KitchenAid® Semi Automatic Espresso Machine next to a variety of espresso beverages

6 Types of Espresso Drinks and How to Make Them

Many espresso drinks call for steamed milk, frothed milk, or some combination of both. To create rich, creamy lattes, cappuccinos and more, a good milk frother or steaming wand is essential. 

Espresso machine steam wand in a milk pitcher steaming milk Espresso machine steam wand in a milk pitcher steaming milk

An espresso machine is a great way to bring the cafe to your kitchen. But how do you brew like a barista? Once you’ve mastered a simple espresso, you can start creating lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and Americanos with just a couple extra steps. With these basic espresso drinks in your repertoire, a new world of home coffee brewing is open to you. You can begin to experiment with more or less water to adjust strength, steamed milk or cream for richness and flavorful additions like chocolate sauce and whipped cream to make a nearly endless variety of espresso drinks. Plus, espresso can enhance a variety of dishes from desserts to marinades. 

Some common espresso drinks from around the world include the hielo with ice, macchiato marked with milk, cortado with steamed milk, cappuccino with milk foam, breve with cream, mocha with chocolate, con panna, or viennois, both with whipped cream, and latte with steamed milk. A ristretto uses less water for a stronger flavor while lungo uses more for something closer to drip coffee.

Read this espresso drinks guide to learn how to make different types of espresso drinks and enjoy developing your skills.

TYPES OF ESPRESSO DRINKS CHART

 Infographic depicting different types of espresso drinks Espresso drinks chart

WHAT IS ESPRESSO? 

Espresso is a rich, concentrated coffee drink. A shot of espresso is different from an “ordinary” cup of coffee mainly in the way it’s prepared. The beans are ground very fine and packed tight, then pressurized water is pulled through them to create a small serving of full-bodied, flavorful coffee.

When it comes to the beans themselves, an espresso bean is simply a type of coffee bean that is roasted longer and darker. The espresso roasting method brings out oils in the bean that work well with a fine espresso grind. Together they create the thick consistency and well-rounded flavor that makes drinking espresso a pleasurable experience on its own or in a variety of other delicious drinks like espresso martinis or frappes.

Coffee grinders help you transform whole beans into an aromatic, flavorful cup of coffee. To make delicious espresso drinks, it’s important to get a fine, consistent grind. With the KitchenAid® burr grinder, you can customize the grind time and make use of the convenient Built-In Adjustable Portafilter Holder that allows you to grind beans directly into 54-mm. or 58-mm. portafilters, depending on the number of shots you're planning to brew.

IS ESPRESSO STRONGER THAN COFFEE?

Espresso has a more intense flavor than regular coffee because of its lower grounds-to-water ratio, finer grind and pressurized brewing process. Espresso contains more caffeine per ounce than coffee, but a typical 8 oz. serving of coffee has more caffeine.

WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR ESPRESSO DRINKS?

Many different drinks can be made with espresso. The list below contains some of the most popular drinks with espresso.

  • Shot: A shot is just straight espresso which can have a bitter and intense flavor.

  • Latte: A latte is a type of espresso drink made with espresso, steamed milk and a thin layer of foam. Flavored syrups like caramel, vanilla or lavender are often added for a sweet twist.

  • Cappuccino: A cappuccino is a popular espresso-based coffee drink. It typically consists of one or two shots of espresso and equal parts of steamed milk and milk foam.

  • Macchiato: A macchiato is a type of espresso drink made with espresso and a small amount of steamed milk, usually foam. It is generally served in a smaller cup than other espresso-based drinks and has a more intense flavor due to its higher espresso content.

  • Americano: An Americano is a drink that is made by diluting an espresso shot with hot water. It has a milder flavor than regular espresso.

  • Mocha: A mocha is a type of espresso drink mixed with chocolate, steamed milk and sometimes topped with whipped cream.

DIFFERENT DRINKS TO MAKE WITH An ESPRESSO MACHINE

While a simple shot of espresso is hard to beat, it can also be used as the base for other classic coffee drinks like lavender lattes and winter cocktails. You can even use espresso in food such as desserts like a chocolate espresso torte or tiramisu. Other brewed beverages like tea can also be prepared with an espresso machine. Use our step-by-step instructions to make your favorite brews at home and discover some new favorites along the way.

There is a wide variety of espresso machines out there, but most should provide the tools you need to make these basic espresso drinks. Some models help you prepare cafe-quality drink with ease like the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine with Automatic Milk Frother Attachment.

Espresso graphic

HOW TO MAKE ESPRESSO WITH A MACHINE

The exact steps to take when brewing up an espresso will depend greatly on the type of espresso machine you have. Espresso machines range from fully manual to super automatic models. Depending on your model, some of these basic steps will be taken care of for you and some you’ll do yourself to create a truly customized cup.

Step 1: Grind the beans

A fine grind is essential for espresso. Unlike other types of brewing methods, the water in an espresso machine travels through the grounds for only a short time, and a fine grind enables maximum flavor extraction. Try starting with a grind that’s somewhere between powdery and sandy, then adjust according to your preferences.

Step 2: Pack the portafilter

The portafilter is the spoon-like device with a handle that sticks out of the machine. Remove it and fill the basket in the portafilter fully with grounds. The amount of grounds you use will depend on the size of the basket. Some models come with a single and double shot basket, like the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine.

Set the portafilter on a flat surface and pack down the grounds with a tamper until it forms an even, tight puck. It's important to create a level bed of coffee grounds to prevent water from channeling and over or under extracting flavor from the grounds. The KitchenAid® Commercial-Grade Portafilter is designed with 2 recessed spouts to enable a flat base for easier, more stable tamping vs. traditional residential espresso portafilters.

