Coffee Creation Tips

What Kind of Drinks Can I Make?
Espresso Is The Starting Point
A coffee specialty drink by any other name is still espresso. Nearly any caffeinated beverage you sip at the coffee shop or make at home has this one common ingredient, but by varying the ingredients you add to espresso you can produce a latte, cappuccino or your own unique beverage.
The information below will get you started on your coffee-brewing adventure by providing some of the most popular recipes for espresso-based drinks. Also feel free to be inventive and use these ideas to create coffee specialty drinks that fit your special occasion.
Espresso Can Go Solo
Most of us know that espresso is simply pressure-brewed coffee. However there is often confusion over what size an espresso drink should be. Generally speaking, a single shot of espresso is about 1 to 1.5 ounces, while a double shot measures 2 to 2.5 ounces. All shots of espresso should take about 20 to 25 seconds to brew. If you find that your shots pull too quickly, too slowly, or taste bitter refer to the Golden Rule for some trouble-shooting guides.


There are also those coffee connoisseurs who like to vary the size of their shots, brewing a smaller shot known as the Ristretto, or a larger shot called the Lungo.
-The Ristretto or the “little one” is the smallest shot of espresso due to the restricted water flow. The Ristretto will be about 0.75 to 1 ounce.
-The Lungo is a long pull, meaning that about twice the amount of water is pulled through. Instead of having a 2 to 2.5 ounce double shot you would have a 5 to 6 ounce shot.
What’s The Difference Between A Cappuccino And A Latte?
The basic difference between these two espresso-based drinks is the type of milk used. A cappuccino has frothed and steamed milk, whereas the latte contains steamed milk only. A variety of flavorings can also be added to a cappuccino or a latte. (See our Monin syrups for some tasty ideas.) The recipes for these two drinks are shown below:
-A Dry Cappuccino is a double shot of espresso with little or no steamed milk, but frothed milk on top.
-A Wet Cappuccino is a double shot of espresso with more steamed milk than frothed milk.
Walking into your local coffee shop can be intimidating when faced with ordering a specialty drink. Try using this menu to order and impress the coffee clique.
Walk into your local boutique coffee shop and you will be met with lists and lists of specialty drinks. What do they mean? What do they contain? Their French or Italian names usually add to the confusion. Here is a menu of those seemingly endless variations on espresso specialty drinks:
Single: single shot of espresso usually served in a demitasse.
Double: double shot of espresso usually served in a demitasse.
Quad-shot: four shots of espresso in a small mug, bigger than a demitasse.
Affogato: Espresso served over gelato. Traditionally served over vanilla gelato.
Allongé: similar to an Americano, except that hot water is not added to already made espresso, instead, more water is put through the ground beans as the shot is made. This results in a more complex and stronger drink.
Americano: espresso + hot water – equal parts.
Breve: espresso + half and half – equal parts.
Mocha Breve: espresso, chocolate, and half and half – equal parts.
Café Bonbon: a shot of espresso served in a small glass filled with condensed milk. The shot and the milk remain separate unless stirred, as in a black and tan.
Café au Lait: long espresso + hot milk – equal parts
Café Latte: espresso + hot milk – equal parts. Milk is poured over the espresso and preserving the order of the espresso going into the cup first is very important.
Café Mocha: café latte + chocolate – equal parts.
Café Noisette or Cortado: espresso cut with warm milk. (Some U.S. shops also add hazelnut flavoring.)
Café Tobio: two shots of espresso with an equal amount of American Coffee.
Cappuccino: espresso + hot milk + milk foam – equal parts.(topped with cocoa powder or non-traditional cinnamon).
Chai Latte – chai tea + hot milk (no espresso involved)! Chai in the U.S., is traditionally a blend of black tea, honey, vanilla, and spices usually to be served with milk (hot or cold). The word chai means tea in Hindi.
Con Panna: espresso + whipped cream – equal parts.
Corretto: coffee with a shot of liquor, usually grappa or brandy.
Cubano: Sugar is added to the espresso grounds during brewing for a sweet taste. Sugar may also be whipped into a small amount of espresso after brewing and then mixed with the rest of the shot.
Flat White: (Australia and New Zealand) One-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk.
John Wayne: two portions any flavor syrup, (usually caramel or vanilla), two portions half & half, and two shots of espresso. The ingredients are added slowly, poured gently over a spoon, in the listed order. The result is a layered drink with three distinct flavors and three different temperatures. It is usually drunk all at once. Also known as an Undertow or a Teardrop.
Kennedy: a cup of coffee with three shots of espresso in it.
Lungo: more water (about double) is let through the ground coffee, yielding a weaker taste.
