You’ve probably heard about espresso, but you may not have tried it. Espresso drinks are a central part of coffee scenes in many countries around the world. However, when faced with a long menu of drinks with names you’ve never heard of, you may get confused about how to order an espresso drink. Here we’ll help you figure out how to order an espresso drink in Bogota.
While you’re in Bogota, be sure to try a variety of espresso drinks at any of Bogota’s fantastic specialty coffee shops. The brews are less expensive than other parts of the world and the baristas are passionate about doing their best.
What is espresso?
In simple terms, espresso is made by forcing water at high pressure through finely ground coffee. The resulting drink is strong, small, and unforgettable.
Espresso is made with a machine that is conveniently called an espresso machine. That machine takes hot water (195-205° F or 92-95° C) and forces it at about 9 atmospheres of pressure through finely ground coffee for 20-30 seconds.
What in the world does that mean? Those 9 atmospheres of pressure are what they sounds like – it’s nine times the atmospheric pressure. On planet earth. That’s a lot of pressure, and it creates a creamy beverage unlike any other coffee-based drink.
Espresso should always be made to order with freshly ground coffee and consumed immediately. It’s a small shot of coffee (just 25-35 ml), so don’t expect a mug full of brew.
Using a shot of espresso as the base, there are a whole array of drinks that can be made. You’re no doubt familiar with some, but others may have you scratching your head and asking, “What is that?”
Here’s a helpful list that you can keep in mind when you sit down at a café and the waiter is gazing expectantly at you, waiting for your order.
Espresso drinks to order in Bogota
If you find an espresso too strong for you, try an americano. Two shots of espresso are topped off with hot water. In some cafés in Colombia, the waiter will just assume that an American (or any foreigner) is going to order an americano.
One shot of espresso with equal parts of steamed milk and milk foam. The name of the drink refers to the color of the coffee when it gets its share of milk – it’s similar to the brown robes Capuchin monks wear.
Simply the Italian word for milk, a latte will give you one shot of espresso with steamed milk. The barista may also add foamed milk to the top. Beware that if you ask for a latte in Bogota, you may be served a cup of warm milk with just a touch of coffee. If I’m in the mood for a latte that actually tastes like coffee I’ll ask for one with extra espresso.
This version of espresso comes from Spain. One shot of espresso and equal parts hot milk make it small and powerful.
Doppio (double) is simply a double espresso, or two shots.
This drink from Australia (or New Zealand, depending on who’s telling the story) has made its way to some Bogota coffee shops. Steamed milk is poured through and under two shots of espresso, resulting in a drink with no foam (thus flat) and whiter than most other espresso based drinks.
Macchiato, which means stained, is one shot of espresso that is ‘stained’ with a small portion of textured milk or foam.
Ristretto, or ‘restricted’ coffee, is an espresso made using the same amount of ground coffee but less water in a bitter, intense brew.
This drink means ‘drowned’. In ice cream, that is. It’s a dessert that you’ll see around Bogota, espresso with ice cream.
Are you in Bogota and want to learn more about coffee? Join us for a specialty coffee shop tour.