If you are a coffee addict, who needs a whiff of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning to wake you up, you ought to know your coffee well and the different styles of coffee all around the world. India has had a relationship with coffee for far longer than tea. Popularity of the latter was due to an extremely intelligent and widespread marketing strategy deployed by the colonialists. Coffee, on the other hand, has been in India since 1600 AD—it is said that a travelling religious man named Baba Budan brought seven seeds of coffee to a hill in south India. These seeds have flourished beyond the hill, we know it as Baba Budangiri in Karnataka, and have spread across the Deccan to the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and a few parts of Andhra Pradesh.
This begs the question how do you like your coffee? It was the Italians who mastered the art of making the perfect cup of coffee, ironically with scientific precision. They’re the ones who’ve decocted the Espresso and elevated it to a Café Mocha and Cappuccino. If you are still confused about the difference between a cappuccino and latte and how are they both different from a café mocha, look no further. We’re here to help you with your basics.
The foundation to any good coffee at a café is inevitably an Espresso. A shot of Espresso is nothing but highly-pressurised boiling water passed through soaked ground coffee beans to extract caffeine and essential oils. This liquid then passes through into a tiny mug. A 30ml shot of an Espresso is enough to kickstart the grey matter of the brain. If you’re in need of a bigger punch, go for Doppio, which is a double shot of Espresso.
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A shot of Espresso topped up with hot water in a bigger mug is known as an Americano. A good café or a coffee shop will top up your mug of Espresso shot in front of you to ensure they have done it according to your preferred strength. Italians named the coffee Americano after the American soldiers who would dilute the coffee to resemble the coffee they were used to.
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The go-to coffee drink for everyone, Cappuccino is easily the first introduction to Italian coffee styles for many of us. There are three components in a Cappuccino—Espresso shot, steamed milk and frothy milk—used in equal proportions. Steamed milk is always poured before the frothy milk, which basically tops the cup. For a dash of decadence, sprinkle chocolate powder on the froth.
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The second most popular coffee, Latte or Café Latte, also uses Espresso, steamed and frothy milk. For every shot of Espresso, steamed milk is topped till about 1 cm space is left from the brim. This much is filled with frothy milk. A skilled barista will use this micro foam milk to create intricate designs on your cup of latte—the skill is called latte art.
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This is an Australian invention and is as basic as it gets. An Espresso shot is simply topped with steamed milk with an almost negligible amount of froth.
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Also known as Mochaccino, Café Mocha introduces chocolate to a Latte. Depending on the barista, chocolate syrup or powder, is gently added to the Espresso and then topped with steamed milk. For added richness, top it with whipped cream!
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Served in an Espresso cup, Macchiato is a shot of Espresso layered with frothed milk. For those who find Espresso too strong, a Macchiato is an alternative.
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