Today there are so many different kinds of coffee you can order, some depending on the ingredients or even the location you’re in.

If you’re a new coffee drinker or are starting to stay away from your typical order, it can be confusing actually figuring out what kind of coffee you want.

So today, we’re going to do a break down the 8 most commonly ordered coffees and any other helpful key terms that’ll help prevent you from ordering a drink you don’t like.


Flat White & Latte

Think of lattes and flat whites as paternal twins, they have the same base but come out slightly different. In my opinion, they are essentially the same thing, although a seasoned coffee expert may say differently.

A flat white, a drink I haven’t come across in the states really, only when I got to Australia, has a very VERY minimal amount of foam on top, this drink has what is considered micro foam that comes from barely frothing milk. I drink these the most since I’m not the biggest foam/froth fan.

With a latte you can get more of the thicker milk foam on top by slightly frothing it. This can create somewhat of a dome on top if it is thick enough but it is dependent on the barista.

Additionally, while doing some more in-depth research beyond making these drinks myself, some websites or blogs show that a latte might also be weaker than a flat white, but I think this is more dependent on the café or shop you’re ordering from. In my experience, the major differences have come down to the amount of foam placed on top and the size of the cup used.

If you’re ordering a flavored version of one of these, expect the same just with some flavor added to the espresso shot, or added into the milk before it’s steamed/frothed.


A cappuccino is for a someone who enjoys a bit more of the taste of espresso in their drink and who definitely wants foam.

This one is typically equal parts espresso and milk with a large portion of drier foam on top. So if you’re someone who is looking for that stronger coffee taste and love foam in your drink, this is for you.

Additionally, depending on where you are; you might have chocolate powder added on top, this was my experience again in Australia. This would be an optional addition so if you are in a region that does this, feel free to ask for no chocolate.

Americano/Long black

This drink is essentially a diluted espresso. You’ll be getting double espresso shot, mixed with a large potion of hot water.

The difference between an Americano and Long black essentially comes down to which is poured into the glass first, the espresso or hot water.

According to Hoxton Coffee Co., a long black has a more rounded taste since espresso is added to the hot water, while the americano has a bolder flavor as the espresso is added first.

If you’re used to having a coffee from a pot, or making a pour over at home, this would be a similar order if you’re in a place that doesn’t have those options.

Espresso/Short Black (single or double)

An espresso, the base of most drinks, is produced by running hot water through the finely grind espresso beans. You will receive about 30ml (60mL if it’s a double shot) of espresso served in a small cup.

Note: if you order a short black, it will be a single shot unless specified.

This is for someone who loves the flavor, richness, and kick from the coffee beans without anything added. If you’re in a time crunch and don’t want a whole 12oz drink to sip on, this is for you.

Also note even though it is the most basic coffee drink, the taste and quality can vary the most without the ingredients changing.

The espresso you receive can be influenced by the flow rate, how finely ground the coffee beans were, how long it sat in the cup before it was served and more. Since this post isn’t on those specifics, I will go into more detail in another post for those interested!

Café Mocha

A delicious variation of the latte. A café mocha or just mocha, is essentially a latte with chocolate added into the espresso or the milk before being steamed.

I exclusively drank these for the first year of college until my wallet could only handle the most basic of coffee orders aka the long black.

This is going to be a sweeter drink depending on where you go, but if you want a hot coffee without a lot of the taste of the espresso this would be a great option.

Short/Long Macchiato:

If you order these two drinks, you will receive an espresso shot that’s been “stained”. This means a bit of perfectly steamed milk has been added to the espresso shot, slightly diluting the intense flavor.

If you want an espresso sized drink just a bit less of the bold flavor of espresso- this is a great option. The only difference between the two drinks is a short macchiato will consist of one espresso shot while the long macchiato will consist of two.

Key Word Breakdowns/ Summary

Short: one espresso shot (30 mL)
Long: two espresso shots (60 mL)

Microfoam: the foam that you see in latte art and on flat whites. Created when the milk is frothed just slightly when being steamed.

Dry foam: thicker foam that can be found on top of a cappuccino that comes from frothing the milk a lot more.

Stained: when just enough milk is added to an espresso shot to change the color

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