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Traditional Coffee & Espresso Recipes

Posted By: Aabree Coffee
Posted At: Nov 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Related Categories: Coffee Guides

It All Starts With Espresso

Brewing a double shot of espressoEspresso is the basic ingredient in most coffee drinks no matter what fancy name they are given at the local coffee bar. Whether you are ordering a latte, cappuccino or mocha, espresso is what gives these drinks their coffee flavor.

Espresso is the type of beverage produced by pushing hot water (between 190 F and 195 F in temperature) at high pressure (between 8 and 9 bars) through a bed of finely ground, compacted coffee. Shots of espresso should take about 20 to 25 seconds to brew. For a normal single shot of espresso you would use approximately 1 to 1.5 ounces of liquid and approximately 7 grams of ground coffee. To make a normal double shot between 2 and 2.5 ounces of liquid is used and the volume of coffee grounds is doubled.

However, you can produce many varieties of coffee specialty drinks by going beyond these general guidelines for single and double shots. There is no limit to the flavorful combinations you can create by adding ingredients to the basic espresso formula explained above, which is known as the Espresso Rule of Thumb. The recipes below will provide you with some ideas on what you can add to the basics to make a number of coffee specialty drinks at home. These traditional recipes can also be adapted to suit your mood and taste.

Vary Your Shots

Sticking to the Espresso Rule of Thumb is an option, not a necessity, for those who want to get the most out of their espresso machine. Another type of shot you can try is called the Ristretto or the “little one”. This involves a shot that measures about 0.75 to 1 ounce that is pulled through approximately 14 grams of ground coffee in about 20 to 25 seconds. On the other hand, you can try the Lungo, or long pull, which means that about twice the amount of water is pulled through the coffee grounds, so instead of using a 2 to 2.5 ounce double shot, you would have a 5 to 6 ounce double shot.

Remember that shots of espresso should take about 20 to 25 seconds. Also, if you find that your shots pull too quickly, too slowly, or taste bitter refer to the Espresso Rule of Thumb for some more tips.

For Cappuccinos and Lattes It’s All About The Milk

For Cappuccinos and Lattes It’s All About The MilkDepending on whether you use 1%, 2% or whole milk you will end up with either a cappuccino or a latte. A cappuccino has frothed and steamed milk; a latte contains only steamed milk. A variety of flavorings can also be added to both of these kinds of drinks. (See our Monin syrups for some delicious options.) The recipes for basic cappuccinos and lattes are as follows:


2 to 2.5 ounces espresso (double shot)
2.5 ounces frothed milk
2.5 ounces steamed milk

For a cup of cappuccino use equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. Place the espresso in the cup first, and then add steamed milk, followed by frothed milk. Adding flavored syrup or MOCAFE to your cappuccino can spice up this basic recipe.

Other Combinations To Try
For a different twist, try making a Dry Cappuccino, which has a double shot of espresso in it and frothed milk on top. This variation contains little or no steamed milk. A Wet Cappuccino has a double shot of espresso with more steamed milk than frothed milk.

Cappuccino with frothed and steamed milkA café latte contains only steamed milk. Flavorings can also be added to vary the taste of your latte.

Café Latte
2 to 2.5 ounces espresso (double shot)
4 to 5 ounces steamed milk

More Special Recipes

Iced Latte
2 to 2.5 ounces espresso (double shot)
3 ounces fruit flavored syrup
Cold Milk

For a cool alternative to hot drinks fill up a 12-ounce glass with ice, and then add the espresso, syrup and cold milk.

Café Macchiato
2 to 2.5 ounces espresso (double shot)
Dollop of frothed milk

Use a demitasse cup for this drink because it is just one shot of espresso with a small amount of frothed milk spooned on top. The ratio of espresso to milk is usually 80:20.

Cafe Mocha with whipped cream and chocolate syrupCafé Mocha
2 to 2.5 ounces espresso (double shot)
6 ounces steamed milk
.5 ounce chocolate syrup
Whipped cream (optional)
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Begin by adding the syrup, espresso and steamed milk to a cup. Top if off with a little whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. (Remember you can adjust the amount of syrup depending on your preference.)

Ways To Cut The Calories

For a low fat version substitute the whipped cream with frothed, skim milk. For extra flavoring without fat, carbohydrates or calories choose one of our Monin O’Free syrups, and to sweeten your cup of cappuccino sprinkle in some Splenda.

More Options For Your Cup of Coffee

You can also choose to make a Café Americano or a Café Crema. Café Americano is a single shot of espresso with 6 to 8 ounces of hot water added to it. This coffee drink is a little sweeter tasting because hot water is added to the shot, not run through the coffee grounds. However you will still be making a full-bodied cup of coffee even though you are using more water.

Cup of coffee Cafe Americano or Hammerhead styleCafé Crema is a single shot, but it is a long pull. You pull 6 to 8 ounces of water through the ground coffee instead of 1.5 ounces. Also to make a Café Crema you will need to use more coarsely ground beans.

The sky is the limit in creating unique coffee specialty drinks. Just take any of these basic recipes and simply adjusting the amount of espresso, steamed milk, frothed milk or syrup.

If You Just Want a Cup o’ Joe…

There are also ways to be inventive using your drip coffee machine. Here are some specialty drink recipes to try:

Café Au Lait
2 to 2.5 ounces DRIP coffee
6 ounces steamed milk

The Café au Lait uses drip coffee with steamed milk added to it.

By using your drip coffee machine you can make a Hammerhead. Just place a single shot of espresso in your coffee cup and then fill the rest of the cup with drip coffee.

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