A class on coffee

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 7 September 2017

Experts offer  a few tips on how to tell a Mochaccino from a Cappuccino or a Latte from an Americano

The tagline of a popular coffee shop chain claims: ‘A lot can happen over coffee’. And you cannot agree more! Coffee isn’t only a beverage, it’s much more. The drink has the power to uplift your mood, rejuvenate and refresh. There’s nothing better than sipping on a cup of hot frothy, aromatic coffee on a cold winter morning or a rainy afternoon. 

But it’s not just coffee anymore. It’s Cappuccino, Mochaccino, Americano, Latte, Ristretto and so on. If you aren’t a coffee  connoisseur, you may not be able to tell the difference between the various types, but here are some tips from the experts — Chef Sabyasachi Gorai of Mineority by Saby and Deepti Dadlani, vice-president, branding and marketing, Bellona Hospitality, which owns restaurants like 212 All Day Cafe & Bar, Shizusan, Bar Bar — which can come handy.    

Dadlani, who has been in the hospitality business for long, travelled extensively and has a deep knowledge of food and drinks, including coffee, says, “It is really simple to differentiate between the different types of coffee. You have to remember that an Espresso is the basic coffee and that is where different types of coffee are created. An espresso is a 30 ml concentrated coffee. An Espresso Doppio is a double espresso, so the quantity of coffee will be 60 ml. A Cappuccino is a 30 ml espresso which is made of hot milk and foam. You have to imagine layer by layer because that is how coffees are made, but the first step towards making any kind of coffee is espresso to which other ingredients are added.”  

Explaining what exactly an espresso is, Gorai says that it is the strongest coffee made from finely ground dark coffee in an espresso machine at a certain temperature which ejects pressurised water making it perfect. 

Gorai, who believes that coffee jumpstarts your day but choosing the perfect cup from the long line-up of caffeinated concoctions can often become a problem, says, “Cappuccino, Latte, Espresso and Mocha are the most famous coffee options consumed by people all over the world. These coffees are espresso-based beverages made from an espresso machine which is a combination of espresso, steamed milk and foam. Though the ingredients are same, the proportion in each drink differs suiting an individual’s palate.” 

Gorai himself likes Espresso, Americano and French Press.  

Explaining the concept and difference between some of the most popular coffee types, Dadlani says, “A Cafe Latte has the same base of espresso (30 ml) and more milk and nearly no foam — that’s the basic difference between a Cappuccino and a Cafe Latte. Mochaccino is espresso and milk, topped with unsweetened chocolate sauce. An Americano is espresso with hot water. Ristretto is a less concentrated espresso. Red Eye which is another kind of coffee, is espresso based with less concentrated espresso on top. You have to imagine in terms of layers.” 

Dadlani says that one of the clearest ways of differentiating one coffee from another is the amount of milk used in it. “Between a Cafe Latte and a Cappuccino, if I tell you to taste, you’ll find that Latte has more milk whereas a Cappuccino has less milk. Latte also comes in a taller glass. You can also guess the type of coffee by the glassware it is served in. A taller glass is a Latte glass, a smaller cup is a Cappuccino cup and an Espresso is served in a short cup/ glass,” she explains. 

Gorai further says, “Cappuccino is a stronger version of coffee which is brewed at a very high temperature. Whereas Latte is popularly known as the ‘milk coffee’. And then again Mocha is an espresso drink with a shot of chocolate.” 

“Coffee is a drink that has been around for five centuries and has numerous variations. It can get confusing to understand the difference between the various types but it’s an easy thing for a coffee addict to spot it. The proportion of milk can be the solution to understanding the difference between the varieties of coffee,” tells Gorai. 

For Dadlani, another way of understanding coffee is by taking interest and reading up on coffee types. “I prefer speaking to the barista. People must take the initiative and strike a conversation with baristas as they love talking about coffee. Never hesitate to speak or ask. Customers should inquire about what they are drinking, what ingredients go in and what is the difference between two coffees,” she concludes. 

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