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Espresso Variations

Cooking tips for the caring cook.


  • Caffe Ristretto: Concentrated espresso with less water than typical coffee.
  • Caffe Lungo: "Long coffee", made with more water - basically, an espresso with about double the amount of usual water in it.
  • Caffe macchiato: Espresso with a touch of steamed milk. Caffe Macchiato literally means a marked coffee. Latte and macchiato are both foamed, which confuses many. The main distinction between the two is the manner in which they are prepared. In a latte, the espresso goes in first, on top of flavored syrup if requested, then steamed milk is poured on top, with optional foam. In Macchiatos, the steamed milk is poured in first (also on top of flavored syrup if requested), and then the espresso - with optional foam on top. Macchiatos are often not stirred.
  • Caffe Latte: Coffee with scalded milk usually served in the morning. Cappuccino and Caffe Latte are the two most popular Italian coffee drinks and both are prepared using hot milk. The difference is that cappuccino is prepared with less steamed or textured milk than caffe latte. In a cappuccino the total espresso and milk/foam makes up roughly 6 oz in a 12 oz drink.
  • Cappuccino: Coffee topped with the foam of steamed milk. Usually served mid-morning, not after lunch or dinner. In Rome, cappuccino a morning coffee. Have it first thing in the morning but don't ask for one after dinner in a restaurant, or waiter will think you are crazy for wanting a heavy, milky drink on top of a full meal.
  • Caffe Corretto: "Corrected" coffee with a bit of grappa or cognac. Grappa is one of Italy's most popular alcoholic drinks. Grappa can either be made from a mixture of pomaces from different sources, or from one grape variety. A variety of flavored grappas are available including drinks with a hint of almond, honey or blueberry.

Favorite type of espresso

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