Macchiatto: espresso + milk foam – equal parts.
Latte Macchiato: Essentially an inverted cafè latte, with the espresso poured on top of the milk.
Caramel Latte Macchiato: The milk is vanilla flavored and caramel is drizzled over the top of the foam. This is the form of macchiato popularized by the U.S. specialty and boutique coffee shops.
Mochaccino: cappuccino + chocolate syrup – equal parts.
Nervosa: espresso + your choice of filtered, brewed coffee – equal parts.
Night Rider: 1 ounce cocoa mix and 1 shot of espresso in a cup of American coffee.
Red Eye or a Black Eye: a cup of drip coffee with two shots of espresso in it. Also known as a slingblade, a depth charge, a shot in the dark, an autobahn, or a hammerhead.
Café Serre or Ristretto: espresso shot made with less water, yielding a stronger taste.
Viennois: espresso + hot milk + whipped cream – equal parts with coffee
Scented Coffee
Doses for 4 people: 4 cups of coffee, 1 little spoon of sugar, some mint leaves, cloves.
Prepare some concentrated coffee, sugar it and, once cold, pour it in a carafe with some ice cubes. Add the mint leaves and some cloves.
Chocolate Coffee
Doses for 4 people: 1 scarce dose of ground coffee, 1 spoon of bitter chocolate powder.
Use the classic procedure of the coffee preparation with Mocha., replacing part of the coffee powder with the chocolate powder. Press the powder and proceed with the usual coffee preparation.
Mint Coffee
Doses for 4 people: 4 cups of cold coffee, 2 spoons of mint syrup, 2 little glasses of Cointreau.
Pour coffee in a shaker, with some cubes of ice, the mint syrup and the liquor glasses. Shake and serve in glasses decorating with mint leaves.
Coffee & Coke
Doses for 4 people: 4 little cups of cold espresso coffee, 4 glasses of rum, 1/2 litre of coke, 1 lemon.
Pour the ingredients into a carafe and the lemon juice. Mix carefully. Add some ice cubes and serve in glasses.
Spicy coffee
Doses for 4 people: 3 cups of short espresso coffee, 4 spoons of cognac, 2 spoons of cointreau, 2 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, 4 pieces of orange rind, 4 pieces of lemon rind.
Put in a pot the cognac, cointreau, cloves, the cinnamon stick, and the rinds of lemon and orange. Heat with slow fire and, before boiling, flame. Filter the liquid and add coffee stirring carefully.
Imperial coffee
Doses for 4 people: 1 cup of strong espresso coffee, 4 egg yolks, 4 spoons of sugar, 1 cup of milk, 3 little glasses of brandy.
Beat up the yolks with sugar and brandy, add hot milk and coffee. Serve hot in some punch glasses.
Orange coffee
Doses for 4 people: 2 cups of hot espresso coffee, 1 spoon of minced orange rind, 4 little glasses of cognac, whipped cream.
Mix coffee with sugar, minced orange rind and cognac. Pour into cups, garnish with some whipped cream and an orange rind.
Coffee tropical drink
Doses for 4 people: 250 gr. of mango sorbet, 4 spoons of cointreau, 100 ml of cold coffee, 100 ml of pineapple juice.
Put all the ingredients in a mixer and pour the liquid in four refrigerated glasses. Serve with two short straws in each glass.
Coffee egg-flip liquor
Beat up 4 yolks adding 300 gr. of sugar. In the meantime boil 3 glasses of milk and 3 cups of very short espresso coffee with additional 300 gr. of sugar, that must be carefully mixed with the eggs. When the compound is cold, add and mix 150 gr. of marsala and a pinch of vanilla. The obtained liquor must be poured and preserved in a hermetically sealed bottle. As for other liquors containing egg-flip, the bottle must be shaken before consuming.
Rum coffee
In a shaker pour 1 glass of coffee, add 2 little glasses of rum, 50 gr. of sugar, vanilla, a lemon rind and some minced ice. Close the shaker, shake and serve.
Coffee grog
In a heated cup pour 1 small glass of cognac, 1 cup of hot espresso coffee, 3 or 4 sugar lumps and 1 lemon rind. Flame and drink.
White mountain (digestive cocktail)
Ingredients: 1/4 of cold espresso coffee, 1/4 of Finland vodka, 1/4 of white genepy, 1/4 of Grand Marnier.
Put the ingredients in a shaker with some ice and serve in a cold cocktail glass.
Maracaibo (long drink)
Ingredients: 1/4 of Anisette, 1/2 Get Freres green peppermint, 1/4 cold espresso coffee.
Prepare it directly in the tumbler glass with some ice cubes, completing with mineral water and garnishing with a lemon slice.
Sweet coffee
Pour in a mixer 4 yolks beaten with sugar. Add coffee, the vanilla, the cognac and the ice. Mix for one minute progressively increasing the speed.
Coffee liquor
Pour in a glass vase 250 gr. of alcohol for liquors, 250 gr. of water, 100 gr. of ground coffee. Close hermetically the vase and let rest for 8 days and filter it. Add to the obtained liquid a syrup composed by 300 gr. of sugar, 250 gr. of water and a vanilla stick. After 25 days the liquor can be consumed. Some people like it warm or with the addition of anise.
A simpler and faster procedure is to melt in 6 or more cups of coffee (depending on the quantity to obtain), the same volume of sugar and add (cold) the same volume of alcohol for liquors. Preserve in a bottle.