Step 3: Pull the shot

You may need to run the espresso machine once without the portafilter to clear the nozzle. Then lock the portafilter in place and put your cup below. Start the machine. A typical shot might take around 20 to 30 seconds to brew. Some espresso machines will have preset times while some will require you to set the time yourself or stop the brew manually. 

Latte graphic

HOW TO MAKE A LATTE

ESPRESSO + STEAMED MILK + FOAM 

Lattes are the milkiest of all the espresso drinks and always a silky, satisfying option. The ingredient ratio varies, but is typically 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk, plus a little foam to top it off.

Step 1: Pull the espresso

Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go cold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab). If you want to add any flavor syrup, do this now. 

Step 2: Steam the milk

The steam wand typically sticks out of the side of the machine and has at least one 90° curve. Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour the milk into the milk pitcher to a third of its capacity. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 3: Pour the milk

Stop steaming when the milk reaches a silky consistency with only a small amount of foam on top. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Cappuccino graphic

HOW TO MAKE A CAPPUCCINO

ESPRESSO + STEAMED MILK + FOAM

A cappuccino is made with the same ingredients as a latte but in different ratios: it uses equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam. This results in a lighter, foamier drink with a stronger coffee flavor. 

Step 1: Pull the espresso

Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go cold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab).

Step 2: Steam the milk

Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour milk into the milk pitcher to a third of its capacity. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 3: Pour the milk

Stop steaming when the milk has doubled in size and is about half foam. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Mocha graphic

HOW TO MAKE A MOCHA

ESPRESSO + CHOCOLATE + STEAMED MILK + FOAM

A mocha is essentially a latte with chocolate in it. You’ll add chocolate directly to the espresso and plenty of milk to create a smooth, sweet coffee drink.

Step 1: Pull the espresso

Heat your cup in a cup warmer if your machine has one so the coffee doesn’t go cold while you steam the milk. Pull one or two shots of espresso (see step-by-step instructions in the Espresso tab).

Step 2: Add the chocolate

While the espresso is hot, add chocolate syrup, drinking chocolate, melted chocolate chips or cocoa powder to it and stir until smooth.

Step 3: Steam the milk

Quickly turn on the steam wand to clear any water out of it. Pour milk into the milk pitcher. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk. Turn it on. You’re doing it right if you hear a light hiss rather than a deep gurgle.

Step 4: Pour the milk

Stop steaming when the milk reaches a silky consistency with only a small amount of foam on top. The temperature should typically be around 150° F. Pour the milk slowly into the espresso to ensure the foam on top doesn’t mix with the milk. Hold it back with a spoon if possible. Then scoop the foam onto the very top of the latte.

Americano graphic

HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICANO

ESPRESSO + HOT WATER

An Americano is a nice option if you want the bold, complex flavor of espresso but the volume of a drip coffee. It also doesn't require a steam wand if your espresso machine doesn’t have one. 

Step 1: Heat the water

Start bringing a pot of water to a boil. Many Americanos consist of about 2 or 3 parts water and 1 part espresso, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Make the espresso while the water is heating. 

Step 2: Pull the espresso and pour

Pull one, two or even three shots of espresso (step-by-step instructions on slide 1). Many Americanos are made with two shots. Add the water to the espresso and you’re done.

Macchiato graphic

HOW TO MAKE A MACCHIATO WITH AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

The potential of an espresso machine is endless. You can use your espresso maker to create traditional macchiato. In this drink, espresso is paired with a small dollop of steamed or frothed milk, allowing the bold and rich flavors of your espresso to truly shine.

STEP 1: PULL THE ESPRESSO

Use your espresso machine to pull one or two shots of espresso. If your machine has a cup warmer, heat your cup to keep the espresso warm while you prepare the rest of your drink.

STEP 2: STEAM THE MILK

Clear any water out of the steam wand by turning it on quickly. Pour the milk into your steaming pitcher. Place the steam wand into the milk at an angle, with the tip just below the surface of the milk, then turn it on. For a macchiato, you want to create foam that is nearly double the volume of the original milk pour.

Step 3: TOP YOUR ESPRESSO WITH MILK

Gently place a dollop of your frothed or steamed milk on your espresso. For an extra garnish, you can sprinkle cocoa powder or ground cinnamon over the top of your beverage.

WHAT ARE ADDITIONAL ESPRESSO DRINKS I CAN MAKE?

Other espresso drinks you might want to try include a Warm Winter Espresso Cocktail, a doppio, ristretto, lungo, créme, noisette, cortado, breve, affogato and flat white. Get creative with flavors, additions and toppings such as a dash of freshly ground cinnamon or shavings of decadent dark chocolate to truly make each type of espresso drink your own inspired cup. 

Affogato in a martini glass Affogato in a martini glass

Explore the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Enjoy espressos, lattes and cappuccinos just the way you like when you brew your morning cup with a KitchenAid® Semi Automatic or Fully Automatic Espresso Machine. Celebrate the routine of brewing espresso with the precision and control of a semi automatic machine, or opt for the fully automatic option to easily brew your favorite espresso beverages with the press of a button. Whether you prefer bold Americanos or creamy lattes, KitchenAid brand has the espresso maker designed for the way you create.

 

A KitchenAid® espresso machine in juniper, with a person tamping down espresso grounds.

Espresso Collection

Explore A New World of Espresso At Home

Enjoy making exceptional espresso with the new espresso collection from KitchenAid.

DISCOVER MORE ESPRESSO POSSIBILITIES WITH KITCHENAID