Food & Drink

The Idiot’s Guide to Coffee

By Iro Kotsimbos
15th Oct 2014

Melbourne and coffee. Coffee and Melbourne. It's rare to think of one without instantly thinking of the other – after all, Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia and home to some of the best cafes and baristas in the world.

When it comes to different coffee types, being the caffeine loving Melburnians that we are, surely we all know the difference between, let's say, a latte and a flat white? A macchiato and a mocha? And how about fancy pants types like Galao and Espresso con Panna? (If you're sitting there feeling a little confused, don't be…we thought a Galao was some sort of tropical bird!)

So, Urban Listers, we're going to go back to basics with the help of the coffee-loving crew at Griffiths Bros

The oldest coffee roasters in Australia (they've been roasting since 1879!), Griffiths Bros are the go-to source not just for beans and blends, but also equipment and expert tips 'n' tricks. Griffiths source the finest coffee beans from around the world, bringing them back to roast on site in Mulgrave as well as creating and packing their signature coffee blends.

It was a no-brainer, really, to head straight to Griffiths Bros for the insider's word. From clearing up any lingering caffeine confusion, to dishing up the 5 top tips to making the perfect cup of coffee, we present to you the Idiot's Guide to Coffee.


Espresso / Short Black

An espresso, or short black as it's commonly called, is essentially 30ml of strong brewed coffee, brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. You'll know when a short black has been made fresh when it has a thick golden crema on top.

Long Black

To make a long black, fill your cup about halfway with hot water then pour a double shot of espresso over the top. 


More milk content than a cappuccino, a latte is served with one shot of espresso, steamed milk and around 1cm of milk froth which will settle on top. A skilled barista can also pretty up your drink with some artistic latte art on top.

Flat White

A flat white is very similar to a latte, with un-textured milk (no air incorporated when being steamed) resulting in espresso and steamed milk with little or no froth.


Recognised by the froth on top, a cappuccino broken down is 1/3 espresso shot, 1/3 textured milk and 1/3 froth on top with a dusting of chocolate to finish.


Traditionally a caffe macchiato is made with one shot of espresso and a small amount of foamed milk that is spooned over the top. Simple but delicious!

Cafe Mocha

A latte with the added sweetness of chocolate, a mocha can be prepared by adding 30g of chocolate to the espresso shot before adding the textured milk, or adding the chocolate to the cold milk before frothing. 



Think an Americano is just like a long black? Think again! An Americano coffee is slightly different – the espresso shot is infused with hot water in a 1:1 equal parts ratio, rather than pouring the shot over the hot water. An Americano is as intensive as drip coffee, however it has a slightly different flavour. 


Galao is a Portuguese style coffee, similar to a latte but with 1/4 coffee and 3/4 foamed milk.

Espresso con Panna

A single or double shot of espresso topped with whipped cream, an Espresso con Panna is perfect if you like your coffee nice and rich!


Traditionally, a Vienna coffee is made from a long black served with whipped cream as a replacement for milk and sugar.

Cafe Melange

Popular in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, a Café Melange is a double shot of espresso topped with whipped cream.


The Grind

To make the perfect espresso, you need to buy fresh coffee beans and grind the beans to the right consistency for your coffee machine. How coarse the coffee is ground varies from one espresso machine to another.


Tamping is the process of packing the coffee firmly into the handle – this is essential as it ensures a smooth, creamy espresso. When tamping, it is important to press down firmly to ensure that the water passes through the coffee evenly.


When pouring an espresso, it is important that the water passes through the coffee within a specified time frame. When pouring a single shot, which is 30ml of coffee, the espresso should be poured within 25-30 seconds. If the water passes through the coffee in less time, the coffee will be weak and watery or over extracted if the espresso takes longer to pour.


Ensuring that the water temperature is approximately 93 degrees celsius enables the best extraction of coffee. If the water is too hot, the coffee will burn and if the water is too cold, the coffee will not be extracted correctly, leaving a watery espresso.


It is important to have an idea of which coffee you are making before you texture the milk. When pouring a cappuccino, the milk needs to be slightly more aerated than when making a café latte. The temperature of the milk is also crucial, as the milk will burn if it is heated over 70 degrees celsius. The optimum temperature of textured milk is 65 degrees celsius.

Keen to up your coffee game at home? Griffiths Bros can help! If you want to buy coffee online, their swish new online store is your one-stop-shop for all your needs, from beans, blends and decaf, to chai teas, syrups, drinking chocolate and more! You can also stock up on Griffiths Bros products at their bean store in Mulgrave, or at leading supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Now where's my flat white?!

Image Credits: The Kitchn, Amelia, Mr Style King.

TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by Griffiths Bros and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret — the List Love seal will be stamped on any sponsored material you see on the site. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.

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