What is your favourite coffee made up of?

Have you ever wondered what makes up your coffee order? One of our favourite things to do when we step outside our front door is grab a coffee, but how many of us know how it’s made? They say ignorance is bliss but is it, really? It has become commonplace that we like to personalise our coffees; we no longer expect the standard issue coffee. Whether we choose a plant-based milk or syrup, blonde roast or dark roast, we like to put our own stamp on it. Customised or not, if you don’t know what your coffee order should look like, how do you know if you’re getting the right one for you? Well, we are here to help you.

Starting from the top:


The Godfather of all coffee, this short but strong coffee originates all the way from Italy. Made by grinding approximately 71 coffee beans or 8 grams of coffee. A small amount of boiling water is then forced through the ground coffee to create 1.5oz of delicious coffee with crema on top. Crema is the caramel-coloured, creamy foam on top of your espresso. A lot can be said for crema. It can tell you if your drink is under or over extracted, or how fresh the beans are when your drink was made.

A lot of people drink Espresso to give them a caffeine boast, but few actually know it contains less caffeine than a standard brew coffee. This is because an espresso is considerably smaller than a cup of coffee. An espresso is quick to make and should also be drank the same way, much like how some of us consume shots of drinks.

Espresso in white cup
Flat white pour

Flat white

The most common coffee shop order at the moment. This is a no-nonsense, short and strong latte (basically). Made using a double shot of espresso, topped with steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk on top. It is typically 5-7oz and should be no bigger otherwise you’re getting into Latte territory. It should have a nice microfoam (which is tiny bubbles in the milk) and should feel velvety with a natural creamy sweetness, topped off with some latte art.

Some coffee shop classics


I don’t know about you, but this my mum’s standard coffee shop order, never changes. It should be made up of a shot of espresso and topped with equal parts steamed and foamed milk, sprinkled with chocolate powder. I know what you’re thinking, what’s the difference between steamed and foamed milk? Steaming milk is essentially heating milk using a steam arm. Foamed milk is when the milk is heated and injected with air, creating small bubbles that will become foam in your cappuccino.

Did you know that a cappuccino should be ‘eaten’ with a spoon? This is a good indication if you have a well-made one: there should be a brown ring around the outside that looks like a halo and white top – replicates a capuchin monks head ‘little cap’ is what it translates to in Italian. You should be able to rest a spoon on top and it should be able to sit there and not sink.

Cappuccino with chocolate
Latte hearts


Sometimes you just can’t beat a one, can you? Typically made up of a double shot of espresso, topped with steamed milk and a small layer (around 1 cm) of frothed milk in the shape of some lovely latte art. Sometimes we like to personalise our latte with a shot of syrup. The key thing with a latte is having the creamy head of milk on the top, if you get served a latte that looks like a milky tea, it’s not a latte.

Now, a common misconception about lattes is they should be served incredibly hot (like we drink our tea) which unfortunately is not the case. Being a nation of tea drinkers, we think our coffee should be served at the same temperature, but have you ever been served a latte in a glass with no handle and wonder how you are supposed to hold it? Well, that’s because a latte should be served 50 degrees Celsius, so you can sip it straight away. I think this is why some people ask for their latte to be extra hot – we need it to keep warm!


This literally a no fuss coffee and my personal coffee order. I think it’s the fastest way to tell if it’s good coffee or not. Literally espresso and hot water – there is no hiding. It’s so easy to make right? Wrong! One of my pet hates is when I see the hot water being poured onto of that beautiful espresso. This is a big no no. The espresso must be poured over the hot water and never the other way around (otherwise you burn the coffee).

It should have a nice crema on the top, this is another good indication if the beans are fresh, no crema, not fresh beans. It is believed the Americano was born in World War 2, when American soldiers would ask Italians to dilute their espresso with hot water (as this is what they were used to back home).

Coffee Extraction
Mocha with marshmallows


What I like to think of as the adult version of a hot chocolate because we seem to be tired most of the time. Much like a latte, it contains a shot of espresso, chocolate and steamed milk, often topped with a chocolatey latte heart – or if you’re feeling naughty – whipped cream. Invented in America, there are many different varieties of this drink, commonly made with chocolate powder but some people opt to use chocolate syrup and sometimes  white chocolate rather than milk or dark. Whatever variety you opt for, as long as you get your shot off coffee, chocolate and some velvety milk, you’re in safe hands.

And lastly, but by no means least;

Cold Brew

Whether you’ve tried it or not, we’ve all heard about it. It is essentially what it says on the tin. Coffee that is cold brewed over an extended period (usually 12 hours) which creates a smooth, less acidic and highly caffeinated coffee. Usually served over ice (but can be served hot too) with different variations, like milk, or black with slices of fruit. If you like coffee this is a great way to pass the time whilst we are at home.

Simply grind your coffee coarsely and immerse in cold, filtered water for 12 hours (I like to use my cafetière to brew it in). You can add whatever you like, but obviously something that would work well with coffee. I quite like to add orange slices. If you do give it a go, don’t forget to share your recipes with us on Instagram.

Cold brew with fruit

Well we hope this gives you an insight into how the most common coffees are made, but the most important thing is that your coffee is made the way you like it, after all you’re paying for it! Tell us on Instagram what your favourite coffee looks like – we are always looking at new things to try and we might just find our new coffee order!


By Robyn Chamberlain-Webber

Smokin’ Bean Marketing Assistant