By: Peyton Boelk

For many college students, coffee is more than just a beverage; it’s a lifeline, a ritual, and sometimes even a form of art. Whether you’re new to the world of coffee or looking to expand your palate, understanding the basics can enhance your coffee experience. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll delve into different types of basic coffee drinks, explore various roasts, and touch upon the eternal debate of iced versus hot coffee, while also recommending local coffee shops. 

Types of Basic Coffee Drinks

  • Espresso: A concentrated shot of coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. It forms the base for many other coffee drinks.
  • Americano: Made by diluting espresso with hot water, creating a milder flavor profile similar to drip coffee.
  • Latte: A combination of espresso and steamed milk, topped with a small amount of foam. Lattes can be flavored with syrups like vanilla or caramel.
  • Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, resulting in a creamy and frothy texture.
  • Mocha: A decadent treat made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup, often topped with whipped cream.
  • Cold Brew: Made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically 12-24 hours, resulting in a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate.

Exploring Roasts

  • Light Roast: Light brown in color with a milder flavor profile, highlighting the coffee bean’s inherent fruity and floral notes. Examples include breakfast blends and Ethiopian coffees.
  • Medium Roast: Medium brown in color, offering a balanced flavor profile with slightly more pronounced acidity and body. Popular options include Colombian and Costa Rican coffees.
  • Dark Roast: Dark brown to almost black in color, characterized by bold and robust flavors with minimal acidity. French roast and Italian roast are common examples.

Iced vs. Hot Coffee

The choice between iced and hot coffee often depends on personal preference and weather conditions. Here are some considerations:

  • Hot coffee: Ideal for chilly mornings or when you need a comforting pick-me-up. Hot coffee tends to showcase the nuances of flavor more prominently.
  • Iced coffee: Perfect for warm days or when you need a refreshing boost. Cold brewing or brewing hot coffee over ice are popular methods for making iced coffee, resulting in a smooth and chilled beverage.

Coffee Shops Near Whitewater, WI

With this beginner’s guide to coffee, you’re equipped to navigate the world of coffee with confidence. Whether you prefer a classic latte or enjoy experimenting with different roasts, there’s a coffee drink out there to suit every taste. So, grab your favorite mug or to-go cup and embark on your coffee journey – one sip at a time.