What is a Caffè Latte?
A Caffè Latte is an Italian espresso-based drink consisting of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Variations of the Caffè Latte (or Cafe Latte) have been around for centuries but surged in popularity in the US and Europe in the 20th century. Making a latte involves steaming the milk and using some to create a dry foam for a beautiful three-layered presentation.
About the Caffe Latte
|Coffee : Milk Ratio
|1 : 5 : 1 – espresso : steamed milk : foam
|Type of Milk
|steamed and froth
|glass cup like an Irish coffee mug
|Sugar or Added Flavors
|optional – there are different flavors of lattes created by syrups like Torani syrup
|you don’t need an expensive espresso machine to make a caffe latte if you don’t have one at home – you could try a Moka Pot, AeroPress, or even buy espresso coffee sticks
Caffe Latte Variations
Apart from regular lattes, there are other variations available such as double shots, soy lattes, breve lattes (made with half-and-half), chai lattes (a tea variation), flavored lattes, and even cold brew lattes. These variations can be further enhanced with different flavorings, such as chocolate or caramel syrup, to suit your taste buds. Additionally, some variations can also be prepared using almond, soy, cashew, or oat milk for those who opt for dairy alternatives.
Have you heard someone in line at your favorite coffee shop order a layered latte and wonder what the heck it is and why it’s not on the menu? Well, a layered latte has the same ingredients as a Caffe Latte. However, the espresso and steamed milk are poured in reverse order. Instead of starting with the espresso and combining it with steamed milk, the milk goes first. Then, the espresso is added, followed by the milk foam.
By switching up the ingredients, you end up with a beautiful three-layered latte. It’s the perfect drink to serve in a clear glass mug.
How To Make a Caffè Latte
It’s all about the proportions when you’re making a Latte or any coffee drink. Once you have those down, you can take things to the next level with flavorings, toppings, or milk alternatives.
A Caffè Latte is:
- One part espresso
- 5 parts steamed milk (although some recipes call for up to 8 parts)
- One to two parts milk froth or foam
The espresso is first in the cup, followed by the milk, and then the foam.
- Prepare the espresso – you can use an espresso or Nespresso machine. But, if you don’t have one, you can also use a Moka pot, Aeropress, or even an espresso coffee stick.
- Steam your choice of milk to approximately 160 degrees – use six times as much milk as espresso (as you need one part for the milk foam. So, if you’re using one shot of espresso, you should steam six ounces of milk.
- Pour most of your steamed milk into the cup with the espresso.
- Using your choice of a milk frother, turn the remainder of the steamed milk into a light and airy foam.
- Spoon the foam on top – and maybe even do a little latte art to complete your masterpiece.
Note: If you’re going to turn your latte into an iced latte, consider a 1:2 ratio of espresso to milk to avoid a watered-down drink that’s not as enjoyable.
How To Serve Lattes
When it comes to what type of cup you should use for your latte, you can use either a standard ceramic mug or even a glass. However, if you want to experience the full taste and aroma of a latte, then you should consider using a classic cappuccino cup since they are specifically designed to make lattes more enjoyable by showcasing the foam.
Spillin’ the Beans Espresso Making Alternatives
The traditional Caffè Latte is made with a 1:5:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Some coffee shops use as much as a 1:8:1 ratio, though.
Recipe: How To Make a Red Velvet Latte
Red Velvet Latte
- 1 ounce espresso
- 6 ounces milk
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips
- 1 dash red food color
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Put the milk in a saucepan and heat until it's just about to boil
- While the milk is heating, prepare a serving of espresso in your favorite cup or mug
- When the milk is steaming, add a tiny bit of food color, and then divide the red mixture in half
- Add the chocolate chips to one half of the milk and let sit to melt
- Using a milk frother, whip the other half of the milk into a red, dreamy foamy mixture
- When the chocolate chips are melted, add the vanilla, and use the frother to whip the other half of the milk into a smoother mixture (but not frothy)
- Stir the chocolate milk into the espresso, top with the froth, and decorate with some chocolate shavings
Frequently Asked Questions About the Caffè Latte
A caffè latte is a popular espresso-based beverage. It is typically made with one ounce (one shot) of espresso, five ounces of milk, and topped with foamed milk. Caffè lattes can also include syrups or spices for added flavor. While many Americans shorten the name to Latte, ordering a Latte in Italy gets you a cup of milk.
While you’ll find specific latte cups and mugs that are ideal for the hot beverage, cappuccino cups and tall glass mugs are also used for caffè lattes.
Both beverages are made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam. However, coffee comes first in the latte, followed by the milk, and then the foam. A latte macchiato layers the components (starting with the steamed milk) and uses more espresso than the caffè latte.
Starbucks switches up its menu from time to time. However, some of the most popular flavors of Starbucks lattes include the Caramel Brulee, Vanilla, standard Caffè Latte, and the Starbucks Reserve (made with two Starbucks Reserve espresso shots).