Get to know the coffee guide: from an invigorating espresso to a refreshing frappe

Long gone are the days when Latvians only drank black or white coffee. Every year, coffee culture develops in new quality, and local coffee shops offer bright, unforgettable taste experiences. However, not a single person is still confused in front of the coffee machine or the barista when they see the wide offer, where names in Italian prevail. Americano, Caffe Latte, Capuccino, Flat White, Mochachino – what is hidden under the more common types of coffee drinks and how not to get confused when choosing coffee, reveals the expert of “Narvesen Coffee Club”, barista Gatis Silenieks.


This is the essence of coffee and the basis for most coffee drinks. A good Espresso has what coffee professionals call body (body – English): it means that the drink has substance, it is not liquid or watery, but relatively thick, it is covered by crema or a thin layer of coffee foam. The volume of the drink is about a third of a cup.


Although many have enjoyed a good Espresso, few know why they drink it. “People usually choose Espresso in the hope that it will give them a huge energy boost. However, Espresso, although the most intense in terms of taste, contains a small amount of caffeine. Caffeine is released when the water comes into contact with the coffee grounds, but Espresso is prepared very quickly, forcing the water through the fineness of the powder in 20-25 seconds. Thus, the drink gets the expressive taste, but does not manage to accumulate caffeine. You can drink up to 8 cups of Espresso a day and not absorb the amount of caffeine that we get by pouring our morning coffee in a cup and leaving it to infuse while we take a shower and prepare breakfast,” says Gatis Silenieks. So why drink Espresso? “Caffeine speeds up the metabolism and promotes the processing of ingested food products in the body, so it is accepted around the world to drink Espresso after lunch or other substantial meals in order to recover the feeling of lightness faster,” explains the barista.

Espresso drinking culture in Latvia is in its infancy, especially compared to its homeland Italy, which explains why the world of coffee drinks is dominated by names in Italian. If a Latvian in Italy were to order a Cappucino after a meal, the waiter would most likely not bring anything or serve Espresso anyway, because a Cappucino after lunch would seem an illogical choice to him. The best time for coffee with milk is the first half of the day until 12-14, because the body needs time to process dairy products. After lunch, you should already switch to Espresso or black coffee.

Double Espresso, on the other hand, is not twice as strong as Espresso, nor does it come at the expense of water volume. This means two identical doses of Espresso in one cup, the drink occupying 2/3 of the cup in volume.

Cafe Latte


In Italy, when ordering a Cafe Latte, you have to say the same – if you carelessly throw away “let me please”, you will get milk, because that’s what latte means in Italian. This is the lightest of all coffee drinks with the milkiest taste, where the ratio of coffee to milk is 1/7. The drink is based on one dose of Espresso. “Our observations show that Cafe Latte is more often chosen by girls, supplementing the drink with syrups of different flavors. In Narvesen, where every ninth customer buys coffee every day, Caffe Latte is consistently among the TOP3 most popular coffee choices,” says Gatis Silenieks.

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