What Coffee Beverage is that?

A Very Good Guide on Espresso-based Coffee

Very accurate especially on the first row: Espresso, Double, Ristretto and Lungo (Long Black).

Here I would like to discuss the more common drinks we have in our market in light of all the confusing naming convention.

Ristretto is made by “restricting” the flow to create a more intense shot of espresso. To achieve this, the barista can either:
1. use a finer grind
2. over-dose
3. Tamped harder
4. Mixture of the above

While Lungo or Long Black should be the opposite of Ristretto.

Cappuccino based on World Barista Championship’s standard, should be a single espresso with textured milk.

Textured Milk is milk that has been stretched where micro-foam (tiny air-bubble) are created using steam power. After which the micro-foam is “rolled” and incorporated and merged with the rest of the milk liquid. The end result should produced a creamy texture of warm milk. Contrasting milk that was merely heated up, textured milk has a creamy heavy body while Un-textured milk is light body and “clean”.

Therefore, whether Cappuccino or Caffe Latte, instead of % of steam milk and foam, they should be textured milk. My humble opinion is that the difference between Cappuccino and Caffe Latte is the ratio between espresso and textured milk.

Where Cappuccino consist of 1 single espresso with 5oz to 6oz of textured milk, the Caffe Latte would consist of 1 single espresso with 7oz to 8oz of textured milk.

Flat-white is accurately depict as espresso with steamed-milk (not textured milk)

Not everyone would agree with me, but I believe these are the proper way to define our coffee beverage without causing all the confusion.


4 thoughts on “What Coffee Beverage is that?

  1. chin

    The confusion will stays and remains an interesting topic to discuss among coffee lovers for ever. You and me will engage in all this argument as long as we wanted to, don’t you just love it?

  2. t

    It’s true that the differences between espresso beverages is a topic of continual debate.
    I am a barista trainer with 20 years experience in the Sydney coffee scene. Here we make a ristretto not by changing the flow rate by fining up the grind or overdosing, we simply run less water through the coffee grounds. This results in a sweeter shot with less caffeine. This is easier and simpler in terms of workflow and efficiency and avoids the bitter and burnt flavours that are created when increasing the resistance to the pressure in the machine by slowing down the flow rate.

  3. kfchan Post author

    Dear T,

    I think “overdosing” is the easiest to achieve without disruption to the work-flow of a cafe. I think certain ideas can only be done in the comfort of a home setting. Wouldn’t you think that by merely overdosing, more resistance is already being created and the flow rate will slow down?

    I do agree that over restricting the flow rate tends to increase the bitter and burnt flavour.

    Nowadays, I tend to just overdose, restrict a bit of the flow and pull a bit shorter instead. A double ristretto ends up in about 30ml in around 20 to 23 seconds.

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