I’ve been drinking coffee since I started high school, and it’s been the backbone of my working days ever since. I’m rarely caught without a coffee in-hand and own enough keep-cups and mugs to start my own Shopify store (they don’t even fit in the one cupboard anymore). I’ve tried nearly every coffee there is to taste, and had more than my fair share of ordering what I thought would be a light and sweet coffee but being shocked by a caffeine overdose. It took years of mastery and precision to get my order as close to perfection as possible, but there were many mistakes and misunderstandings along the way.
After trying a Starbucks caramel macchiato for the first time because it sounded like it’d be sweet and not at all strong, it’s safe to say I was bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day when that unexpected kick of caffeine found its way into my system.
Later, I tried chai lattes thinking they were the equivalent of a liquified and caffeinated cinnamon doughnut, but learned pretty quickly that a chai by itself actually has no coffee in it. It tasted pretty good, but I wasn’t getting any of the caffeine I’ve come to depend on. To save you the years of trial and error that I went through trying to find the perfect cup of coffee, enjoy a handcrafted, how-to guide to picking the best coffee for you.
The stronger the better – if you need a near-instant pick-me-up, or just enjoy the flavour of pure coffee, there’s plenty of perfect barista blends out there for you! Savour the taste of strong coffee beans with any of these bold beverages.
Espresso or Doppio
This is a staple in the misadventures of an aspiring caffeine-fiend. If you haven’t tried it, you have to! It’s practically part of the initiation rites into the coffee-craving community. The espresso (or sometimes referred to as a short black) is served in a tiny little cup and is a single shot of coffee ready to go. A doppio is the same thing, but has two shots for the adventurous and the brave. In plain English, a doppio is just a double espresso.
We promise this is the strongest coffee flavoured drink you’re going to find. It’s similar to an espresso shot because it’s still served in those adorable, baby-sized cups, but it’s a far more concentrated version of the standard espresso shot every coffee addict has tried at least once. It uses half the amount of water an espresso uses, but will still fill that itty-bitty cup. Basically, when mixing coffee grounds in hot water, halve the hot water and stir a little longer so you don’t get dreaded lumpy bits that just haven’t dissolved right.
Close in flavour to an espresso, the Americano is made in a tumbler of hot water with an espresso shot poured over the top. Watching this coffee be made is the perfect chance for a cheeky boomerang on your Instagram, as the espresso shot blending into the hot water just looks so calming. Otherwise known as a long black, this beverage is perfect for the coffee-lover who wants their espresso to last longer than a few sips.
Built from the base up with a shot of espresso and steamed milk to give it a smooth texture, this is probably the most common coffee order in existence. Served in a modern tumbler, it’s an extremely versatile drink, and you can alter its espresso flavour with nearly anything from vanilla, hazelnut to caramel. Depending on the latest season or holiday, your local café might offer seasonal flavours (such as gingerbread or peppermint flavours during Christmas), so you’ll never get bored of a barista-blended latte.
This coffee is the best of both worlds if you love strong coffee but appreciate a bit of milk to give it that smooth texture. This is served in a tumbler similar to that of the Americano and latte, and is the perfect medium between the two. It has a double shot of espresso with an overlay of enough frothed milk to get that perfect milk moustache. The volume of the milk froth is deceptive, making it appear to be a milky coffee, but once the espresso seeps into the foam, it reveals itself as still quite a strong coffee with just a dash of milk. Order with caution!
Pretty similar to its cousin, the latte, a cappuccino is made with an espresso shot and steamed milk, but features a dollop of frothy milk and a few shakes of chocolate powder to top it off. Served in a mug you can wrap your cold hands around, cappuccinos are the perfect cold-weather espresso drink with a little extra flavour to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. What’s not to love?
The love-child of a cappuccino and a standard hot chocolate, a mocha promises to meet your coffee needs as well as your chocolate cravings. Served in a mug to match its cappuccino parent, mochas consist of an espresso shot blended with a spoonful of chocolate powder, then. Mixed with steamed milk and coated with a layer of frothy milk, mochas are a staple in the diet of any chocolate-loving coffee addict. It definitely features in ours! For a little extra sweetness, ask your barista for a white-chocolate mocha instead of a regular one, and enjoy the creamy, liquified goodness of this beverage.
It took a little too long to work out the difference between a dirty chai and a regular chai. If you’re just looking for a warm drink on a cold winter’s day, a chai latte is perfect for you! If you’re looking for that cinnamon-y liquid warmth with a kick of caffeine, make sure you ask for a dirty chai, which throws a shot of espresso in the mix. Served in a tumbler for easy sipping, this coffee is basically the liquid equivalent of a fresh cinnamon doughnut, and we are so here for it. Why buy a coffee and a doughnut when you can just combine the two?
Less of a morning coffee and more of a mid-to-late afternoon pick-me-up, this is the closest to dessert you can get when enjoying a cuppa. Affogatos feature a scoop of ice cream with one or two espresso shots poured over it to let it melt a little. Served in a tumbler to catch all of the ice cream as it melts and blends with the espresso shots, an affogato is the perfect way to enjoy dessert and still be ready to finish any final chores of the day (or just to enjoy a sneaky scoop of ice cream).