Test Your Coffee Knowledge - How to Make and Enjoy the Top Coffee Drinks

Cup of Joe - American Coffee

Black coffee is good for a morning shock or afternoon jolt.  It may also represent a rite of passage from childhood to the sometimes bitter realities of adult responsibility.
Black coffee is good for a morning shock or afternoon jolt. It may also represent a rite of passage from childhood to the sometimes bitter realities of adult responsibility. | Source

When in Rome...

Did you know that it is a big no-no to drink a cup of coffee with milk after lunch? Italians cringe when they hear foreigners ask for cappuccino, or any coffee drinks made with milk like macciatto. After lunch, only a short black cup of espresso is considered acceptable. Nothing else makes sense to them on a full stomach of food.

Espresso - Some Like It Strong

The best way to make espresso is to use an espresso machine or an Italian coffee maker.
The best way to make espresso is to use an espresso machine or an Italian coffee maker. | Source

Morning Coffee

The morning coffee ritual is an international one, thanks to the widespread acceptance of the coffee bean as a light, but effective drug. Caffeine enables students, workers, housewives and executives the pick up and go they need to get started in the morning, usually after not enough sleep or a stressful work week. Coffee quickens the pulse, getting the body in a mode to face a new day. If one cup is not enough, by all means, have another!

European Coffee Drinking Culture

A big coffee drinking culture evolved from the economic reality that a meal out was simply out of reach. Instead of "let's do lunch" it became "let's go have coffee". Coffee is not something to gulp down in traffic, hurried and distracted. NOOOE. Instead, coffee is savored. It requires sitting in a lovely spot, preferably with a friend or colleague, savored slowly and partaken with tiny, tantalizing sips. The sugar, if added, is stirred slowly and thoroughly in the coffee drink. It is a matter of taste whether you prefer "warmed milk" or "cold milk". Many coffee lovers prefer cold milk in the summer, not just because of the temperature, but to avoid the likelihood of getting food poisoning, depending upon the practices of the coffee establishment.

Other Preferences

White sugar? Brown sugar? One or two? These are important matters of consideration. Some coffee drinkers take great pride in having their own special combination.

A Few Places Known for Good Coffee

  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Paris, France
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Trieste, Italy

Cafe Latte

A cafe au lait consists of half brewed coffee, and half warmed milk.  It looks like a cappuccino, but it's not!
A cafe au lait consists of half brewed coffee, and half warmed milk. It looks like a cappuccino, but it's not! | Source

Middle Eastern Specialty

When you think about the sweet middle eastern pastries like baklava, drinks like Turkish coffee really pair up well with them. Dark as hell and sweet as love, Turkish coffee is brewed up in a tiny, metal pot on the stove. It doesn't require a filter. Also known as "cowboy coffee" it is brewed up quickly and simply and will wake you up in a jiffy.

How to Make Turkish Coffee!

My Impressions of American Coffee Culture

Americans love newfangled, Europeans love tried and true.

Mocha coffee is a chocolate hint in the strong brewed coffee combined with milk and preferrably, milk foam. Containing more calories than a normal cup of coffee, it can serve as an afternoon boredom breaker at the office when blood sugar level is low. One of the easiest ways to make this is mix half a package of instant cocoa into a fresh brewed cup of coffee, add cold milk and stir so that no lumps are formed from the cocoa.

Americans love good old fashioned watered down coffee, which I honestly don't care for - but that's OK - coffee keeps the working world alive and well. The coffee drinking scene on Twin Peaks is a classic "Damned Good Coffee"!

White Coffee with Mocha

This is kind of an American invention - coffee with hot cocoa and frothy milk foam.  "It's good!"
This is kind of an American invention - coffee with hot cocoa and frothy milk foam. "It's good!" | Source

Popular Coffee Toppings

What to sprinkle on top of the foamed milk? Here are some favorites:

  • cinnamon
  • shaved chocolate
  • powdered vanilla
  • nutmeg (sparingly)

Coffee Talk

Most Americans use a coffee maker like Mr. Coffee. It uses cold water, and with the help of electricity, boils the water and brews it through a coffee filter which sits in the upper compartment. The result is a great brew, but you will need more than one cup. Americans tend to gulp their coffee, dumping what they don't drink or watering their plants with it. Resembling brown water, it is less effective than Turkish coffee or espresso which is much more concentrated.

Macciato, the stained, or marked, espresso

A typical serving of macchiato should have only a dab of milk, like a teaspoonful.  This fancier presentation amounts to about a tablespoon, spooned over espresso, not filtered coffee.
A typical serving of macchiato should have only a dab of milk, like a teaspoonful. This fancier presentation amounts to about a tablespoon, spooned over espresso, not filtered coffee. | Source

Calories Count

Calorie Tip: For those who drink a lot of milky coffee drinks, consider using Non Fat or Low Fat milk. Coffee drinks with high milk fat can add up. A sneaky source of calories, most coffee houses automatically serve whole milk unless you tell them otherwise.

Easier on the Stomach

The short black and Turkish coffee versions are great after a long night or for those who have a pretty strong, ironed clad stomach. Depending on how sensitive the person, a little bit of bread, biscotti or similar can be eaten before the first black coffee - especially when taken first thing in the morning. There are those who have a short black with a cigarette at 6 am, which is too much a shock for me, at least.

Clouds in My Coffee

If you need a little cushion first thing in the morning, there are levels of milk cushioning. The macchiato contains the least amount of milk - just a dab to mark the espresso. It's great for the afternoon wake up call, too.

