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17 Best Espresso Drinks

Save money and time by making your favorite espresso drinks at home!

From lattes to mochas, there’s a long list of espresso drinks you can whip up without ever needing to swing by the coffee shop. 

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Coffee Affogato with Ice Cream and Espresso

But to be a true coffee aficionado, you’ll need to know the basics first. From there, your specialty coffee drink options are endless. 

Don’t worry, you don’t need barista skills to make these drinks. For some, you won’t even need an espresso machine! 

All you need are some dark roast coffee beans and a way to heat milk.

From strong espresso to indulgent treats, here are the top espresso drinks every coffee lover should know how to make.

1. Flat White

A flat white is a delightful coffee drink featuring espresso and steamed milk. This may sound a lot like a latte, but the two are not the same.

A flat white has a thin layer of microfoam and is served in a smaller glass. Since the ratio of milk to espresso is less, the flavor is bolder.

If you like your Starbucks style, this drink is for you.

It has the ideal ratios of milk, espresso, and sugar, making it taste just like what you’ll get from the coffee chain.

2. Latte

Ask any barista, and they’ll agree that lattes are undeniably one of the most popular orders at a coffee shop.

They’ll also tell you that you can make your own version at home instead. 

So skip the long lines and save some money with this tasty latte recipe. You’ll brew either a strong coffee or espresso and top it with frothy milk. 

If you don’t have access to an espresso machine, fear not, because there are so many ways to froth milk at home. 

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This recipe takes the simplest route by microwaving milk and whisking it until foamy. 

3. Red Eye Coffee

The red eye is one of the most appropriately named espresso drinks. It’s a stiff concoction of brewed coffee and an espresso shot.

Depending upon your caffeine needs, you can add another shot. But be forewarned, this stuff is strong. 

While the frequent buyers of this drink don’t need sugar or cream, I recommend adding a bit if you’re new to this drink.

4. Americano

An Americano is a less intense version of the red eye. You’ll take hot water and pour in a shot of espresso.

It’s pretty straightforward, but I like that this recipe offers some nifty barista tips to the inexperienced drinker.

One of which involves pouring water into the shot to save the crema. 

5. Iced Cappuccino

I know what you’re thinking, how in the world can you ice a cappuccino? After all, this drink is all about the foam. 

But it seriously works and this recipe is proof. It’s foamy, creamy, and perfectly sweetened with a touch of sugar. 

Dissolving sugar in an iced drink can be tricky, but when you mix it with hot espresso, it’s no problem at all.

6. Caramel Macchiato

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t get enough caramel macchiatos and I feel the same about this recipe. 

The balance of sweet caramel sauce and whole milk makes this an indulgent treat. 

Top it off with whipped cream, along with a final drizzle of caramel sauce, and you’ve got a creamy dessert in a mug.

Caramel macchiatos are a great drink for those who like espresso but prefer their drinks sweet rather than strong.

However, if you do like strong coffee, you could add in another shot or two. 

7. Iced Espresso

Iced espresso is a stellar pick me up when you’re dragging in the afternoon.

It’s an excellent low-calorie alternative to other espresso drinks that are heavy on sugar and dairy.

Although, if you want, you can add cream and sugar. Similar to iced coffee, you can make iced espresso any way you like. 

Oh, and word to the wise. If you don’t want to water down your drink too much, chill the espresso before pouring it over ice. 

You could also get crafty and freeze some espresso beforehand, so when it melts, this drink is all coffee. 

8. Cappuccino

A rich, foamy cappuccino is one of those simple pleasures in life.

What’s not fun is waiting in a long line at a noisy, bustling coffee shop first thing in the morning. 

That’s why I love this recipe. You can have the perfect foamy cappuccino without ever stepping foot in line. 

Speaking from experience, no barista gets their foam perfect on the first try. So this recipe will take a bit of practice. 

However, learning how to make a cappuccino is rewarding both in the creation and consumption. 

9. Iced Vanilla Latte

Next to a regular latte, iced vanilla lattes are an extremely popular drink. One sip of this recipe, and you’ll easily understand why. 

This is the ideal balance of creamy, bitter, and sweet. All you need is some quality brewed espresso, whole milk, and yummy vanilla syrup.

One of the great things about this drink is you can also use dairy-free milk and make it a vegan drink.

You can also craft a dazzling presentation by adding your shot affogato style, which means you’ll pour it last.

10. Cortado

Like many of the best espresso drinks, a cortado features espresso and milk. However, this one is a bit different from a latte or a flat white.

Spanish for “to cut,”cortado involves cutting through the acidity of espresso by adding equal parts milk. 

I think this drink has the ideal balance. Not too bitter, not creamy, the cortado is just right.

11. Mocha

This copycat Starbucks mocha has me head over heels in love. The blend of espresso and chocolate is the ultimate treat. 

You’ll want to use thick chocolate syrup instead of the less viscous coffee flavored-syrups. Although good, those syrups don’t have the same rich taste.

One of the best things about this recipe is you don’t have to worry about crafting the perfect foam as you do with cappuccinos.

Simply heat your milk, and you’re good to go.

12. Dirty Chai Latte

If you feel the doldrums setting in, add a little spice to your life with this dirty chai latte. 

Between the bold espresso and spiced chai tea, this drink is anything but boring.

It uses fresh tea rather than a mix, so you’ll want to add some milk and honey to make it creamy and sweet.

I like to top mine off with a dollop of foam to make it a touch more indulgent.

13. Ristretto

Need a morning jolt to wake you up? If you said yes, the ristretto is calling your name. Make this recipe in the morning and you’ll perk right up. 

Unlike a standard espresso shot, a ristretto is a short shot. That means you brew it in half the amount of time.

The result is a more intense espresso shot that’s also a tad sweeter. 

Keep in mind, this espresso requires an espresso machine that either has a built-in ristretto function or lets you adjust brew time.

14. Lungo

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the lungo.

This espresso shot requires increasing the brew time, which pumps more water through your espresso grounds. 

The result is a more bitter, less intense espresso shot. Like the ristretto, the lungo should be enjoyed straight up.

Morning, afternoon, or after dinner, lungo is a fine sipper when you have a little extra time to appreciate the nuances of this cup.

Pair this with biscotti, and you’ll see what I mean.

15. Espresso con Panna

Espresso con panna gives you that extra little something special with your espresso shot. 

Italian for “espresso with cream,” espresso con panna has all the ingredients right there in the name. 

You’ll take a fresh shot of espresso and top it off with a dollop of whipped cream.

My favorite part about this drink is when some of the whipped cream melts and infuses the espresso. 

It’s decadent yet classy, unlike some of the sugar bombs you can get from the coffee shop. But who am I kidding, I like those, too.

16. Galao

I could go for a galao and pastry any time of day. Galao is a Portuguese-style coffee that’s like a latte with different milk to espresso ratios. 

You can add a bit of sugar to make it sweeter, but I’d leave the flavored coffee syrups to the lattes. 

Espresso machine or not, you can have this drink ready in about 10 minutes. 

17. Affogato

Affogato is one of the most divine coffee creations that exists.

This Italian delicacy involves a scoop of vanilla gelato and pouring espresso over the top. 

You can also choose a strong brew of a dark roast if you don’t have an espresso machine. 

While toppings aren’t standard, a sprinkle of crushed biscotti adds a nice texture and keeps in line with the Italian theme. 

This is more of a dessert than an espresso drink, but it has a shot of espresso, so I think it counts. 

17 Best Espresso Drinks

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Espresso Drinks

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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