Grocery Guides

27 Different Types of Coffee: Beans, Roasts & Drinks Explained

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Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024

Nothing beats that first sip of coffee in the morning. If you’re like the 63% of Americans who drink coffee every day, you likely can’t start your day without it. But did you know there are 27 different types of coffee drinks?

Whether you aren’t sure what to order at your local coffee shop or are tired of the same boring recipe, it’s time to try something new and indulge in the mysterious wonders of coffee. 

From flat whites and cappuccinos to lattes and cortados, these drinks will have you saying, “Where have you been all my life?”

Table of Contents:

Types of coffee beans

The first step to making your cup of joe is brewing coffee beans, which means you are roasting coffee plant seeds. As a coffee connoisseur, you should know that the beans you use and where they’re sourced will alter the taste and smell of your brewed beverage. The four types of coffee beans are Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. Not sure of the difference? Don’t worry, as the differences between these coffee beans are awaiting (just like your morning coffee) below!

Robusta

Robusta coffee beans are less expensive than Arabica since the plant is easier to grow. But don’t be fooled by the cheaper price tags — Robusta has a high caffeine level to shake up your morning. Robusta is popular in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This type of coffee bean has a strong, bitter taste and is often used for instant coffee and espresso beverages.

Flavor profile: Strong and bitter

Caffeine level: High

Arabica

The Arabica coffee bean is the most common type in North America but can be found in most places around the world, like Brazil and Vietnam. Most folks prefer brewing their coffee with Arabica beans due to its sweet and delicate flavor. This type of coffee plant requires more attention and careful pruning to maintain its sweetness, which is why it can be more expensive. Arabica also has an average caffeine level compared to other types of coffee beans.

Flavor profile: Sweet and smooth  

Caffeine level: Average

Liberica

While they might be rare, Liberica coffee beans can pack a punch. Liberica is native to the central and western regions of Africa and is known for its bold, smoky flavor. Since these coffee beans require hot, humid climates to grow, they can’t grow in mass quantities. If you find yourself in Indonesia or the Philippines, you might be able to indulge in the nutty, earthy flavors of Liberica coffee.

Flavor profile: Bold and smoky

Caffeine level: Low

Excelsa

Excelsa coffee beans are a variant of Liberica and grow mostly in Southeast Asia. These elongated beans thrive at medium altitudes and grow upward of 20-30 feet. Enjoy the tart yet fruity flavors mixed with the darkness of other roasts. Most folks prefer mixing Excelsa with other beans since it adds more depth to the flavor.

Flavor profile: Tart and fruity 

Caffeine level: Low

Types of coffee drinks

If coffee is quite literally what gets you up in the morning, you’re going to want to listen, as your new favorite drink might be brewing below. From espresso to macchiatos, we cover the common types of coffee drinks as well as guidance on perfecting your cup-to-coffee ratio so you can successfully brew at home.

1. Black

Black coffee is simple yet far from sweet. When you choose this type of coffee drink, you are getting no frills — just the flavor of the coffee beans. However, coffee drinkers can alter the taste with milk, sugar and other flavor additives.

Ratio: 8 oz. of drip coffee

Cup: 8-oz. coffee mug

2. Espresso

Espresso is a short cup of highly concentrated black coffee, but what differentiates it from other coffee types is not the beans itself but the way it’s brewed. To master the art of espresso shots, take hot water and pressurize it through finely ground Robusta coffee beans. As a result, espresso is brewed with a higher grounds-to-water ratio, which gives the drink a stronger flavor and higher caffeine levels.

Ratio: 1 shot of espresso

Cup: 2-4-oz. espresso cup 

3. Latte

Lattes are a popular coffee drink for coffee shop lovers and at-home baristas alike! You can order it many ways, and it’s fairly simple to make if you have an espresso machine or milk frother handy. Making lattes involves mixing one-third espresso with two-thirds steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of foam (often in a fun design). Some folks enjoy mixing up the flavors of their latte with vanilla or even pumpkin syrup.

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed milk and topped with foamed milk

Cup: 8-oz. latte mug

how to make a latte

4. Cappuccino

A cappuccino is similar to a latte, but this espresso drink involves less steamed milk and more foam. To make this type of coffee drink, take equal parts of espresso, hot milk and foamed milk. Folks often drink cappuccinos in small 6-ounce cups. Java lovers typically drink cappuccinos in the morning for a burst of energy. Don’t be afraid to add a flavor shot or sprinkle of cinnamon to switch up the flavor.

