Mia’s top 5 coffee drink rankings


Most coffee drinks are a specific combination of espresso, water, and milk or milk foam. (Photo courtesy of infodiagram.com)

There’s something so special and uniting about the jollity of coffee shops and having a warm drink in your hand while chatting with a close friend or stranger.  In these shops, one finds a small bit of peace and comfort among strangers.  It’s a place that reminds us of the value of slowing down and taking time to enjoy a drink with a friend, or maybe just by ourselves.  And many people may have a signature coffee order that arouses feelings of warmth and contentment. 

Sarina Vachhani, a third year student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo frequents coffee shops approximately once a week, and finds she enjoys the busy atmosphere.

“[My favorite thing to get] is an iced decaf latte with a pump of vanilla syrup,” said Vachhani.

And while many people have their personalized signature drink down to a science, not everyone has found their caffeine soul mate quite yet.  So if you’re still searching for that special twin flame of a drink, consider these five classic drinks to add to your repertoire.


The appropriate amount of milk foam is poured into the cappuccino. (Photo courtesy of Leite’s Culinaria)

1st: The Cappuccino- I don’t think you can go wrong with this drink, especially if it’s done well.  The cappuccino is coffee royalty.  And for the coffee connoisseur, this drink may be the most telling of the quality of a coffee shop.  The texture of the milk foam, the espresso’s strength, and the steamed milk’s quality are all factors in determining a good cappuccino.  In my experience, you can immediately spot a coffee shop’s decency by seeing if the steamed milk is actually steamed, or simply just hot milk labeled as steamed.  Bonus points if the coffee shop draws little designs on the milk foam on top.


2nd: The Latte- Reliable and consistent, the latte comes in second place.  The only reason this drink isn’t first is that the criteria for a good latte differ vastly between individuals.  Lattes also are flavored differently, making it difficult to differentiate between the flavor of the coffee and the flavor of the syrup.   However, it does rank high due to its versatility and the fact that you can get a latte pretty much anywhere, and it tastes decent.


An authentic cafe machiatto isn’t the easiest to come by these days, but the Starbucks version is admittedly one of my go to drinks. (Photo courtesy of Graciela Bonnet).

3rd: Cafe Macchiato- Yes, the version of the macchiato popularized by Starbucks is not the correct definition of an authentic cafe macchiato, however, you can’t deny the Starbucks Caramel macchiato is incredible.  But we’re talking about a true cafe macchiato here.  This places third because though it isn’t as good as the top two, the macchiato is still a classic, and you feel fancy when you order it.  I imagine a 19th-century rich French aristocrat would be the type of person to drink a macchiato in a candlelit study, perhaps while telling his pretentious stepson he is no longer included in the will.


A Flat White can be described as a mix between a latte and a cappuccino. (Photo courtesy of Simon Mgill)

4th: Flat White- At first glance, I could not tell the difference between a flat white and a latte, and to be honest I don’t have a lot of experience with flat whites.  Flat whites came into the picture when the Australians decided to breed the cappuccino and the latte, creating an in-between consistency.  The flat white ranks 4th due to the fact that I don’t find anything particularly amazing about it, and while you can take some creative liberties with the latte, the flat white seems restrictive in comparison.


The Americano, a simple combination of espresso and water is a coffee classic. (Photo courtesy of roastycoffee.com)

5th: Americano- The fact that there is no milk added allows you to really notice the quality of the espresso, however, I don’t enjoy the taste of these.  I think that the Americano is what one would call an “acquired taste”, and the fact that it doesn’t appeal to the majority of people is what leads it to rank 5th.  The Americano seems like a drink that a busy businessman living in New York City would order on the way to a very important meeting after yelling at the barista because his drink wasn’t made quickly enough.