Espresso is a rich, hot beverage with depth and many, varied applications. Many recipes for brownies, cakes, souffles, cookies and even molés, call for espresso. In its liquid and ground forms, espresso is commonly added to deepen and highlight chocolate’s flavor. This demonstrates espresso’s suitability as a pairing partner for many dessert dishes.

Golden Rule

The following is sourced from an American Publication, however it is very important that the following is taken into account. First off a normal Espresso in Europe is never more then a half full espresso cup, a ristoretto is half of that again. Bearing this in mind you need to adjust your total extraction time from starting the pump to between 10-15 sec in total. If you ran the extraction process up to 25 sec then either you will have a very weak and watery espresso or you will need to choke the brewing process to the point where its only dripping from the brew unit and end up with something bitter and un-drinkable.

DOUBLE SHOT: Equals 2 to 2.5 fluid ounces of water pulled through approximately 14 grams of ground coffee in about 20 to 25 seconds.

SINGLE SHOT: Equals 1 to 1.5 fluid ounces of water pulled through approximately 7 grams of ground coffee in about 20 to 25 seconds.

Start timing your “extraction” (the shot you are making) when you hit the brew button, and always tamp (pack the coffee into the portafilter basket) with about 30lbs. of pressure.


1. Think of it as a scientific experiment! Don’t vary more than one variable at a time. If you are going to change your grind setting keep the tamp pressure and coffee amounts consistent. Then you will know that it is the grind that is effecting the change in extraction time.


2. Coffee Amounts: Generally fill the porta filter basket, so that it is loosely full, slightly under the basket rim.


3. Tamp Pressure: If you are not sure what 30lbs. of pressure feels like, get out the bathroom scale. Place a paper towel over the scale, unless your feet are really clean, (yuck!), and place the porta filter handle with basket in it on the scale and press down with your tamper until the scale reads 30lbs.

4. It’s all about what you want! Everyone’s taste is a bit different. These are just guidelines. Every coffee is a bit different, so the required grind and pull will vary slightly.

