What Are Specialty Coffees

Ever got embarrassed in a coffee shop because you don’t know which specialty coffee to order? Many people have been through that same predicament but it’s not too late to know which specialty coffee is the right one.

Specialty coffees have been around for years thanks to the inventive baristas, avid customers and coffee aficionados. But the real deal started in Italy because of the popularity of espresso coffee.

Flavoring coffee and making it better than ever have brought many specialty coffee variants. The list is endless especially with many coffee shops around.


photo credit: Allison Choppick

Specialty Coffees Terms And Definitions

The main ingredient for any specialty coffee is espresso. The addition of milk, sugar, chocolate syrup, flavored syrups, spices such as cinnamon and cardamom, and topped off with whipped cream just simply makes espresso special and more flavorful.

Below is a list of specialty coffees that are quite popular and familiar:

Americano – A standard cup of coffee made of double espresso shots in hot water and added with milk.

Caffe Zabaglone – A cup of Italian coffee plus ¼ cup dry Marsala wine with ¼ cup sugar, 4 egg yolks and a pinch of salt are cooked and whisked until thick.

Calypso Cooler – A mixture of 1 cup chilled extra strong coffee, ripe bananas, 2 cups of coffee ice cream. Add rum for a twist.

Cappuccino – Made with a shot of espresso, 1 part steamed milk, 1 part foamed milk and with an optional dusting of cinnamon or powdered chocolate.

Cappuccino Borgia – A blended concoction of espresso, ¼ cup peeled orange, 1 ½ cup chocolate ice cream, ¼ cup milk and 6 tablespoons of orange juice.

Cardamom Kaffee – A Scandinavian original that calls for 1/8 cup cognac, 2 teaspoons curacao , 1 tablespoon sugar and cardamom pod. Heat the mixture in a microwave for 10 seconds then flame it. Pour ½ cup extra strong coffee.

Espresso Con Panna – A shot of espresso with whipped cream.

Frappe – Cold espresso with 2 teaspoons of sugar, milk and crushed/cubed ice. Add-ons include brandy and crème de cacao for some kick.

Latte – A shot of espresso with steamed milk.

Macchiato – Espresso with small amount of dappled steamed milk.

Mardi Gras – A combination of double strength American roast, ½ cup each of eggnog, heavy cream and bourbon.

Mocha – Cappuccino with a shot of chocolate syrup.

Romano – Espresso served with a slice of lemon.