Making coffee can be one of the easiest things in the world and yet we can find more and more complicated ways to do it. We live in an advanced coffee culture where coffee is the most popular drink on the planet. We start to enjoy things like cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos and doubt that we can do them at home. A trap some people fall into is buying the instant versions of coffee shop drinks, which inevitably taste inferior, instead of just making the drinks themselves at home.
You Can Do It!
The most important thing to realize about coffee-making is that, no matter what you might think, there is no type of coffee-shop coffee that is really very difficult to make, despite the fancy names. An americano is just a normal coffee: coffee, hot water and maybe some milk on the side. A cappuccino is coffee, milk, and frothed milk, usually with chocolate sprinkles and shavings on top. A latte is milky coffee in a glass, and a mocha is the same thing with chocolate. A macchiato is coffee with frothed milk on top. Each fancy word basically means coffee, milk and froth in some combination (and maybe chocolate or other flavoring), with everything else being pretty much a matter of presentation.
Espresso or Not…
The coffee in each drink is made by an espresso machine, and a basic espresso machine is really all you need to start making coffee at home: once you can put beans in the top and get espresso out the bottom, there aren’t really any other features you need. This simple fact means that there’s not much difference between the cheapest and the most expensive coffee machines if you know what you’re doing. To make your coffee stronger, you just put in more espresso; to make the different drinks, you use different quantities of the different ingredients. This isn’t to say that you HAVE to purchase an espresso machine. I don’t have one and I make different coffee drinks using my regularly brewed coffee as a base. It all comes down to what you like.