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅓ hot milk, ⅓ foamed milk

Cup: 6-oz. cappuccino mug

5. Americano

Americanos involve diluting a shot of espresso with hot water. This type of coffee dates back to World War II when soldiers would ration their portions by mixing their coffee with water. You still get a high level of caffeine from the espresso, but the water thins it out to create a larger portion of coffee. 

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ hot water

Cup: 8-oz. coffee cup

6. Long black

If you like Americanos, have you ever tried a long black? The drinks are extremely similar — baristas make both with espresso and hot water, but the difference is the order in which you pour the ingredients. While you make an Americano by pouring hot water over brewed espresso, a long black requires pouring espresso over the hot water. This technique allows the crema from the espresso to sit on top of the drink rather than between the espresso and water layers, resulting in a slightly stronger coffee flavor. 

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ hot water

Cup: 8-oz. coffee cup

7. Doppio (double espresso)

A doppio is simply a double shot of espresso that stems from the Italian word for “double.” No other ingredients are added to this coffee drink, so, by nature, it’s strong to the taste and highly caffeinated.

Ratio: 2 shots of espresso

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

how to make a doppio

8. Flat white

Similar to a latte, the flat white contains espresso and steamed milk but involves a higher ratio of espresso than milk. This type of coffee drink originates from Australia and New Zealand. Baristas and coffee connoisseurs fold in the milk while it’s steaming to create a velvety texture. 

Ratio: ⅔ espresso with ⅓ milk

Cup: 6-oz. cappuccino mug

9. Red Eye

Unlike the overnight flight, the red eye coffee drink adds a boost of energy to a regular cup of coffee. To create this cup of joe, add a shot of espresso to your standard drip coffee to enjoy the extra boost of caffeine.

Ratio: 8 oz. of drip coffee with a shot of espresso 

Cup: 10-oz. coffee mug

10. Macchiato

Folks who are looking to spice up their espressos should try a macchiato. This coffee drink is made with a shot of espresso and a hint of steamed milk or foam. It’s a good option for coffee drinkers who want something more than a shot of espresso but not as much as a cappuccino or a latte.

Ratio: Shot of espresso topped with milk foam 

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

how to make a macchiato

11. Cortado

A cortado is a coffee drink that originated in Spain. It’s half espresso and half steamed milk. Cortados contain mostly no foam, sometimes no foam at all. Coffee lovers enjoy this drink since the milk reduces the acidity of the espresso.

Ratio: ½ espresso and ½ steamed milk

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

12. Breve

A breve coffee is similar to a latte but uses half and half instead of regular milk, resulting in a rich and decadent drink. Simply combine two espresso shots with steamed half and half and top with a layer of foamed half and half.

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed half and half and topped with foamed half and half

Cup: 8-oz. latte mug

13. Mocha

Calling all chocolate lovers! A mocha tastes like a blend of hot chocolate and coffee. Add cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to your latte, and you’ll be more than satisfied.

Ratio: Shot of espresso with ⅓ chocolate powder or syrup, ⅓ steamed milk and ⅓ milk foam

Cup: 8-oz. coffee mug

14. Ristretto

A ristretto is an espresso drink made with dark roast coffee beans. It isn’t served with milk or any sweeteners. However, it is made with less hot water than your standard shot of espresso, which creates a sweeter taste.

Ratio: Shot of espresso

Cup: 2-oz. espresso cup

how to make a ristretto

15. Lungo

A lungo is a shot of espresso but with a longer pull. This form of espresso uses double the water of a normal shot, which results in a less intense flavor that’s still on the bitter side.

Ratio: Double shot of espresso

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

16. Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee is a strong, unfiltered beverage with a deliciously unique flavor profile. It’s traditionally prepared by combining very finely ground coffee beans, water, Demerara sugar and sometimes cardamom in a small pot with a long handle called a cezve and cooking it on the stove until it’s just boiling. 

Next, you pour the mixture — including the coffee grounds, which will eventually sink to the bottom — into a small cup and enjoy. Leaving the drink unfiltered allows for a higher concentration of caffeine than regular coffee. 

Ratio: 1 tablespoon of finely ground coffee, ⅓ cup of water and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar

Cup: 2 ½-oz. Turkish coffee cup

17. Galão

What happens when you double the foamed milk of a cappuccino and a latte? You create the galão! To create this Portuguese drink, you add twice the amount of milk for a lighter cup of java that will warm your soul. 

