If I had to pick the best city in the world for coffee, I would do it without batting an eyelid. Bengaluru is not only India’s unofficial coffee capital, but my favorite coffee city in the whole world. A few days ago I was at Maverick & Farmer in Ulsoor, where I heard Bengalurus coffee lovers quarreling over their favorite type of coffee. A discussion sparked by Maverick & Farmer’s failsafe Vietnamese-style coffee.
Not all guests at Maverick & Farmer or in the city’s cafes know their coffee. We all know those awkward moments when we’re at a hipster cafe and our coffee-snob friends are arguing about whether a flat white or a café latte is the better version of coffee. On World Coffee Day, we’re rounding up some of the coffees you’re likely to encounter in a coffee shop in your city. From Down Under flat whites to Italian style macchiatos, we’ve got you covered!
Also Read: The 13 Best Coffee-Based Recipes | Easy coffee recipes
Here is a quick guide to all the coffees we find in coffee shops near us:
This concentrated version of coffee may not be for everyone, but it is the foundation of most coffee beverages. It’s also the ultimate coffee for coffee lovers obsessed with the crema, or froth, that rests on top of a shot of espresso. An espresso is brewed by forcing a small amount of boiling water through ground coffee beans under pressure. The pressure brewing process ensures that espressos are strong and concentrated. The crema gives the espresso its full aroma and also shows the skill of the barista.
2. Cafe Americano
An espresso diluted with hot water; The strength, which is similar to American black coffee, varies based on individual preference, but the taste differs from the typical American black coffee.
This is a coffee familiar to Native Americans who frequent cafes. At the base is an espresso, which is poured over with frothed milk and then finished with milk froth. It’s usually 1/3 espresso, 1/3 frothed milk, and 1/3 froth. It’s common for baristas to leave their stamp or art on the foam, or top it off with cinnamon or chocolate shavings. You can find the recipe here.
4. Latte coffee
This frothy coffee is made with a single shot of espresso and frothed milk. It is probably the most popular coffee in cafes and chains after the cappuccino and differs from a flat white in its strength and texture. In Italy, the typical ratio is 1 part espresso with 2 parts heated milk and some foam.
5. Flat White
The Aussies and Kiwis have a lot to argue about, including the origins of this coffee. Simply put, it’s smaller than a latte, it’s one-third espresso (double shot), two-thirds milk. The milk is steamed, not frothed, to leave a smooth and velvety crema on top. It’s those velvety textures and the strength of the coffee that made me a flat white for life. You can find the full recipe here.
Just like a latte, the Flat White is a creamy, espresso-based drink, but contains a double shot of espresso and less milk than a latte. The Flat White has less foam and more milk than a cappuccino.
6. Cafe Lungo
You’re unlikely to find this version in too many cafes in India. Lungo is Italian for long and describes a short black espresso (single shot) with more water. A normal shot of espresso usually takes around 20 to 30 seconds to brew a 25 to 60ml serving. A lungo lasts up to a minute for a 130-170ml serving. It is stronger than a café americano.
It’s almost like an antithesis to the lungo. Ristretto refers to restricted in Italian. This is a brief shot of a highly concentrated espresso using the same amount of ground coffee but extracted with a finer grind and half the amount of water. It’s a more concentrated shot with a sweeter, richer flavor.
Macchiato means pickled or mottled in Italian. This strong coffee is essentially an espresso with a “spot” of frothed milk. The perfect nightcap (if you can sleep after a strong shot of coffee) after a long dinner and dessert.
9. Cold Brew
It’s probably the coffee equivalent of a stout beer. The nitro brews found in cafes have the same foam on top and textures as a stout. You can make this at home by adding 8 parts water to coarsely ground coffee and refrigerating the sealed jar/container for about 24 hours. Strain the coffee into a large bowl and repeat a few times to remove the coffee residue. Pour over ice and serve. You can also add condensed milk or milk.
A constant in many coffee chains, the frappe was first invented in Greece in the 1950s. The original recipe combined a popular brand of instant coffee with water and ice in a shaker. Now frappes are the modern coffee bar’s equivalent of a slush drink with a variety of flavors and additives. You can find the recipe here.
11. Drip style coffee
Both classic South Indian coffee and Vietnamese coffee are examples of filter coffee, where the coffee is filtered through a coffee filter or coffee maker. While South Indian filter coffee combines this brew with thick milk and sugar, the Vietnamese version is paired with condensed milk and can be served hot or cold with ice cubes.
12. French press coffee
A superb example of Italian design (it’s called Caffettiera a Stanuffo) in Italian and is great for coarse ground coffee. The brewing time is usually four minutes. It has become a favorite in Bengaluru among connoisseurs who enjoy medium-bodied coffees.
14. Pour Over/Chemex
This patented hourglass design (along with its unique brand of paper) brings out the citrus/acid notes, making the coffee easily flavorful, smooth and brewed in larger portions.
I encountered this drink in cafes in Italy during the warmer months. Shakerato means “shaken up”. It’s probably the coffee James Bond would order. Espresso is shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker and then poured into a martinis glass or taller. It’s not uncommon to add liquors (I would suggest Baileys or Kahlua) for an interesting twist.