The cafe au lait is half warmed milk and half brewed coffee, which is still kind of a lightweight coffee drink. It's a good choice for an exec that has to meet with clients all day with the obligatory cup of coffee. You won't get wired on this baby, and because it's larger, it can be leisurely enjoyed and savored.

Even more milk? Well the cappuccino uses 2/3 milk BUT the drink is made with dark and strong espresso beans. So technically, it's about a tie with the Cafe Au Lait.

The Cappuccino especially lends itself to an optional spice or chocolate topping, adding to the flavor combinations.

Popular Coffee Drinks

Drink Name
Recipe
Comments
Short black espresso
Brew ground espresso in an Italian coffee machine and serve, with or without sugar
Good anytime of day. It may cause sleeplessness, however and may be limited to daytime
Coffee with milk - steamed
Brew ground coffee in a similar machine. In a separate pot using a long nozzle, bob the pot up and down to create foam and serve.
Acceptable to drink any time of day, only not immediately after a meal. (Milk after meals is not reccommended.)
Coffee with milk - cold
Same as the above, simply add cold milk from the carton and gently stir.
This is a good choice in the summer when it is hot, and milk may go bad when reheated more than once in a commercial coffee shop.
White Coffee / Cafe Au lait
Consisting of Brewed coffee with heated milk, at a 50-50% ratio.
Commercial whiteners may be substituted.
Macchiato (mak-kee-ah-to)
Consisting of a shot of brewed espresso, it's "marked" with a teasponful of milk foam.
Macchiato means "marked" in Italian.
Cappuccino
Prepared in three layers, first is brewed espresso, then latte (warm milk) and finally, milk foam.
The top of the foam can be dusted with cinnamon, chocolate powder, etc.
Turkish Coffee
Brewed in a pot with boiling hot water and plenty of sugar. Once the coffee grounds fall to the bottom, the contents are carefully poured into tiny cups.
The bubbly coffee foam (the "best part") is individually spooned out to each guest.

Three Toned Cappuccino

Prepared in three layers, the bottom is of brewed espresso, second layer is of warm milk (latte) and the top third is made from frothy, foaming milk.
Prepared in three layers, the bottom is of brewed espresso, second layer is of warm milk (latte) and the top third is made from frothy, foaming milk. | Source

Allergic to Milk?

Soy Milk

Many lactose sensitive or intolerant coffee lovers have turned to the surprisingly tasty substitute of soy milk. Some soy milks are even flavored - vanilla, chocolate and low fat varieties, so have a ball. In Europe they cost a small fortune but in the US the prices are much more price competitive. Best of all, it foams up like a dream!.

(Health Note: It is said that Soy Milk is great for women going through the change of life, menopause.)

Rice Milk

The South American and Mexican cultures are long familiar with rice milk. I have never used it but it could probably be a delicious milk substitute to dilute your cup of Joe with.

Other Milk Substitutes

My mother used to use Mocha Mix - that is the only other one that comes to mind (except for dry powders like Coffee Mate).

Foaming the Milk

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Comments 11 comments

charmike4 profile image

charmike4 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

I'm a big fan of Latte in the afternoon eurocafeaulait. Recently I bought an Nespresso machine and this has become our Sunday morning tradition - serveral cups of long black to start the day while reading a book or the newspaper along with a Full English breakfast. The pod system is so easy and the coffee is perfect everytime. Cheers Michael


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Yay! Glad to hear you have a system that works for you. Will have to check out the pod system, it sounds intriguing, care to enlighten us? My husband and I have Cafe AuLait in the morning then something stronger in the pm, when I tend to get sleepy. Regards to your family Down Under, Cheers, Eurocafeaulait


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

I brew my coffee with chicory (New Orleans style) one cup at a time using a cone pour-over device and water heated in the microwave. I add pure stevia to sweeten just a bit, but forego milk of any type. I've been drinking my chicory-flavored coffee for so many decades that "regular" coffee tastes like dirty water to me.

Occasionally, I'll enjoy a cup of flavored coffee (French vanilla is my favorite), but I still mix it with my coffee and chicory blend. Gotta have that chicory!


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Hi Jaye, that chicory sounds pretty intriguing. Is it somewhat bitter, right? Thanks for sharing and commenting, it's appreciated.


Anne Harrison profile image

Anne Harrison 4 years ago from Australia

Hi EuroCafeAuLait, I agree wth you about American offee being weak and usually oversized! A strong small lattee of a moning, a macchiato of an afternoon (excet when in Paris, when a cafe au lait for breakfast is de rigeuer...) A great hub, thankyou


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Thanks Anne for your nice comment! Have a great day, and thanks for the follow!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Loved this coffee hub. We drink lots of coffee. And though I appreciate all the different ways to drink coffee we just like plain, black strong coffee. Voting up and sharing this fun hub and so informative.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

I love coffee any time of the day, but unfortunately can't drink it at night - keeps me up. In spite of what the Italians say, I drink cappuccino in the afternoon. Great hub - voted up and interesting.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Thanks Carol7777 for the share!! I'm glad you found it informative.

M Perrottet, I agree with you. Actually as long as it's not "right after lunch" you are still in tune with the Italian's code of coffee drinking. I know what you mean about loving it all the time. Are you also a fan of kona coffee ice cream (like me) for a late in the day treat? Best to you both, EuroCafeAuLait


Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 4 years ago

I enjoy my coffee! In the afternoon, I like to take a little time just to sit quietly and enjoy a short espresso. Lovely hub. Voted up and awesome:)


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I love coffee, so this article brings me great pleasure! I can barely wait to hurry up and run my errands so I can come back and make some more coffee!

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