Ratio: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ foamed milk 

Cup: 8-oz. coffee mug

18. Affogato

An affogato is an easy-to-make after-dinner treat that will add a bit of pep back into your step. Grab your favorite ice cream and pour a shot of espresso over it for a creamy, caffeinated dessert.

Ratio: Shot of espresso with a scoop of ice cream

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

how to make an affogato

19. Irish coffee

The Irish coffee drink is another dessert beverage to try out after a meal. Brew a hot cup of joe and mix it with Irish whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream for a decadent dessert drink. Take it to the next level with whipped cream and flavored syrup.

Ratio: ⅓ drip coffee, ⅓ Irish whiskey and ⅓ Baileys Irish Cream

Cup: 8-10-oz. coffee mug

20. Café au lait

To create this French type of coffee, combine equal parts coffee and steamed milk. The key is to use coffee made from a French press instead of espresso to draw out different flavors.

Ratio: ½ French press coffee and ½ steamed milk

Cup: 8-oz. coffee mug

21. Instant

Instant coffee is tried-and-true among most java drinkers with limited time and resources. Most instant coffees are flavored and branded from local and regional coffee companies. To make instant coffee, add 8 oz. of boiled water to a mug with 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee grounds or a single coffee pod. Stir until the instant coffee is combined fully. Pour in your milk or sweetener of choice.  

Ratio: 8 oz. of instant coffee

Cup: 8-oz. coffee mug

how to make instant coffee

Types of cold coffee drinks

Adding ice to freshly brewed coffee is one of the most satisfying and refreshing ways to enjoy the beverage. You don’t have to wait for your java to cool down thanks to ice cubes. Check out the different types of cold coffee drinks below.

22. Iced coffee

An iced coffee is a black coffee served over ice. You can create this refreshing, energy-boosting drink with a splash of milk, cream or your favorite sweetener. You can make this delicious type of cold coffee at home or order it at your favorite cafe paired with a chocolate croissant.

Ratio: 8 oz. of drip coffee with ice

Cup: 12-oz. glass

how to make an iced coffee

23. Iced espresso

An iced espresso is exactly what it sounds like: a cup of espresso over ice. You can either drink an iced espresso black or add in your favorite sweeteners, milk or cream. Try ordering your favorite espresso-based beverages like macchiatos and lattes iced instead of hot for a cool cup of joe.

Ratio: Shot of espresso

Cup: 4-oz. espresso cup

24. Vietnamese iced coffee

Vietnamese coffee traditionally involves brewing dark roast Robusta coffee grounds through a metal filter called a phin and into a glass with a bit of sweetened condensed milk. Enjoy it hot, or add ice for a luxuriously sweet and creamy drink that’s perfect on a hot day. 

While using a phin and Vietnam-grown coffee beans will create the most authentic flavor, you can also just make a cup of strong coffee (or two shots of espresso), stir in some sweetened condensed milk and pour the mixture over ice for an easy shortcut.  

Ratio: 8 oz. of drip coffee, 1-2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and ice

Cup: 12-oz. glass

25. Frappuccino

A frappuccino, or frappe, is an ice-blended smoothie-like coffee drink that is refreshing and delicious. Grab ice, your milk of choice, brewed espresso or coffee and flavored syrups to create your frappe. Make sure your coffee or espresso is cooled down before adding it to your blender, or else you’ll have a mess. Don’t forget to add whipped cream for an extra layer of sweetness!

Ratio: 8 oz. of espresso or drip coffee, ¾ cup of milk and 8 oz. of ice

Cup: 10-20-oz. cup

26. Cold brew

The latest trend in java drinks is cold brew, which is made by steeping coffee beans over cold water for at least 12 hours. This results in a smooth, less bitter taste compared to your standard iced coffee. The longer you steep your coffee beans, the stronger your cold brew will be. Once the coffee’s ready, you can add your milk or cream of choice.     

Ratio: 8 oz. cold brew coffee

Cup: 12-oz. glass

how to make cold brew

27. Nitro cold brew

Nitro cold brew is a frothy and foamy cold coffee drink that’s created with nitrogen. Baristas pour this beverage from a nitro tap, which is similar to pouring beer on tap. The end result is very similar to beer, with light carbonation yet a sweet and smooth taste. 

