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The Coffee Drink Basics

Updated: May 29

You are not alone if you are still wondering what are the differences between a cappuccino, latte, Americano, a regular brewed coffee and all those other drinks seen at any cafe menu. For a simplification: there are espresso-based coffee drinks and then there are regular coffee-based drinks.


Espresso is simply a concentrated, high-pressure shot of coffee. More elaborately, espresso is finely ground coffee (it can be any roast) that is packed into a portafilter (a small filter with a handle) and nearly boiling water is forced through at a high pressure. This produces a beautiful, concentrated shot with a caramel-colored crema on top. A single shot of espresso is one ounce and has 64 mg of caffeine. Espresso is the base of most coffee drinks.


Espresso + water = Americano

Espresso + 1/3 steamed milk + 1/3 foam = Cappuccino

Doubleshot of Espresso + 1/3 steamed milk = Austrailian Flat White

Espresso + 2/3 steamed milk = Latte

Espresso + a minute mark of steamed milk = Italian Machiatto



Although, most people enjoy espresso-based drinks from their local cafes, many people at home do not have an espresso machine. It is more common to have a regular automatic drip coffee maker, a single-serve pod machine, or a french press. Neither of these machines can make authentic espresso but produce a standard cup of brewed coffee.


It is also important to note that espresso and brewed coffee use different grind sizes, depending on the machine. For some examples, a French Press uses coarsely ground coffee, a drip coffee machine and pour over brewers use medium grind coffee (most commonly found in grocery stores), an espresso machine uses fine grind only, and Turkish coffee requires the finest grind (as it's not filtered). The way the coffee bean is ground is critical. Using a blade grinder instead of a burr grinder can ruin even the freshest coffee bean. Coffee grounds must be uniform and not heated during the grinding process. Here at Maya Organica, we can grind your beans with Italian burrs to perfection, in your selected size, right when you place your order.


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