By Elke Probkevitz

I love coffee. I love the aroma that wafts through a coffee shop and draws you in. I love a hot cup in the morning when it’s too early to be waking up and you need a good caffeine wake-up call. I love an iced coffee in the afternoon and I even love coffee in the evening after a light dinner with a few bites of dessert (although not all of these in the same day). And yet every time I go into a coffee shop, I have to ask for a tutorial of the choices they offer. Why do I still not know the difference between a café au lait and a macchiato? Let’s demystify coffee once and for all.

Brewed coffee. The simplest coffee beverage, this is prepared by pouring hot water through fresh coffee grounds with no extra pressure. Most coffee shops have a choice of coffee bean varieties.

Café au lait. Made with two-thirds brewed coffee and one third steamed milk. This coffee drink is very popular as a French breakfast drink.

Espresso. A serious dose of caffeine for the serious coffee drinker, a shot of espresso is an intense, concentrated coffee. Grounds are packed tightly and brewed under high pressure in an espresso machine to extract the most flavor. You can also order an espresso with cream called espresso con panna.

Macchiato. This is an espresso with a tiny bit of steamed milk. They serve this drink in an espresso cup and usually top it off with some foamed milk in the shape of a heart on top. Macchiato means “marked,” because it’s marked with milk.

Cappuccino. A shot of espresso with 6—8 ounces of steamed milk on top. The milk is steamed which makes it creamy and frothy. The espresso is diluted in the milk, which makes it a lighter drink. It should consist of 30% espresso, 50% steamed milk, and 20% foam.

Latte. This espresso drink is a shot plus 12—16 ounces of steamed milk. It’s an even lighter, milkier version of the cappuccino. It can be with either a single or a double shot of espresso.

Breve. A shot of espresso with steamed half-and-half. A breve is similar to a latte but much richer.

Mocha. Made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate, a mocha is basically a chocolate latte, many times served topped with whipped cream.

Americano. This espresso drink is made with 8—16 ounces of hot water. It’s a watered-down espresso, which makes it less strong, and is almost the same as a regular brewed coffee except it’s made fresh to order.

Moccachino. A blend of coffee, chocolate, and milk. Much like cappuccinos, the milk is foamed and it is often topped. v

Chocolate Cinnamon With Mocha Icing


1 cup boiling water

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tsp. instant espresso powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

2½ cups golden brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips

½ stick butter substitute


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease nonstick Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together water, cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons espresso powder in a small bowl. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In electric mixer or large bowl with hand mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add eggs and beat until blended and smooth.

Mix in half of flour mixture, then add cocoa mixture and blend. Add remaining flour mixture and blend. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake 50 minutes, till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then flip over onto rack and cook 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, mix ½ cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and add butter and ¼ cup chocolate chips. Stir till melted, cool slightly, then drizzle over cake.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting


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