What is the difference between the following types of Italian coffee?

  • Caffè lungo (long coffee)

  • Caffè corto (short coffee)

  • Caffè macchiato (coffee with milk)

  • Espresso

  • Cappuccino


This image (from visual.ly) shows the difference between the mixture of ingredients and (possible) cup sizes of various sorts of coffee, including the ones you asked for:

Various sorts of coffee

A (caffè) lungo is 'just' an espresso prepared with more (twice as much) water than usual, making it less intense.

A caffè corto, more commonly called ristretto, is the opposite: less water (half as much) is used in preparation than with a normal espresso, making it even more intense.

For the macchiato, milk foam is added to an espresso; a cappucino has milk foam and steamed milk added to it.

Another important difference, when you're in Italy, is that you don't order a cappuccino after 10am.

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  • Espresso is much, much shorter than in the first picture: the second one works better. And the cup for espresso and macchiato is different from that for cappuccino (the other three concoctions not being actual Italian ones, I would not judge their cups). – DaG Aug 11 '17 at 10:20
  • And never, ever ask for chocolate sprinkles on your cappuccino. – user51717 Aug 11 '17 at 10:31
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    Worth noting that these Italian drink names can mean fairly different things in different times/places/subcultures. Even just in 2017, buy a cappucino in a small corner shop in Rome, or in a Starbucks in LA, or a hipster coffee shop in Paris, and you’ll get three pretty different drinks. Coffee drinks, like any other recipes, evolve and branch over geography and time — don’t believe anyone who tells you “This is what a cappucino really is, and anything else is just wrong!” – PLL Aug 11 '17 at 10:34
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    @DaG: Absolutely, yes. I wasn’t meaning my comment as “the question is unanswerable” — more to point out that the image in this answer (and lots of other guides online to what different drinks are) may not really answer the question, if they’re describing what those drinks mean in a different subculture. – PLL Aug 11 '17 at 10:37
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    The diagram contains a few common pitfalls, like "macchiato" and "latte". (But I like the image nevertheless.) – Stephie Aug 11 '17 at 11:22

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