What is the Hardest Coffee to Make? (Quick Read)

I remember years ago nailing my first really tasty mocha at home, but what is the truly hardest coffee to make yourself?

Baristas agree the hardest coffee to make is the Ristretto. With its layers of cream, milk, and syrup it takes a great deal of skill to perfect. Ristretto means “restricted” because you have to restrict the coffee extraction process to the first 20 seconds in order to get the best brew possible.

Join me as we take a magical mystery tour through the hardest coffee to make, the tastiest, the milkiest, the strongest – and the strangest. This should be fun!

What is the Hardest Coffee to Make?

What’s the Most Complicated Coffee To Make at Home?

Baristas seem unanimous that the Ristretto is a difficult coffee to get right.

It isn’t one of those fancy coffees with layers of cream and milk and syrup, as you might expect – it’s simply a fiendishly difficult little coffee that requires skill and precision to get right.

“Ristretto” means “restricted”, and it’s so-called because you have to restrict the extraction process. We all now know that it takes 30 seconds to make an espresso.

Apparently, the smoothest, sweetest brew comes through in the first 20 seconds. Stop the extraction at the right point, and you hit this (literal) sweet spot.

Judging exactly when to stop the extraction is hard: you have to get it somewhere between under-extracted and bitter, and it becoming an actual espresso. Buona fortuna!

What’s the Hardest Coffee Order to Make at Starbucks?

We reckon that those experienced baristas can cope with any order. According to the Starbucks staff quoted in this Insider article, the hardest coffee order was a venti-sized  iced, 10-shot ristretto with breve, vanilla and caramel syrups, Splenda, and poured (not shaken).

We’ve just looked at how tricky the ristretto is to master: now do ten. In rapid succession. 

What is the Strangest Coffee You Can Make?

From civet-poop coffee to the weird hipster trend of adding butter to your Americano, there have been some weird and wonderful coffee trends around. 

One of the most unusual coffees we’ve come across (that’s easy to make and doesn’t cost a fortune) is the Portuguese Mazagran. It blends espresso with lemon juice to create a refreshing iced drink that frankly, sounds like one of the weirdest flavor combinations ever.

If you want to test your tastebuds, you’ll need a shot of espresso, the same amount of water, ice, and fresh lemon juice. If it’s too sour, you can add sweetener. Let us know what it’s like!

What is Starbucks’ Strongest Coffee?

In Starbucks and needing a caffeine hit? If the store has the right equipment, order a Clover Brewed coffee, as this system produces seriously caffeinated cups. A Starbucks grande cup of Clover Brewed coffee will have 380 mg of caffeine.

We’ve heard that the Starbucks Blonde Roast is strong: is that true? When beans are roasted “blonde”, they’re actually exposed to high heat for a shorter time.

However, it’s a myth that blonde beans retain more caffeine, because caffeine is extremely stable under roasting conditions and doesn’t diminish during the process.

Is Long Black the Strongest Coffee You Can Make?

How strong is a long black coffee? Well, that’s entirely up to you, as you can change the coffee-to-water ratio to suit your own taste (or need for caffeine). 

But what is a long black? Basically, it’s a variation on the Americano, popular in Australia and New Zealand. It has the same two simple ingredients as an Americano: espresso shots and hot water. How is a long black different from an Americano?

When you make an Americano, you add hot water to a shot or two of espresso. With a long black, you put the water in the cup first and then pour the shots of coffee into it. The advantage of this (according to Aussie baristas, anyway) is that you get a better crema.

Here’s how to make the perfect long black coffee. And if you want to raise your coffee game – make it with a couple of shots of ristretto instead of espresso.

What is the Tastiest Coffee in the World?

We’re sorry: we really can’t answer this one, as a love of coffee is so subjective. If you went into a Starbucks and asked the customers what their favorite cup of joe is, you’d get everything from iced lattes to doppios.

Some people love to add syrups and sugars to add extra taste, while others prefer the purity of a well-roasted bean, served as an espresso.

But what if we asked a coffee aficionado? Again, it’s personal preference to some extent, but we gather that that infamous civet-poop coffee is delicious (it certainly has an upscale price tag). 

If you don’t fancy coffee that’s passed through a mammal’s digestive system, try the much sought-after Jamaican Blue Mountain. This coffee is described as sweet and mellow, with very little bitterness.

What's the Most Complicated Coffee To Make at Home?
What’s the Most Complicated Coffee To Make at Home?

What is the Milkiest Coffee You Can Make?

If you enjoy a milky coffee, go for a latte. A latte is made from a shot of espresso topped up with steamed milk, with frothy milk on top. You can add ice for a cooling summer drink, or add chocolate to create a mocha. 

Is a latte milkier than a cappuccino? In terms of coffee-to-milk ratio, they’re pretty similar: one-third coffee, the rest milk.  

How does a flat white compare? This is slightly trickier to prepare, as it’s a shot of coffee topped with textured milk.

Textured milk is when the milk and foam are gently swirled to form a blend, rather than being served as separate layers. The flat white has the strongest coffee flavor of these three milky beverages.

What is the Most Basic Coffee Order? (You Can Make Easily at Home)

We’re tempted to say “a mug of instant”, which is most definitely the easiest homemade coffee, followed closely by drip coffee. Or, you can really cheat and use a pod machine like a Nespresso.

For a barista, the most basic coffee to make is the single espresso. This is the foundation of just about every drink they prepare, so a cup of espresso on its own is a walk in the park. 

You can easily make an espresso at home with the right equipment, and you’ll soon get the hang of measuring and tamping the ground coffee. You can add an extra step by adding hot water to make an Americano, or top it up with warm milk for a DIY latte-style drink.

Who knows – you might work up towards making that precision-extracted ristretto when you get used to your espresso machine…