Recipes For Gourmet Coffee Drinks

A Foolproof Guide to Perfect Espresso-Based and Specialty Coffee Drinks

Espresso [Solo Espresso]

Espresso is made by forcing boiling water through coffee grounds under high pressure. The classic espresso consists of one shot of espresso (about 1½ ounces), ideally served in a pre-heated, 3-ounce demitasse (French for “half cup).

For step-by-step instructions see Pulling the Perfect Espresso Shot.

Espresso Doppio [Double Espresso; Doppio Espresso]

Two shots of espresso (about 3 ounces).  Ideally this is served in a cappuccino cup.  Doppio is Italian for “double.”

Espresso con Panna

Espresso (single or double shot) topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso (single shot) served in a demitasse, and “macchiato” (marked with) about 1½ tablespoons (a dollop) of frothed milk (foam).

Espresso Romano

Espresso (single shot) topped with fresh peel (twist or slice) of lemon.

Many say this espresso presentation is an Italian invention, but Italians deny it, and some gourmet coffee aficionados say the lemon interferes with the delicate flavor balance of the espresso—you be the judge!

Caffé Americano

Espresso (single shot) with about 6 ounces of hot water added until the strength is similar to drip coffee. Unlike traditional espresso, a Caffé Americano is often consumed in the American style by adding milk and/or sugar.

Spicy Viennese Espresso

Espresso (double shot) mixed with 4 ground cloves, ½-teaspoon allspice, and ½-teaspoon cinnamon, then topped with whipped cream.


In a 5-ounce cappuccino cup place about twice as much frothed milk as espresso, then top the cappuccino with the foam from the frothed milk.  Purists prefer 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 frothed milk.

Optional garnishes include a sprinkle of ground chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, powdered cocoa, and vanilla powder.

A request for a “dry” cappuccino means add more foam than usual, while “wet” means add more milk, and “bone dry” means no milk (fill it with foam).

The foam of a cappuccino should be wet and velvety, mixing naturally with the pour, and not simply sitting atop the drink like a large, bubbled meringue.

For step-by-step instructions see the Foolproof Guide to Perfect Cappuccinos and Lattes.

Caffé Latte (Italian)

Espresso (double shot/3 ounces) and steamed milk (about 5 ounces), with very little or no foam added on top.  As you pour the steamed milk into the cup use a spoon to hold back the foam until the cup is about ¾-full.

Then top it off with a little foam. Ideally served in large (9-ounce) heavy, bowl-shaped cup or a clear cup, and often flavored with Italian syrup including nut flavors such as almond or hazelnut.

For step-by-step instructions see the Foolproof Guide to Perfect Cappuccinos and Lattes.

Caffé Au Lait (French)

Strongly brewed coffee served in a large bowl-shaped cup along with heated (not frothed) milk that is traditionally served in a separate pitcher.

Then mix to taste. The open-mouthed cup helps warm the hands outdoors, and is also good for dipping croissants or brioche.

Cafe Con Leche (Spanish)

Brew dark roast gourmet coffee, mix in sugar, and serve with heated milk. Warm buttered bread is also traditionally served.

Caffé Mocha

Espresso (single shot) is poured into a tall glass. Pour in chocolate syrup and mix together. Then add steamed milk and top with whipped cream. Chocolate flakes may be used as garnish.

Iced Cappuccino

Espresso (one shot) is poured over ice, and then 3 ounces of cold milk are added.  Since espresso loses its flavor quite rapidly, only freshly brewed espresso should be used (not previously prepared espresso).

Spoon the foamed milk atop the espresso to create a nice layer of foam.  Sweeten if desired.

Espresso Ristretto (Short Shot)

An Espresso Ristretto (ristretto means restricted) is made like a regular espresso except that only about ¾-ounce of water is dispensed through the espresso grounds, with an extraction time of about 18-20 seconds, and using a coffee grind size even finer than usual.

The slower extraction can also be accomplished by pressing or tamping the coffee down with extra pressure in the portafilter.

The Espresso Ristretto emphasizes the intense espresso flavor and is sweeter than a full shot, with about the same amount of caffeine. The restricted extraction is meant to extract only the best qualities of the coffee and none of the bitter elements.  In Europe this is the preferred shot.

Espresso Breve

Add heated half & half to a single Espresso Shot.


Espresso (single shot) with chocolate powder or syrup added to taste, along with 5 ounces of steamed milk, and then topped with foam.

Espresso Lungo (Long Shot)

Espresso (single shot) “pulled long”—about 1.5 ounces of water are dispensed through the espresso grounds using a longer (lungo) extraction time than usual, usually between 25-40 seconds.

Espresso Cubano

Espresso (two shots) “pulled short” (a shorter extraction time than usual), and brewed with raw sugar.

Traditional Granita

Espresso (two shots) with sugar added, then frozen and crushed.  The sugar prevents it from freezing solid (thus the granularity). Serve the Granita in a cup with a spoon.

Red Eye (Shot-In-the-Dark; Pile Driver)

Espresso (one shot) added to a cup of brewed coffee.  A Double Red Eye has two shots added.

Split Shot

Espresso (one shot)—half-decaffeinated and half-caffeinated.

CoffeeMan Dans says, “If you like these Coffee Drink Recipes you will love our Gourmet Coffee Food Recipes.”

Purchase the World’s Best Coffee Beans – Freshly Roasted and Shipped Right To Your Door!

Arabian and African CoffeesCoffees of the AmericasArabian and African Coffees

Indonesian CoffeesPeruvian CoffeeEthiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee

Leave a Comment