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Friday, April 08, 2005

Coffee Drink Basics

When you enter a coffee house, you have a multitude of drink choices like latté, cappuccino, straight shot and caffé mocha just to name a few.

Sometimes knowing what to order can be overwhelming unless you know what you are getting. After all, who wants to pay an outrageous amount of money for a mystery drink that you may not even like?

So PerfectCoffees.Com has come to the rescue, and after you read this, you'll have a basic understanding of how the most popular coffee drinks are made and what they are made of.

Most coffee drinks start with espresso and espresso is just coffee that is brewed a certain way. It is finely ground to almost a powder then very hot water is forced through the grounds under intense pressure.

The brewing process is timed so that the flavorful and aromatic oils are extracted from the coffee and not the bitter components. This produces a strong flavored, but not bitter, concentrated shot of coffee.

Straight Shot

The straight shot refers to espresso coffee and the secret to good espresso is the extraction time, volume, and golden crema which is a thick light brown layer of frothed coffee oils that float on top of a properly extracted espresso.

The short shot or ristretto is extracted to a volume of three-quarters of an ounce. The shorter restricted pour magnifies the essence of the coffee and the chance of any bitter elements being extracted is minimized. If you have ever ordered an espresso shot in Europe they usually serve the ristretto.

The long shot or lungo is extracted to a volume of one and one-half ounces.

The double shot is a 2 ounce shot using twice as much coffee in the portafilter.

The correct way to serve a straight shot is to extract it directly into a warmed demitasse cup. The warm demitasse cup will keep the straight shot warm and prolong the crema. A straight shot is best enjoyed immediately after brewing.

It is rare to see people drinking straight shots of espresso in the US. Most people here drink variations using steamed milk mixed with the shots to make the different coffee drinks listed here.

Espresso Macchiato

The Espresso Macchiato starts with a shot of espresso and then a small amount of foamed milk is spooned over the shot. Macchiato in Italian means "marked," as the espresso is marked with foam.

Espresso Con Panna

This is an Espresso Macchiato using whipped cream in place of the foamed milk. The drink gets its name Con Panna which means "with cream."

Caffé Americano

The Caffé Americano is a drink similar to American brewed coffee. It is made with a single or double shot of espresso combined with 6 to 8 ounces of hot water out of an espresso machine. The result is a very smooth cup of coffee that is much hotter than brewed coffee.


Cappuccino is made with a fluffy, wet foam, mixed with espresso coffee upon the pour to create a blend of the two flavors. Cold milk is essential, as is expertise in the foaming process. Cappuccino has a large volume of foam making it a light weight drink and less filling.

Caffé Latté

Caffé Latté is similar to the cappuccino but with much less foam and more steamed milk. A latté is made by holding back the foam with a spoon while pouring the frothed milk from the steaming pitcher. The caffé latté is completed by being topped with a small amount of the held back foam.

Caffé latté gets its name from the addition of coffee to milk. For an iced latté, cold milk is combined with the espresso and then the ice is added.

Caffé Mocha

A caffé mocha is made by adding powdered or chocolate syrup to a hot shot of espresso and blended. Steamed milk is then be added to the espresso-chocolate mixture and usually it is topped with whipped cream.

Iced mochas are made with cold milk and the ice added after the coffee and chocolate have been blended.

Flavored Coffee Drinks

Some popular coffee flavors are: vanilla, Irish creme, almond, hazelnut, caramel and fruit flavors such as orange and raspberry. These drinks usually start with a flavored syrup that is mixed with hot espresso and stirred. Then steamed milk is stirred in like in a latté.

An iced version of these flavored coffees made with cold milk instead of steamed makes a delicious cold drink in the summer months.

So now that you know what's in the basic coffee drinks, try one you haven't tasted yet. Who knows, you might find a new favorite.

About The Author

Gary Gresham is the webmaster for www.perfectcoffees.com where you can purchase quality coffee, tea, cups & mugs, coffee gifts and delicious desserts online. He offers a free monthly coffee newsletter at www.perfectcoffees.com/newsletter.html.
Gary@perfectcoffees.com Copyright © 2004 PerfectCoffees.com. All Rights Reserved.

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I started this blog because I am and have been addicted to starbucks for probably 10 years now. It really is a place away from home and work/school for me.
Read here for my take on the adventure to starbucks....every day...sometimes twice a day.

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A new kind of jolt from your coffee

Starbucks, Jim Beam team up to develop liqueur
April 8, 2004

SEATTLE - Starbucks Corp.'s extensive coffee-based beverage lineup is about to get a different kind of jolt.

The Seattle-based coffee shop chain, along with the Jim Beam unit of Fortune Brands Inc., is developing a premium coffee liqueur to be sold in bars, restaurants and liquor stores — but not in Starbucks' 7,800 retail locations, the companies said Thursday.
The liqueur will be tested in two undisclosed U.S. markets later this year in Starbucks' first attempt to tap into the alcohol business.
"It has been our intention since the mid '90s to build a very strong brand at retail and then to leverage into other product categories and channels of distribution," Starbucks Chief Executive Orin Smith told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Starbucks plans to announce similar product deals with other companies in the next three to six months, Smith said, declining to elaborate.
On Wednesday, however, Tazo Tea Co., a Starbucks unit, reached an agreement with Kraft Foods Inc. to bring Tazo's tea products to more U.S. grocery stores.

A new taste for coffee fiends
The companies have yet to name the new liqueur, but the Starbucks name will be featured prominently, executives said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A Starbucks-branded liqueur has a built-in audience, Smith said, noting the company's best customers are also regular drinkers of coffee liqueur and have been clamoring for a Starbucks alternative for years.
Starbucks actually developed an in-house coffee liqueur a decade ago, but has been waiting for the right time, and the right partnership, to roll it out.
The company has no plans to sell liquor in its stores, which would create a range of logistic hurdles, including seeking permits to sell alcohol.
"For the type of business it might generate for us, it's just not the way we want to go," Smith said.

Starbucks launched Starbucks Ice Cream with Dreyers in 1995 and developed a bottled frappuccino drink with PepsiCo Inc. in 1996, each of which has performed well, Smith said.

Fortune Brands, which makes products ranging from Moen faucets to Titleist golf balls, also uses partnerships to leverage its brands.

The company has deals with home improvement retailers Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos and a distribution agreement with the Absolut Spirits Co.

The Starbucks deal fits in with Fortune Brands' goal of developing new high-end products, Chairman and Chief Executive Norm Wesley said.

The new liqueur will compete with the Allied Domecq Plc's sweet-tasting Kahlua and Bailey's Irish cream, which account for 2.5 million cases of the 6 million to 10 million sold each year in the United States.

Fortune Brands currently sells a coffee liqueur called Kamora, but the Starbucks liqueur will cost more and offer a different taste, serving a different market.