Lattes (or Caffe Lattes) are espresso drinks made with a fairly large amount of foamed milk. They are milkier than cappuccinos. In America, many lattes are prepared as flavored lattes.
In northern Europe and Scandinavia, the term café au lait has traditionally been used for the combination of espresso and milk. In France, caffè latte is mostly known from the original Italian name of the drink (caffè latte or caffelatte); a combination of espresso and steamed milk equivalent to a "latte" is in French called grand crème and in German Milchkaffee or (in Austria) Wiener Melange.
If you're a habitual latte drinker, investing in a basic espresso maker and learning to make lattes can save you an enormous amount of money each year.
How It's Served
- A latte is sometimes served in a bowl; in Europe, particularly Scandinavia, this is referred to as a café au lait.
- Increasingly common in the United States and Europe, latte art has led to the stylization of coffee making, and the creation of what is now a popular art form. Created by pouring steaming, and mostly frothed, milk into the coffee, that liquid is introduced into the beverage in such a way that patterns are distinguishable on the top of the coffee. Popular patterns can include hearts, flowers, trees and other forms of simplistic representations of images and objects.
- Iced latte is often served unstirred so that coffee appears to "float" on top of white milk in a glass cup.
- A variation of the iced latte is an iced espresso ordered in a larger than normal cup filled up with free milk.
- In Asia and North America, lattes have been combined with Asian teas. Coffee and tea shops now offer hot or iced latte versions of chai, matcha, and Royal milk tea.
- Other flavorings can be added to the latte to suit the taste of the drinker. Vanilla, chocolate, and caramel are all popular variants.
- In South Africa, a red latte is made with rooibos tea.
- An alternative version of latte can be prepared with soy milk or oat milk, as both have the ability to foam in the same way as cow milk, with soy milk versions being more prevalent. Such alternatives are popular among people with lactose intolerance and vegans.
More About Espresso
Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has crema on top (a foam with a creamy consistency).
As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.
Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee, contrary to a common belief.
- Pull your espresso shot in your latte cup.
- (Optional) Add a shot of flavored syrup for a flavored latte.
- Using a spoon to retain the microbubbles on top of the steamed milk, pour the bottom 2/3 of the steamed milk from the steaming pitcher into the latte cup.
- Top the latte with the remaining bubbles. (You can spoon them onto your drink if desired.)
- (Optional) Add latte art.