Coffee: Different Types, Flavour, Beans, Roasts & More!

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Essentially, different types of coffees have different caffeine content and are made differently. For you to know your coffee, you need to know the different types of coffee roasts, different types of espressos and different types of lattes. 

There could be a handbook written on coffee types and there would still be more left to know. A summary of the coffee descriptions will help you tell the difference between coffee drinks. 

It is a common occurrence to sit in a café and wonder what the difference between macchiato and latte is or what is the difference between a cappuccino and macchiato? Some even wonder what the difference between latte and coffee is. Believe me, Latte and coffee are the same.

How Region Affects Taste?

Different regions have different coffee styles. It is not always that these differences are glaring; for example macchiato, NYC would be slightly different than macchiato in another country or state. Flat whites, for example, are more popular around Australia and New Zealand.

If I were to ask what the most popular coffee is, my answer would be that there are different kinds of coffee drinks for different regions around the world.

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Different Types of Coffee Beans and Their Flavor

The flavor of coffee is a reflection of the region it is grown in. Depending on things like farming methods, soil and elevation; the coffee can have distinctive taste and aroma.

It may even come as a surprise to most of you that even something as seemingly insignificant as shade-grown or organic can have an impact on the taste.

The two varieties of coffee beans grown all over the world are:

  • Arabica: Known for its soft taste, these beans are usually used in artisan coffees. These beans require a high elevation in order to grow well, and are, therefore, more expensive than Robusta coffee beans.
  • Robusta: Harsher in taste, these beans are used commercially. They are less expensive than Arabica beans and comparatively have a higher level of caffeine. Moreover, the fact that they are easier to grow to make then perfect for commercial use.

Types of Coffee Roasts

There are 4 types of roasted coffee beans. In order to easily identify the roast, you can look at the beans and see their color.

Before we talk about the coffee roasts, it is important to note that as the roast gets darker, not only does the caffeine content decrease but the bean also starts to lose its flavor. Moreover, lighter roasts have higher caffeine content and have a more acidic taste.

4 main types of roasts are:

  • Light roast: Easy to identify, they have a light brown color. These beans are roasted slightly and have an acidic flavor.
  • Medium roast: Also known as a regular roast, these beans are roasted until before their second crack. Their caffeine content is lower than light roasts but higher than dark roast.
  • Medium-dark roast: Lower in caffeine content, these beans are darker in color and have more oil on their surface.
  • Dark roast: Almost chocolate and dark brown in color, these roasts shine form all the oil. They have the lowest caffeine content and have a smoky bitter taste. In dark roasts, the coffee beans tend to lose their own taste and give a flavor more of the roast.
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Regardless of why you’re drinking coffee, what matters most is how it tastes, smells, and whether or not it makes you feel alert and happy in the morning. That being said, everyone has their favorite order – perhaps a latte, a piccolo, or maybe a long black.

We checked online to see how many types of coffee beverages there are… it turns out, there’s quite a lot. Over thirty different types were listed on one website, and more than forty on another. To save us all some time, we will confine this list to the most commonplace coffees available, and what many Canstar Blue staff deem the most delicious.



Okay, some caffeine snobs will turn their nose up at this one, but if you’re hiking or camping, or for emergencies at home, instant coffee is still better than no coffee! Instant coffee is coffee that’s had all the water removed, leaving behind just the soluble coffee flavor. Add the water back and, hey presto, something that tastes a bit like coffee!

Filter Coffee

Once the long black sheep of the coffee family, recently filter coffee has made a comeback, and has become a trendy tipple, especially if it’s cold-brewed. Ground coffee beans are left to steep in either hot or cold water, then filtered out, leaving the liquid behind. The result is less harsh and bitter than espresso, but less watery than an Americano, and can be drunk black or with milk.  

Caffè Americano

You can make this type of coffee quite simply by adding hot water to a shot of espresso coffee. It has been said that American soldiers during WWII made this type of coffee to make their beverages last longer. It was then (apparently) adopted by American baristas after the war.

Café Latte (or Café au lait)

A fairly popular option for coffee drinkers, a latte consists of steamed (or scalded) milk and a single shot of coffee. It is usually quite frothy, and you’ll occasionally encounter cafes that don’t understand the difference between this and a flat white.


Possibly the most popular type of coffee in the world, a cappuccino consists of three layers (kind of like a cake). The first is a shot of espresso, then a shot of steamed milk, and finally the barista adds a layer of frothed, foamy milk. This final layer can also be topped with chocolate shavings or powder. Traditionally, Italians consumed this type of coffee at breakfast.


To make an espresso, shoot boiling water under high pressure through finely-ground coffee beans and then pour into a tiny mug. Sounds simple right? Well, it’s surprisingly difficult to master. Espressos are the purest coffee experience you can get, and while they’re not for everyone, it can be a truly singular drinking experience when you find a good brew.

Flat White

The two most Kiwi coffees available are the long black and the flat white – as both originated in New Zealand and Australia. For a flat white, the steamed milk from the bottom of the jug (which is usually not so frothy, but rather creamy) is poured over a shot of espresso. It is now popular among mums and dads at school fetes who are desperately trying to stay awake.

Long Black

Hot water is poured into a cup, and then two shots of espresso are poured into the water. If you do the inverse of this, it will result in an Americano. Long blacks can be quite strong and have more crema (a creamy foam that tops espresso shots) than an Americano.

Macchiato (also known as a Piccolo Latte)

A macchiato is a shot of espresso that is then topped off with foamed milk dashed directly into the cup. Although it may sound similar to a cappuccino, it’s usually stronger as there’s no steamed milk added and it’s also smaller, usually served in an espresso-sized cup.


A ‘mocha’ is just a latte with added chocolate powder or syrup, sometimes topped with whipped cream. If anything, this is a good entry-level coffee – living in the worlds between the childlike hot chocolate and the adult café latte.

Irish Coffee

Too many of these and you might have to ‘just crash here, bro’, because this type of coffee is made with Irish whiskey, sugar, and a thick layer of cream on the top – and isn’t readily available in New Zealand cafes due to its alcohol content. They’re more often found in restaurants. Be warned, trying to make this with scotch and instant coffee doesn’t work… trust us.


A Vienna is made by mixing two shots of strong espresso and then adding whipped cream as a substitute for milk and sugar. The Vienna melds the strong flavors of straight espresso, with the smoothness of sugary cream.


Affogatos aren’t a coffee at all, really, as they’re a shot of espresso poured over a dessert (usually ice cream). That doesn’t make them any less delicious, though.

Regardless of which type of coffee you drink, the cost of buying a cup of joe does add up. Every internet article ever written about easy ways to save money includes cutting out your daily bought brew.

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