Ratio: 8 oz. nitro cold brew

Cup: 12-oz. glass

Types of coffee roasts

Now that you’re familiar with coffee beans and types of coffee drinks, let’s jump into coffee roasts. Each coffee roast has its own flavor, appearance and aroma. Light, medium, medium-dark and dark are the four different types of coffee roasts. Find your perfect coffee bean roast level below.

Light roast

Light roast coffee means the coffee beans were roasted for the least amount of time. After they reach an internal temperature of 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, the coffee beans are removed from the heat. 

Light roasts will have the most caffeine and are lighter in color. The overall taste will vary depending on the origin of the bean, since the roasting flavors will not be prominent.

Medium roast

Medium roast coffee beans are slightly more cooked than light roasts but nowhere near dark roasts. This type of roast is achieved when the beans reach internal temperatures of 410-430 degrees Fahrenheit. You will notice slightly more body and flavor than a light roast, but nothing too overpowering. Medium roasts are also a tad bit darker in color than light roasts. 

Medium roast coffee is preferred by most Americans due to its average acidity, taste and level of caffeine. You might notice a balance of flavors among medium roasts.

Medium-dark roast

Coffee beans that are roasted to an internal temperature of 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit are considered medium-dark roasts. Most medium-dark roast coffee beans are used for espresso and French press beverages. With this level of roasting, you might notice rich, full-bodied flavors.

Dark roast

Dark roast coffee beans have an internal temperature of 460-480+ degrees Fahrenheit with no origin flavor — just the flavors of roasted coffee beans. However, dark roast coffee tends to have sweeter notes due to the caramelized sugars that result from roasting for extended periods.

When coffee beans are roasted for longer, they will have the least amount of caffeine and the lowest acidity. Espresso and most European coffees are made from dark roast beans.

Types of coffee makers

Most coffee lovers know their way around a drip or single-serve machine, but there are many more coffee maker options to explore. Here are some of the most common tools to make the perfect cup of joe.

Single-serve 

Single-serve coffee makers are great for brewing individual cups of coffee. All you have to do is measure out your desired amount of grounds, add it to a reusable filter and pour in water. You’ll have a perfect cup of coffee every time!

Pour-over

The pour-over brewing method requires a cup, a coffee filter and a funnel. To use this method, pour hot water over your coffee grounds in the funnel to extract the flavors and make a delicate cup of java.

French press 

The French press is a fancier version of a pour-over coffee maker, except you use a machine. Add your coffee beans of choice to your French press, mix in hot water and, after the coffee brews for a few minutes, pull the lever and watch the coffee pour into your mug.

what is a french press

Cold brew

If cold brew is your drink of choice, it might be time to invest in your own machine to do the hard work for you. All you have to do is add your favorite coffee grounds to your cold brew maker and enjoy your freshly brewed java. Store your cold brew in the fridge for up to 36 hours for easily accessible coffee anytime.

Drip

Drip coffee makers are your standard electric machine sold at nearly every retailer. The process of brewing coffee with a drip machine is similar to the pour-over method, but this way is automated. Scoop your favorite coffee grounds into a filter with a bit of water and hit the start button. Some drip coffee machines use a glass carafe or a thermal carafe, which keeps your coffee fresh for hours.

Percolator

Percolators are an old-fashioned way to brew coffee using a kettle-shaped machine. Coffee is brewed by pushing hot water through a chamber that steeps the coffee beans. This process continues until your perfect cup is ready to serve.

what is a percolator

Moka

Moka coffee pots are similar to percolators in shape and brewing method. This coffee maker allows water to pass through the coffee grounds instead of letting them soak in water like a French press. Fill your Moka pot with water and place it on a heated surface like a stovetop to allow the pressure to rise and boil your coffee beans.

AeroPress

The AeroPress is a manual coffee machine that is closely related to the French press. This coffee maker only brews a single serving, but its compact size is perfect for travelers and campers. To use the AeroPress, all you have to do is combine warm water and coffee grounds, and the machine will dilute and filter the coffee.

Coffee types chart

With so many types of coffee to enjoy, it can be easy to confuse their characteristics. 

Check out our scannable coffee types chart to familiarize yourself with the different java ratios and ingredients broken down.

types of coffee drinks chart

Now that you are more familiar with types of coffee beans, coffee drinks and ways to brew your java, you’re ready to taste test and find your perfect blend.

Stock up on all your favorite coffee grounds and invest in a good machine to brew the best cup. To simplify your morning routine, receive your coffee, milk and sugar at your doorstep through easy online ordering with Instacart. Shop your favorite coffee retailers with a click of a button today!

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