Coffee and Espresso Drink Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide


Kurt Olsen

Coffee culture has evolved into an intricate world of flavors and brewing techniques. Whether you’re a devoted coffee enthusiast or just starting to explore the realm of espresso-based beverages, this comprehensive glossary will introduce you to the diverse range of coffee and espresso drinks available. From classic favorites to trendy creations, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to confidently navigate any café menu. So, let’s dive into the delightful universe of coffee and espresso drinks!

Diving into the World of Coffee and Espresso Drinks

Coffee enthusiasts and newcomers alike can find their perfect match among the plethora of coffee and espresso drinks available. From the comforting familiarity of drip coffee to the indulgent extravagance of a Vietnamese Egg Coffee, each cup tells a unique story.

Classic Coffee Creations

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is a timeless favorite, brewed by allowing hot water to drip through ground coffee beans. It offers a straightforward and robust flavor profile, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a traditional coffee experience.


An Americano is created by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, resulting in a lighter yet rich beverage. It’s perfect for those who enjoy the boldness of espresso but prefer a milder taste.

Café Latte

The café latte, often referred to simply as a “latte,” combines espresso with steamed milk, creating a creamy and comforting drink. It’s an ideal choice for those looking for a harmonious balance between coffee and milk.


Cappuccino is a classic espresso drink featuring equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Its velvety texture and strong coffee flavor make it a beloved choice for espresso aficionados.

Rich and Intense Espresso Drinks

Espresso Shot

An espresso shot is the foundation of many coffee drinks. It’s a concentrated, bold, and aromatic coffee extracted by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.


Macchiato, meaning “stained” in Italian, is a shot of espresso “stained” with a small amount of milk or milk foam. It provides a powerful coffee taste with a hint of creaminess.


A cortado is crafted by mixing equal parts espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a balanced and bold flavor. It’s a popular choice for those who enjoy a strong coffee presence.


Mocha combines the richness of chocolate with the intensity of espresso, creating a decadent and indulgent drink. Topped with whipped cream, it’s a delightful treat for any chocolate lover.

Iced and Chilled Delights

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is a refreshing option made by cooling brewed coffee and serving it over ice. It’s a great choice for warm days when you crave a chilled caffeine boost.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is created by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period. The result is a smooth, less acidic, and highly caffeinated beverage.


A Frappuccino is a trademarked blended drink made by blending coffee, milk, ice, and flavorings. It offers a delightful slushy texture and is often customized with various syrups.


Affogato is a simple yet luxurious dessert consisting of a scoop of vanilla ice cream “drowned” in a shot of hot espresso. The contrast between hot and cold creates a delightful sensory experience.

Specialty and Trendy Brews

Flat White

Originating from Australia and New Zealand, the flat white is made by microfoaming milk and pouring it over a shot of espresso. It boasts a velvety texture and a strong coffee flavor.

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a high-fat coffee drink made by blending coffee with butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. It’s promoted as a source of sustained energy and mental clarity.

Nitro Coffee

Nitro coffee is cold brew infused with nitrogen gas, resulting in a creamy and effervescent beverage reminiscent of draft beer. Its smoothness and unique presentation have made it a trendy choice.

Vietnamese Egg Coffee

A Vietnamese delicacy, egg coffee combines egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, and robust coffee to create a rich, velvety, and sweet drink that’s a true culinary adventure.

Alternative Milk Magic

Soy Latte

Soy milk adds a nutty and creamy dimension to the classic latte, making it a popular choice for those who prefer plant-based options.

Oat Milk Cappuccino

Oat milk’s natural sweetness and frothability make it a perfect companion for a cappuccino, adding a delightful twist to the traditional recipe.

Almond Milk Mocha

The nutty undertones of almond milk complement the chocolatey notes of a mocha, resulting in a luscious and dairy-free indulgence.

Coconut Milk Macchiato

Coconut milk adds a tropical flair to the macchiato, infusing it with a subtle coconut aroma and a smooth finish.

Decadent Dessert-Inspired Treats

Tiramisu Latte

Drawing inspiration from the Italian dessert, the tiramisu latte combines coffee, cocoa, mascarpone-like foam, and a touch of sweetness for a delightful dessert-inspired drink.

Chocolate Raspberry Espresso

Indulge your senses with the harmonious blend of rich chocolate and tangy raspberry, beautifully paired with a shot of espresso.

Salted Caramel Cappuccino

Savor the contrasting flavors of velvety caramel and a hint of salt in a luscious cappuccino that’s both comforting and indulgent.

Honey Lavender Cortado

Experience the delicate floral notes of lavender combined with the natural sweetness of honey in a soothing cortado that’s a true sensory delight.

Going Beyond: Exotic Infusions

Cardamom Spiced Coffee

Infused with the warm and aromatic flavors of cardamom, this coffee variation offers a delightful twist on your daily cup.

Lavender Vanilla Espresso

Elevate your espresso experience with the soothing essence of lavender and the classic allure of vanilla.

Chai Latte

Indulge in the cozy embrace of chai spices and black tea, harmoniously combined with steamed milk for a fragrant and comforting latte.

Rosemary Honey Coffee

Discover the unique pairing of earthy rosemary and sweet honey, creating a truly distinctive coffee blend that’s both refreshing and comforting.

The Perfect Pair: Coffee and Food

Brunch Pairings

Explore the art of pairing coffee with brunch dishes, from hearty omelets to delicate pastries, to elevate your morning dining experience.

Sweet Treat Partnerships

Indulge your sweet tooth by discovering the enchanting synergy between coffee and desserts like cakes, pastries, and chocolates.

Savory Matches

Experience the delightful interplay of flavors when coffee meets savory dishes, adding depth and richness to your culinary journey.

Unexpected Flavors

Embark on a culinary adventure by pairing coffee with unexpected flavors like cheeses, spices, and exotic fruits, unlocking new taste sensations.


In the vast world of coffee and espresso drinks, each concoction tells a unique tale, inviting you to explore a symphony of flavors and aromas. Whether you’re seeking the familiarity of a classic brew or the excitement of innovative infusions, this glossary has equipped you with the knowledge to navigate the diverse landscape of coffee culture. So, next time you step into a café, confidently order a drink that resonates with your taste and embark on a delightful journey through the world of coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

A: A latte has more steamed milk and a milder coffee flavor compared to a cappuccino, which has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.

Q: What is the origin of cold brew coffee?

A: Cold brew coffee is said to have originated in Japan in the 17th century, known as “Kyoto-style” coffee.

Q: How is nitro coffee infused with nitrogen?

A: Nitro coffee is infused with nitrogen gas under high pressure, creating a creamy texture and a visually striking cascading effect.

Q: Can I make a dairy-free affogato?

A: Yes, you can use dairy-free ice cream and alternative milk options to create a delicious dairy-free affogato.

Q: What is the best way to pair coffee with savory dishes?

A:Pair light and fruity coffee with delicate dishes, while bold and dark coffee complements richer and savory flavors.

Contact Us

For more information or to make comments and suggestions, please contact:
Kurt Olsen
Dairy Development Coordinator, Missouri Department of Agriculture
Phone: (573) 291-5704
E-mail: [email protected]