Cappuccinos, Americanos, or Espressos are all coffee beverages that most people commonly drink and know how to make. However, the Latte is slightly more elusive but offers a rich, frothy, creamy drink that is simple to make and delicious to drink. So, let’s take a closer look at the Latte and how to make them.
What is a Latte and What Does Latte Mean?
A Latte is a coffee beverage that originated in Italy. Latte is the shortened “English” name for the traditional Italian name Cafe Latte, which translates to “coffee and milk.”
It is unsurprising then that the two ingredients that make a Latte are a shot of espresso and steamed milk. When looking at a Cappuccino vs Latte, a Cappuccino is usually 180ml, a Latte is a taller drink that measures approximately 300ml.
How to Make a Latte at Home
A Cappuccino is traditionally equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. However, a Latte has a slightly different composition and is less caffeinated, although the ingredients are the same. To make a Latte, you can use a coffee machine with a pre-set option to make this beverage. However, if you don’t have a coffee machine, you can still learn how to make a Latte at home using this recipe:
- 1/3 Cup Espresso ( You can make this using a stove-top espresso pot, an Aeropress, or a coffee plunger and strong ground espresso beans.)
- Non-Fat Milk
- Make your Espresso using your ground coffee beans. You’ll want to start with approximately 1/3 cup of Espresso. However, if you prefer it stronger, you can add a little more.
- Then, fill a jar with a lid with your milk and shake it until the milk forms a layer of foam and doubles in volume (about a minute of shaking is generally enough.)
- Next, remove the lid from the jar and place the milk in the microwave. Heat the milk for 30 seconds. This will warm the milk and cause the foam to rise to the top and “set.”
- Pour the Espresso into a Latte mug, then using the back of a spoon, gently pour the milk into the coffee before scooping any remaining foam onto the top.
Although making a homemade Latte is relatively straightforward, there are a few important questions to answer:
- Do You Make a Latte with Milk or Coffee First?
When learning how to make a Latte, a pro barista will tell you that a Latte is typically served layered, with the Espresso as the bottom layer, topped by the steamed milk, and then the foam. Additionally, the Espresso is heavier and denser than the steamed milk, which means it will settle at the bottom. As a result, the coffee (Espresso) is always poured into the cup or Latte mug first. Then, the steamed milk is poured onto the coffee layer (pouring the milk over the back of a spoon keeps the layers separated more efficiently), followed by a layer of milk foam.
- What is the Perfect Ratio for a Latte?
While a Cappuccino is typically equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, a Latte has a construction with a unique ratio. Typically, the ideal ratio for a Latte is 1/3 Espresso and 2/3 steamed milk with a thin layer of silky milk foam on top.
- Do you Put Sugar in the Latte?
Traditionally, a Latte is made without sugar (unlike an Irish Coffee), and should the consumer wish to add their own sugar, they may. However, the Latte is sometimes made with flavored syrups like hazelnut, vanilla, or toffee. In this case, you would add the syrup into the shot of Espresso and stir it in before adding the milk.
How to Make a Matcha Latte?
If you want to know how to make a Latte with Matcha, the steps are similar to a traditional Latte. However, you would mix one teaspoon of Matcha powder with one teaspoon of honey and a third of a cup of hot water. This Matcha brew replaces the Espresso in the recipe. However, the remainder of the steps and ingredients remain the same. But, if you’re looking for a Vegan-friendly option, you can always use Vegan honey and replace cow’s milk with coconut milk.
How do You Decorate a Latte?
Latte art traditionally refers to creating detailed designs on the top of the Latte foam using steamed milk and Espresso crema. However, this can also be done using Latte art stencils and cocoa powder sprinkled atop the stencil to create a pattern on the foam. If you would rather use this method (it’s much simpler), you can order a range of unique stencils online. When visiting a Latte cafe, you’ll generally find the baristas free pour the coffee, pouring the milk on the coffee from a particular height and in a unique motion to cause patterning in the crema.
What are the 3 Different Styles of Latte Art Called?
When pouring microfoam into a Latte to create Latte art, baristas use the same ingredients as any cafe and have three unique styles they must learn. These three styles, the Rosetta, the Tulip, and the Heart, all form the basis for more intricate pouring patterns. However, the Heart is the most simple, while the Rosetta is seen as slightly more tricky. All of these techniques require practice as it’s not just how the Latte looks, but how it tastes that makes it an exceptional drink.