What is latte? You probably have seen these long lists of coffee names and you ask yourself, what are they and what is their base, really? And latte is one of the most popular coffee variants that you will see in most coffee joints and coffee chains. I used to wonder what latte is and what specialty it offers.
It turns out that latte is a coffee-based beverage with milk. Unlike the milk variants (such as milkshake) that may have smooth, soft, and sweet milky taste, the latte still punches the strong caffeine content and coffee flavor. So, what should you know about this beverage, anyway?
The History and Origin
What is latte history? When we are talking about the latte, the history can be a bit confusing. Sure, the name comes from the Italian word, meaning milk. But if you come to Italy and walk into many of its cafes or restaurants, and you ask for a latte, they will give you a glass of milk. If you want to enjoy the coffee latte, you need to ask for caffe latte when you are in Italy, and then they will give you the coffee-based milky drink. If you come to Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries, you should ask for a cafe con leche. If you are in northern Europe and France, you should ask for a cafe au lait.
As it was mentioned before, the history of latte isn’t really accurate or exact. The European people have always been adding milk to their coffee for a very long time – even centuries – in France, Austria, Germany, Spain, and Italy. However, the modern coffee latte with the addition of espresso shot is considered to be made by the Americans. Latte became very popular in 1980 in Seattle and it had spread widely to other parts of America in the 90s. At the same time, most places in Europe had introduced and popularized their own version of cafe au lait – made from the mixture of espresso and steamed milk.
What is Latte, The Perfect Beverage with Milky Content
Why is latte so special? What makes it different from other beverages, including a cup of coffee that is mixed with the milk, for instance? Well, you need to look back at the making process as well as the ingredients. The regular latte is made by combining one espresso shot and 8 oz of steamed milk. If you choose the bigger latte, then it is generally made with a double espresso shot. It is also possible to top the beverage with foam or syrup or other toppings. You should read our post on how much caffeine in a latte for better understanding.
What is the difference between cappuccino, macchiato, and latte? Most people believe that latte is just the same as cappuccino. Others believe that latte is just another name for the macchiato. Well, it is pretty close. Latte is close to cappuccino, but latte has more steamed milk and less the foamy milk. The macchiato has the espresso and foamy milk but it doesn’t have the steamed milk. Now you understand the basic difference, right?
What about the iced latte? Latte is a flexible beverage – it can be served warm or cold. If you want the iced latte, you will get chilled milk along with espresso that is served with ice. In most cases, the ice will be blended for better texture and consistency.
The Signature Style
Let’s not forget that latte has its own signature style. When you are referring to the modern beverage of latte, it is the espresso that makes it very different. The espresso is the punchy substance that differentiates the coffee latte from the regular milky drinks. The espresso is the kick of taste and energy of the beverage. Without it, your latte will be the regular milk product.
Keep in mind that espresso is the concentrated drink made from the pressure brewing process. Because of the creating process and the concentrated result, the espresso has more and denser caffeine – when compared to other beverages. However, if you like the smooth and milky taste and yet you don’t want to give up the punchy caffeine kick, the latte would be your best option.
Another signature style of the latte is latte art – which is pretty new but quite popular. It is basically about the beautiful and artistic presentation of the latte with white milk on the top surface. It can be shaped and formed into various designs, such as flowers, animals, and others. The latte art is made with the frothy steamed milk – added after the coffee has been added. A skillful barista can create amazing designs in any form that they want with the milk. It is like painting with the coffee as their canvas.
Whatever coffee variant that you like, it depends on your personal preference and option. The latte can be a good option – not to mention the art too. Now you know the facts and knowledge about what is latte, do you still want to try it?