your basic cafe americano done.
Latte starts with the same espresso base of either 1 or 2 shots of espresso. The difference between an americano and a latte is that milk is added to the latte as opposed to water.
Also known as “cafe latte,” it can be served hot or iced. The espresso to milk ratio for a latte is 1:3.
History of the Latte
The cafe latte is known to have originated in regions of Italy frequented by American tourists.
The tourists preferred a toned-down version of the espresso. Milk was foamed and added to sweeten and balance the bold espresso flavor of the drink.
In the 1980s, the latte was popularized in Seattle, Washington.
How Does a Latte Taste?
Lattes aren’t strong coffee drinks as the taste of the espresso is toned down by the added milk.
How to Make a Latte
Lattes are made with espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam. Iced lattes use espresso, cold milk, and ice.
Using whole milk gives a richer foam, however, 2% milk can be used for a less rich drink. Vegan lattes can be made using oat milk or other non-dairy alternatives.
The steps to make a latte are:
- Prepare your espresso shot to your taste preference
- Steam the milk to a micro-foam texture (similar to pouring cream)
- Pour the milk over the espresso
You can now enjoy your decadent cup of latte.
The cappuccino is a popular espresso variation drink made with equal parts espresso, milk, and foam. It typically contains between 1-2 ounces of espresso and frothed milk.
Cappuccinos are thicker in comparison to a latte.
History of Cappuccino
The cappuccino was named after the Capuchin friars living in Italy since the 16th century. The color of the espresso mixed with the frothed milk was similar to that of the Capuchin robes.
How Does a Cappuccino Taste?
The strong espresso taste is balanced by the steamed and frothed milk. The cappuccino does however have a stronger espresso flavor than a latte because it’s made with less milk.
Some popular flavor variations of the cappuccino include vanilla, chocolate, caramel, raspberry, and cinnamon.
How to Make a Cappuccino
Making a cappuccino involves combining espresso with steamed milk and topping it off with a layer of frothed milk. Iced cappuccino is made by combining espresso with cold milk and ice and then topping it off with a layer of frothed milk.
The steps to make a cappuccino are:
- Prepare your espresso shot accordingly
- Steam your milk to get a creamy thick micro-foam, which should be thicker than the latte foam
- Pour the milk into the espresso
Top the cappuccino as desired and enjoy.
Tips on How to Froth Milk
Although it’s suggested to prepare your espresso drinks using an espresso machine, for those who don't indulge daily the cost of the machine might be too high. You can still use other methods to achieve the perfect froth and indulge in your favorite cup of latte or cappuccino.
Mix in a Jar
One of the simplest methods to achieve frothy milk is by using a mason jar. Place your warm milk in the jar, close it tight and shake it like crazy.
The froth created using this method has large bubbles which aren’t the best for latte art.
Whisk by Hand
Using a hand whisk creates a slightly better foam than the jar method. Warm your milk and whisk using a back and forth motion until you achieve the desired foam texture.
Use Kitchen Electric Appliances
Many appliances in your kitchen can be used to create a great froth. Heat milk and use a handheld immersion blender, countertop electric mixer, or blender to mix the milk to create the best foam for your drink.
Remember to close the lid of the blender and mixer before turning it on using medium speed. An immersion mixer can be used at low speed to ensure you don't splash milk all over your kitchen.
Use a Frothing Wand
Using a frothing wand makes a nice, creamy foam. Warm your milk and immerse the frothing wand into the milk and turn it on. Continue whisking until you get nice frothy milk.
Use a French Press
A French press can be used just as well as the other methods to create a lovely foam.
Warm your milk and pour into the French press. Pump up and down using the plunger. The milk will expand to double the volume after about 10 seconds.
Americano vs Latte vs Cappuccino FAQs
Is An Americano Stronger Than A Cappuccino?
An americano has a strong, bold taste and is stronger than a cappuccino. Americano has no milk or foam and the cappuccino does. This gives the cappuccino a creamy flavor.
Which Has More Caffeine: Americano Or Espresso?
Americano has more caffeine than an espresso. An americano has between 95-200 mg caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. A single shot of espresso has between 40-75 mg of caffeine.
Is Cappuccino Stronger Than A Latte?
A cappuccino has a stronger espresso flavor than a latte. A cappuccino has more foam and less milk than a latte.
Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:
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- Americano Iced Coffee
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- Americano Coffee History
- Best Coffee for Americano
- Long Black Coffee
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- Black Eyed Coffee
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- Cortado vs Latte vs Cappuccino