Ah yes, the latte. The most famous and sought out type of coffee. It's so popular that there is no shortage of this type of coffee in any cafe around the world. But despite its fame, not a lot of people know what makes a latte a latte.
The mention of the word "coffee" is enough to make people think of lattes. This rich and creamy espresso-infused drink has won the hearts of thousands of casual coffee drinkers and even die-hard fans. But what exactly is in a latte?
What is a latte?
Latte is derived from "caffè e latte," which is the Italian word for "coffee and milk." This is a classic type of coffee that contains two important ingredients. These are steamed milk and espresso.
Typically, a latte consists of 2/3 steamed milk, 1/3 espresso, and a thin layer of fluffy foam on top. But there is no rule saying that you can't make a few adjustments here and there. After all, baristas will need to adjust this according to the size of the drink. However, the typical size of a latte is between 10 to 12 ounces.
Why do people love lattes so much?
You're probably thinking, "It's just espresso and milk with a bit of foam on top. But why do people love this drink so much?". Well, despite having such common main ingredients, lattes are customizable. There are a lot of flavor options when it comes to lattes.
You simply need to add vanilla, mocha, white mocha, peppermint, caramel, or any other flavored syrup to your latte to change its flavor. Additionally, you can change the type of milk you use into an oat, almond, soy, and even coconut. Lastly, tea lovers could substitute the espresso with matcha, masala chai, rooibos, or any other type of tea.
Lattes are also quite mild, which makes them the perfect drink for coffee lovers who don't enjoy sipping on bitter or strong coffee. Despite the espresso content, the milk helps dilute the strength of the coffee to produce a more rich and light drink.
Chances are, if you ask your local coffee shop's barista if they enjoy making lattes, they would answer "Yes!" with a huge smile on their face. This is because brewing latte is an art form. You've seen a ton of latte arts on social media. As easy as it looks, it actually takes long hours of practice and a steady hand to pull it off.
The creation of latte masterpieces comes in the form of pouring steamed milk into your cup of espresso. Latte artists often draw intricate patterns, leaves, or hearts, and even flowers. But a lot of artists go out of their way and recreate famous paintings like Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night on their cup of sweet coffee.
History of the Latte
How exactly did the latte come into existence? Countless people have already been enjoying the coffee and milk combination since the 1600s. As the years went by, people came up with different names for this specific beverage.
Austrian coffee houses called it Kapuziner in late 1700. the Kapuziner had coffee, cream, sugar, and a couple of spices. This drink soon evolved into the Italian cappuccino.
However, the term "caffè e latte" only surfaced in 1867. William Dean Howells introduced this term in one of his essays about his journey in Italy. But despite the origin of the word being Italian, the latte was invented by Americans. If you take a closer look at the history of coffee, you won't see the term "latte" in any of the French or Italian menus.
The reason why it's called a latte is that it's actually short for "caffe latte," which means coffee and milk. But as time went by, the term "latte" was used to refer to a beverage containing espresso and a lot of milk.
What are the different types of lattes?
The latte is very versatile because of its wide range of flavors and milk options. It's no surprise that some people get confused when it comes to the different types of espresso beverages. You'll see a couple of beverages that are often mistaken as lattes.
The latte macchiato, as the name suggests, is a mixture of both latte and macchiato. The general procedure followed when making a latte is espresso is poured in the glass first, and it is followed by the milk.
When making a latte macchiato, on the other hand, you reverse the procedure. This means the milk goes in first, and the espresso follows. Before the milk is added, the barista makes sure to steam it until it achieves a smooth and velvety consistency. After putting the milk in the cup, they pour in the espresso slowly to create a layered drink.
The main difference between a latte and a latte macchiato is the order the ingredients are poured into the cup. But there is also a slight difference in the amount of espresso used. Since a latte macchiato requires less espresso, this produces a lighter but more creamy drink.
Café Au Lait
A café au lait closely resembles a latte mainly because it has both coffee and milk in it. But the difference between the two coffee variants is the type of coffee used to make them. Lattes use espresso, while café au lait uses drip coffee.
A café au lait typically has ½ steamed milk and ½ drip coffee. Lattes have 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso. Since drip coffee requires more water, it produces a drink that is more light and has less caffeine.
Cappuccinos share the same amount of espresso used in lattes. There's usually one or two shots of espresso in every cup. But the difference between these two drinks comes in the form of size, ingredients, as well as strength or potency.
Baristas are more generous when it comes to the amount of fluffy foam on top when making a cappuccino. It is also relatively smaller than a latte with a total of 6 ounces (3 ounces of milk and 3 ounces of espresso).
How to Make a Latte
You can order a latte in any coffee shop in the world. It's the most common and popular drink, after all. But you can make a latte in the comfort of your own home if you own an espresso machine and have the right type of coffee beans. Check out Lifeboost Coffee for the healthiest and tastiest coffee possible.
Although there are a lot of video tutorials on how to brew a latte at home, we are more than happy to provide a guide for you to follow. Here's a list of ingredients and tools that you will need.
· 10 to 12-ounce cup
· Ground espresso beans (16.5 grams)
· 7 to 9 ounces of milk
· Milk frother
· Espresso machine
Steps to brewing a latte
1. Pull one to two shots of espresso using your espresso machine. Remember to use your 10 to 12-ounce cup.
2. While the machine is brewing your espresso, steam your milk.
3. Set the two ingredients aside and prepare your foam with your milk frother.
4. Slowly pour your milk into the 10 to 12-ounce cup containing your espresso.
5. Finish off the drink with a bit of foam on top.
"Regular lattes are boring."
If the sentence above has ever crossed your mind, try out other latte options. It's a very versatile drink, and it can go with almost anything.
Latte and tea
Are you more of a tea lover? Well, great news. You can substitute espresso with your favorite tea. All you have to do is steep the tea and add in steamed milk.
Don't enjoy hot beverages that much but still need your caffeine fix? Would you rather have a drink that can cool you off on a hot summer's day? Then an iced latte is a perfect drink for you. It's fairly easy to make an iced latte. The same procedure applies, but the only difference is instead of using steamed milk, you pour in cold milk instead. Add a few ice cubes to keep and cool, and you've got yourself a refreshing caffeinated beverage.
If you're fairly new to the coffee community, starting with a latte will better prepare your palette for other types of coffee. It's easy to make, and there is no shortage of this beverage in cafes regardless of which country you're in.
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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content.
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