With your own grinder:

1. If you get 2 to 2.5 ounces in 10 or 15 sec’s, your shot is fast. Try making your grind setting finer. Remember this is an experiment! Only change your grind setting, keep the coffee amount and tamp consistent.

2. If you get 2 to 2.5 ounces in 35 sec’s, your shot is slow. Try a coarser grind. Remember consistent coffee amount and tamp.

Without your own grinder:

If you do not have your own grinder, then obviously you can’t vary your grind setting. So, the next best thing is to vary tamp pressure. If the shot is too quick, tamp harder. If the shot is too slow, tamp lighter.

For an in depth look into the art and ritual of making espresso, see our article The Ritual of Making Espresso.

12 Steps to Latte Art

Considered by coffee enthusiasts around the world as the crowning touch, latte art is steadily emerging as the ultimate ending to a perfectly prepared espresso drink. For many years, barista competitions were limited to simply skills and techniques, but as we learned from professional baristas Chris Deferio and Heather Perry, latte art tournaments like the Millrock Latte Art Competition are becoming extremely competitive.

“Millrock itself is getting to be more and more prestigious,” Deferio said regarding the well-known competition. “It’s gaining in notoriety and is becoming a norm in the lexicon of the coffee professional.”

This year’s Millrock Latte Art Competition once again tested the best baristas in the United States not only on the visual aspects of their drinks, but also on the taste and aroma. A café latte finished with a free pour, as it is called in the world of latte art, is visually stunning and captures something incredibly special, according to the publicists of the competition.

“Latte art is like the professional ethos of a barista,” Deferio said. “Like a handshake after the deal is made.” Deferio explained that latte art is really like a guarantee made by the barista that the drink is great – in every way.

Tools of the Trade

To start working on this finishing touch, you’ll need the following items:
Espresso Machine
Whole Milk
20oz Frothing Pitcher
Frothing Thermometer
A large latte mug, like the Whole Latte Love™ latte mug

Twelve Steps to Steaming and Pouring like a Professional Barista
To achieve the velvety textured milk that David Schomer discusses in his instructional video Caffé Latte Art, start with fresh, cold milk. Experts suggest using whole milk or milk with a higher fat content to create a denser micro-foam. The combination of cold milk and a cold steaming pitcher enables you to heat the milk for a longer period of time – lengthening your opportunity to create the perfect steamed milk for beautiful latte art.

Begin by pouring a bit less cold milk into the steaming pitcher than will fill your latte cup. Keep in mind that the finished product will increase in volume by 15 to 20%.

Begin steaming the milk with the wand at the bottom of the pitcher.

Once the milk has reached 100º F, begin to raise the wand toward the surface.

Continue steaming, keeping the tip of the steam wand just below the surface of the milk. Note: never break the surface once the initial steaming has begun.

While steaming, angle your pitcher and position it to spin the milk clockwise. Continue steaming steadily until the milk reaches 150-160ºF.

Turn off the steam wand, but do not remove it from the milk until the air has stopped flowing. This will prevent any unwanted large air bubbles from appearing.

Hopefully you have created a dense micro-foam with no bubbles, but if they have formed, swirl the milk vigorously or knock the pitcher on the counter several times in an attempt to eliminate them.

Now brew a fresh crema-topped shot of espresso directly into a pre-heated cup.

Steadily, begin pouring the steamed milk into your espresso cup – maintain a consistent speed and remember to pour gently. This pouring technique is commonly referred to as a free pour.

To create the famed Rosetta or fern-like pattern, angle the cup toward you while pouring the milk toward the bottom of the cup. Once the cup is 1/2 to 2/3 filled, begin swaying the pitcher back and forth using your wrist. A fern-like pattern of foam will appear on top of your crema.

Once the milk nears the top of the cup, draw the milk straight back through the center of the fern pattern to create a stem.

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn the techniques from a professional, it’s time to practice, practice, practice! Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day. With a steady regimen of latte art practice, you’ll be pouring beautiful masterpieces into every latte you make in no time.

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