Speciality Coffee Drinks

Speciality coffee drinks such as latte and cappuccino have exploded in popularity over recent years. Browse though our list of the top 10 most popular coffee beverages and see how each is prepared using your espresso coffee machine.

First of all, before you get started making your coffee drinks, let’s get the basics right. Preparation. There are 3 key elements to preparing that perfect beverage you need to consider.

1. The coffee machine

2. The ingredients you use, such as coffee beans and fresh milk

3. The person preparing the coffee – You!

So let’s take a closer look at these three.

1. The coffee machine. Make sure that your espresso machine, whether you’re using a commercial coffee machine or home use domestic coffee maker, is clean and is drawing fresh water. This includes ensuring the group heads are clear of old coffee grounds and you’ve regularly back flushed the equipment with a suitable detergent. These tasks should be done daily.

98% of a black coffee drink is water which makes this a key component of any beverage. Extracting you coffee using fresh water means keeping your water filter up to date or if using a machine with a water tank, keeping it topped up with fresh water. Filters not only protect your coffee machine from the effects of lime-scale build up, but also purifies the water which improves its flavour.

The coffee grinder needs to be set up to achieve the correct grind to optimise extraction. Too fine, the hot water will struggle to extract and burn the coffee. Too coarse, the hot water will not fully extract the properties of the coffee beans, and will dispense too quickly. A useful guide is an espresso (40ml) should take about 22-25 seconds to extract and have a nice thick silky crema.

2. The ingredients. Using fresh coffee beans is key. The fresher the beans, the better the espresso crema and coffee flavour. When you open a bag of espresso beans, keep the unused beans packed air tight and away from direct sunlight. Don’t over fill the bean hopper, just place enough beans in to last an hour or two. We recommend this method because coffee will immediately begin to deteriorate once exposed to air.

3. The person preparing the coffee. Arguably the most important link in the. It’s all very well having good clean equipment and fresh coffee beans but if the operator has no basic skill preparing the drinks, the results run the risk of being poor.

Top 10 speciality coffee drinks (in no particular order)


A Ristretto is a short espresso, approx. 20ml. The same quantity of fine grind coffee is used as an espresso (around 7g) but the volume of hot water is halved.


The base of most coffee drinks. Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans.


Basically an Americano is a long black coffee where hot water is added to an espresso, usually the drink consists of a third espresso and two thirds hot water. This method ensures that the coffee is not over extracted which can cause a bitter taste. There is no hard and fast rule as to the order the 2 components are put into the cup but we believe you will experience a better crema if the espresso is dispensed into your cup of hot water.


One of the most popular coffee drinks, the cup contains equal thirds of espresso, heated frothy milk and milk foam. The art making this drink is in how the milk is heated and foamed in the milk jug. A dry cappuccino has more froth than foam.

Cafe Mocha

Also referred to as a Mocha, similar to cappuccino in its preparation with the exception of adding chocolate to the drink. First extract an espresso into the cup, then you either add chocolate sauce or chocolate powder, either dry or made into a paste. If added dry, stir into the espresso. Then add foamed milk to taste. There is no right or wrong ratio of foam to froth, prepare to your own taste preference.


A latte is simply a milky coffee with a thin layer of milk foam. Meaning ‘Milk’ in Italian (so don’t order a latte in Italy, you’ll get a glass of milk). When foaming the milk, attention is made more to heating it than foaming it. For the practiced barista, milk art is sometimes created which is referred to as latte art.

Latte Macchiato

Somewhere in-between a cappuccino and a latte but where the espresso shot is added after the frothy milk. If presented in a glass, split layers can be created if the espresso is carefully poured. Finally topped off with milk foam.

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