Espresso Coffee – The Espresso Menu Explained

The coffee menu (and what defines your favourite beverage) is a hotly debated matter between baristas, coffee fanatics and the informal café goer alike. The actual definition of what constitutes a flat white or a cappuccino has modified over the many years and the drinks nonetheless differ enormously relying on the place on the earth you get them organized. Let’s take a look at the coffee menu as it’s right now, in addition to contemplating the place these drinks got here from.

Black Coffees

Espresso/Short Black
This is the essential constructing block for nearly each different drink you make. A single espresso could be lovely and scrumptious and even really horrible relying on the talent of the barista getting ready it. That being stated, there’s truly a little bit of variation in what might be outlined as ‘espresso’.

Most baristas would agree that espresso must be brewed at a ratio of 1:2

So, a 22g dose of coffee can be extracted to supply a 44g double espresso, however not everybody brews their espresso at a 1:2 ratio. Some baristas favor to make their espresso lighter and extra diluted, brewing at a 1:2.5 ratio (or 22g in, 55g out) and a few baristas choose to strengthen, extra intense espresso, brewing at ratios of as little as 1:1.5 or 22g in, 33g out.

But not each café places the identical quantity of coffee of their basket. Here in Australia, most cafes are dosing 20-22g and yielding 40-44g for a double espresso.

Over within the USA, it’s extra widespread to listen to 19-20g in and 38-40g out. In the UK, 18g in and 36g out is the norm and in Italy, the place making a single espresso is extra widespread, it’s probably that your barista is dosing 7g in and 14g out. They’re all brewing coffee to the identical power, however yielding totally different quantities so whereas we use the identical identify – espresso – we will get totally different sized drinks.

For an fascinating perspective take a look at the outcomes of this 2015 survey James Hoffman revealed: The State of Espresso in 2015.

Long Black/Americano
An extended black is usually a double espresso extracted over scorching water. How a lot water goes into an extended black varies from café to café, however ‘enough to fill the cup’ is an effective rule of thumb. Depending on the dimensions of the cups you’re utilizing which may imply your lengthy blacks are 44g of espresso and 44g of water, or 44g of espresso and 88g of water – and even one thing else totally! The temperature of the water also needs to be thought-about. Most machines dispense water that’s at tea brewing temperature as an alternative of consuming temperature. Therefore, thoughtful baristas may combine some cooler water into their lengthy blacks to allow them to be drunk sooner somewhat than later.

Milk Coffees

Love it or hate it, the truth is that over time the standard flat white, latte and cappuccino have develop into extra comparable than totally different. Back in ‘the olden days’, the espresso for a latte was poured right into a dealt with glass and the milk and foam have been deliberately separated into layers which the buyer needed to stir collectively earlier than consuming. This appeared very dramatic, however wasn’t notably sensible (or pleasant for my part). Cappuccinos have been made with mountainous peaks of dry, meringue-like foam, like a babycino for grownups. It was enjoyable to scoop the froth off and eat it, however wasn’t an ideal consuming expertise and held hidden dangers. It was very straightforward to get all that fluffy foam and chocolate in your nostril, round your mouth, or worst of all, caught in your moustache (your expertise might range).

So clients began asking for an easier coffee than these two. Plain white coffee, in a cup, with out all that frothy nonsense. And thus, the flat white was born.

Back in these days, the flat white was actually a milky coffee in a cup with no foam in any respect and a few individuals nonetheless make them like that as we speak. However, as baristas turned extra expert at their craft, foam crept again onto flat whites as baristas needed to stability the cup with slightly creaminess and show their mad latte artwork expertise.

Who ‘invented’ the flat white is a scorching matter of debate between Australians and New Zealanders. The Australians declare to have invented it, and the New Zealanders (as typical) declare that the Aussies stole one other one among their concepts. At least we’re in keeping with our rivalries.

As the take away coffee tradition surged in reputation, these three coffees have been served in paper cups much more incessantly than of their unique glass or ceramic vessels and in flip, the variations between them turned much less pronounced, with solely foam depth differentiating them (cappuccinos stored their chocolate powder although). This drink differentiation crept again into the dine-in variations of the drink.


There are in all probability extra variations of this single beverage than there are on the remainder of the espresso menu mixed. I’ve learn numerous heated debates on barista boards concerning the ‘proper’ definition for this drink. The phrase ‘Macchiato’ means ‘stained’ in Italian, so the drink was initially ready as an espresso which was ‘stained’ with only a sprint of textured milk. The actual quantity of milk this ‘dash’ contained turned the purpose of interpretation for baristas and shoppers alike. People additionally fill their macchiatos with milk to varied ranges starting from barely any milk in any respect, to half-crammed or topped up utterly.

Long macchiatos expertise extra selection once more. An Australian ‘invention’, they’re greater drinks, in order that they include two photographs of espresso, however are sometimes served in a latte glass. The conventional technique was so as to add only a sprint of milk to those drinks as properly, however many shoppers then discovered the beverage too intense or missing in general quantity. To dilute the coffee, individuals began asking for extra milk (or water!) of their macchiato, and right now there are various totally different kinds of this drink on supply. Ultimately, I favor to let the client determine what drink they want, moderately than to ‘educate’ them concerning the right definition of that drink prior to now, current and even future!

Piccolo Latte
These are primarily smaller, stronger lattes. They’re both served in an espresso cup and are the identical as a brief macchiato that’s been topped up, or are served in a latte-formed glass which is concerning the measurement of an espresso cup.Magic
This drink is extra generally present in Melbourne and there’s numerous debate concerning the right definition of this beverage. I’m going to share my opinion, in addition to my theories concerning the alternative ways it may be ready. A magic is a double ristretto (which is simply the primary half of an espresso, on this context) served in a 5-ounce cup, full of flat white-type milk. Whilst not explicitly said, it’s additionally assumed that the milk can be a bit of on the cooler aspect, say 45-48 levels Celsius, in order that the drink could be consumed shortly. Some individuals say that a magic must be a double ristretto served in ‘a cup’ which is just three quarters full. This can also be a legitimate definition, however I really feel that the rationale the cup is just three quarters full is as a result of the cafes who make their magics like this have been in all probability utilizing greater cups. The cup was solely three quarters full, in order that the ratio of milk to double ristretto was just like the ‘original’ model.

Going Forward

The espresso menu can appear complicated, inconsistent and varies from café to café, metropolis to metropolis, and nation to nation. This is usually a level of hysteria for patrons. They need to get the coffee they like, however don’t need to really feel uncomfortable within the means of ordering. This is the place empathy from hospitality professionals is significant. We’ve tried menus that provide white coffee, black coffee or filter coffee. For some, this makes ordering a easy choice and for others, it provides to confusion.

Does that menu imply I can’t get my flat white or lengthy macchiato? Only a ‘white coffee’, no matter that’s?

Other menus record all of the choices exhaustively, taking over half a wall within the course of, naming all of the potential variations on supply; however the costs remained the identical. This was complicated in its personal approach. Choice is essential, however an excessive amount of selection could be overwhelming when all you need is one thing scrumptious.

Ultimately, that is the place a baristas discretion turns into essential. Each coffee drinkers’ choice is exclusive and they’ll gravitate in the direction of specific types of service. There’s no single ‘right’ approach to do issues; simply be sure to put your self within the footwear of somebody who doesn’t know the distinction (or lack there-of) between a flat white and a macchiato. We have been all that individual as soon as upon a time.


© Cover picture supplied with permission by Emily Bartlett. All rights reserved by photographer

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