What is Upside Down Coffee (With Upside-Down Recipes)

The term “upside-down coffee” kinda lets me think of a world without gravity. Like, when you order it the barista turns the cup upside down and by some magic, it doesn’t fall out.

Technically, it is true, but not quite in the crazy way that I just described. In short, with an upside-down coffee, the ingredients are added in reverse order. The ingredient that is usually added first will now be last and the last will be first. So, the coffee is literally made upside down because the top ingredient is now at the bottom of the cup. This could give you a different flavor profile to enjoy.

Me holding a Starbucks caramel macchiato.

Upside-Down Coffee Recipes

Here are some great Starbucks drinks swopped around so you can try making an upside-down drink for your next cup of coffee.

Upside-Down Flat White

A flat white is a very simple example to use to explain upside-down coffee. Usually, you would add a double shot of espresso to your cup. Next, you would add steamed milk. Starbucks recommends using whole milk when making a flat white for the best-textured milk. Also, try using Starbucks’s signature espresso roastIt is a dark roast and perfect for this drink.

To make this drink upside down, you would simply start with the milk so it is the bottom layer and then add the espresso.

Did you know that the base for the actual Starbucks drink is ristretto shots? These shots are also called a short shot because it has a shorter extraction time than a regular shot and thus it is made with less water​. This is why the name is quite suitable because ristretto means restricted In Italian. You use a restricted amount of water.

Upside-Down Macchiatos

Caramel Macchiato

A popular drink that is often made in an upside-down manner is a caramel macchiato. The order for a regular caramel macchiato is vanilla syrup then espresso followed by frothed milk and lastly caramel sauce. The upside-down version would be first caramel sauce followed by frothed milk and then espresso, topped with vanilla sauce. 

Iced Caramel Macchiato

An upside-down iced caramel macchiato has a similar assembly to its hot counterpart, you start with the caramel sauce followed by milk. To make it an iced caramel macchiato you need to add ice after the milk. From here it is once again like the hot version. You add two shots of espresso and the final step is to add a drizzle of vanilla syrup.

Maple Cinnamon Macchiato

Another kind of upside-down macchiato that you can try is a maple cinnamon macchiato. It is made with a lungo shot. So the first thing that you have to know when making this drink is what is a lungo shot.

Lungo is an Italian word for long. This means that a lungo shot is a long shot. It has a longer extraction time although it is made with the same amount of coffee.

Okay, so here is the recipe for an upside-down maple cinnamon macchiato. First, mix one tablespoon of maple syrup with 1/2 cup of oat milk and froth it. Next, brew a lungo shot and add it to the frothed milk. Add some of the foam on top of the drink and sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon over.

Starbucks recommends using their Pike Place coffee beans when making a maple cinnamon macchiato. Which, by the way, is my favorite coffee roast at the moment.

Pike Place Espresso Beans in packet with moka pot and French press.

Upside-Down Latte

A regular latte is made by adding steamed milk and a layer of foam to an espresso shot. With the upside-down version, the steamed milk is added first, followed by the espresso, and topped with some milk foam.

Upside-Down Blonde Vanilla Latte

Another type of latte that you can make upside down is a blonde vanilla latte. To make this drink, add vanilla syrup to your cup, followed by steamed milk. Next, add a double shot of espresso made with Starbucks’s blonde roast espresso beans (if you are wondering what the difference between blonde roast and normal espresso is, I wrote an entire post about it). Now, top it with milk foam.

Blonde Espresso Beans in packet with moka pot and French press.

Upside-Down Espresso Shot

Instead of topping your shots of espresso with milk, you will add the espresso to the milk to make an upside-down espresso.

Conclusion: Upside-Down Coffee Meaning

Basically, all of the delicious drinks that you love, can be made upside down. Although they are not necessarily on official Starbucks menus, you can always ask the barista to make it that way for you. And as a coffee lover you probably like trying out new drinks and now you have a good reason to do so.

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