Different Coffee Types Explained

When it comes to coffee, we tend to stick to what we know, with our morning coffee often setting us up for the rest of the day. While some may enjoy the pure caffeine kick, others may enjoy the full flavoured variety, as well as the cheeky sugar hit to get them over the bitter coffee taste. Regardless of what your drink of choice is, having a coffee well-made is a must for many. But which coffee type should you pick?

From the complete coffee novice through to those looking to get into the barista business, knowing the difference between the many types of coffee is important. If nothing else, you’ll impress your friends on your next coffee shop trip. So, if you can’t tell a latte from a long black, read on as we guide you through common types of coffee sold in Australia.

Italian Coffees

Italian Coffee

While coffee originated from Arabia, a lot of modern coffee and the culture surrounding it has generally been attributed to Italy, so it’s no surprise that some of the most popular coffees are Italian inventions! Let’s first have a look at the most well-known Italian coffees.

Café Latte

Often a good option for those who aren’t regular coffee drinkers, lattes are made with foamed milk, aiding to hide the bitterness of coffee. Lattes contain one or more shots of espresso (depending on how strong you like it), with the milk poured over it, creating a frothy drink for you to enjoy. A word of advice for the traveller though, be sure to order a ‘café latte’ when you’re in Italy, as ordering a simple latte will score you a glass of milk.



One of the more popular options when it comes to coffee, the cappuccino has multiple layers to it, giving it extra taste and texture. The first layer is made up of espresso, giving you the caffeine kick, followed by a shot of steamed milk to counter the bitter coffee taste, topped off with a layer of foamy milk to make it easy to drink. Cappuccinos are often finished off with a sprinkling of chocolate powder, giving drinkers a slight sugar hit as well, perfect for those early mornings.


While the base for many other coffees, espressos can also be enjoyed by themselves, with the smaller, more concentrated caffeine hit a popular option at many cafés. Traditionally made by forcing out a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans, no milk or extras are usually added to espressos, making it an acquired taste for some, but the perfect hit for those who simply need to wake up.

  • An espresso is also known as a short black

Piccolo Latte

Piccolo Latte

For those who haven’t yet acquired the taste of a straight espresso, the piccolo latte may be your new go-to option. Adding a small amount on foamed milk on top of an espresso shot, the piccolo latte is often considered the middle ground between the café latte and the espresso, making it ideal for those who like a bit of sweetness to their coffee.


A perfect option for those who need a strong caffeine hit, as well as enjoy something sweet, the Vienna coffee is made up of two espresso shots, with whipped cream mixed in to the drink instead of the usual, traditional milk and sugar. Often topped with chocolate sprinkles, the Vienna is a good option regardless of the weather.



Another go-to option for first time coffee drinkers, the mocha is a latte with a few extras, including chocolate powder or syrup added, making it a bit thicker and sweeter than most coffees, while still containing a hint of coffee taste. While it will depend on how much you like sweet things, the choice between a mocha and a latte will be up to you.


If you’re looking to get coffee and ice cream, why not get both at the same time with an affogato? Most affogato coffees contain vanilla ice cream or gelato in a glass with an espresso shot poured over the top, while some places may also include some liqueur if you’re lucky.

Australian Coffees

Australian Coffees

While Italy may be considered the motherland when it comes to coffee, Australia has its own twist on the daily ritual, with some orders hard to come by overseas.

Flat White

An absolute nightmare to find when overseas, many Australians are partial to a flat white as their beverage of choice, with the coffee drink often confused with a latte due to their similar ratios and ingredients. A flat white is made with an espresso shot and milk, with the difference coming from the milk itself. While a latte uses frothy or foamy milk, a flat white uses smoother milk, often found lower down in the milk jug, giving the flat white a smoother consistency and texture.

Long Black

Not for the faint of heart, a long black coffee is a mixture of hot water and two shots of espresso, making it one of the bigger coffee hits you can get. While usually only favoured by those adverse to sugar, or those who want a caffeine hit pure and simple, the long black is generally for coffee veterans.

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Other Coffee Varieties

Other Coffees

While not as common as other coffees, these varieties are still popular enough to know in case you need to switch up your order.


With a similar makeup to a long black, an Americano coffee is made with one espresso shot and more hot water. As the name suggests, this is a common beverage in America – made popular by American soldiers rationing coffee by watering it down.

Irish Coffee

While not something that’s guaranteed to make you productive first thing in the morning, an Irish coffee is made with hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey, sugar and topped with thick cream – and is a popular cocktail. While your local barista may not know how to make one, a bartender may be able to help you out.

Homemade coffee vs. café coffee

While grabbing a coffee on the way to work, or grabbing one during that mid-afternoon slump, is a common trait among office workers, buying a coffee every day can quickly rack up a big expense. As a result, plenty of coffee drinkers have turned to a coffee machine to fill their caffeine fix, with 63% of respondents in a recent Canstar Blue survey indicating that they used their coffee machine every day, with 69% also stating that they had spent less money buying coffee outside of home since buying their coffee machine.

While it’s nice to have someone else make your coffee, as well as have a bit more variety when it comes to pods and sachets, how you like your coffee is a personal choice, and knowing the difference between a long black and an Americano may save you from disappointment down the line.

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