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What Is A Latte? (ABC Guide)

Whether you like it or not, there's a plethora of coffee drinks to choose from, depending on the strength, flavor, aroma, and smoothness you like!

For you late coffee bloomers, a latte is a staple in coffee drinking and loving. 

In this guide, I review the basics of latte-making.

hmc _ what is a latte

But on the brighter side, mastering the art of coffee making gives you the advantage of being able to enjoy the coffee you love anytime you want. This article will tell you everything you need to know about lattes including what a latte is, what goes into making a latte and what the ways to enjoy a latte are!

​What Is A Latte?

Latte is perhaps one of the most popular names used, heard, and requested in coffeehouses. But despite its popularity, a lot of coffee lovers don't know much about lattes (including me before I started this blog).

First and foremost, the term "​Latte​" is an Italian word which means milk.

And the main ingredient of lattes apart from of course, espresso, is milk.

Cafe Latte is the complete name for this traditional coffee drink.

Latte is one of the many types of espresso-based coffee drinks. Alongside cafe latte are espresso macchiato, espresso con panna, cafe breve, cappuccino, and cafe americano (all Italian names, if you haven't noticed!).

what is a latte facts

​How Do You Make A Cafe Latte?

As mentioned earlier, cafe latte is one of  the variants of espresso based beverages.

This simply means that espresso is the main component of these drinks and they differ on the amount of espresso used as well as the types of ingredients added into the mix. 

First and foremost, you need to know how to make a great espresso and measure in shots before you can make your very own cafe latte.

Once you know how to brew a really good espresso, making a cafe latte should be a breeze.

A Cafe Latte is made of a shot (one ounce) of espresso and about six to eight ounces of steamed milk.

A latte is then topped with little to no milk foam as distinct from a cappucino.

Lightmilk foam for lattes

You can make the right amount of milk foam for a latte easily at home. Here's a quick recipe:

Easy 1-2-3 recipe for steamed milk for lattes

  1. Place high fat milk in a mason jar and shake the jar vigorously for about half a minute. 
  2. Unscrew the lid and heat the milk inside the microwave oven for about 30 to 40 seconds. 
  3. Pour directly over your espresso.

Enjoy your perfect cafe latte!

What is a milk frother for lattes?

Milk foam is an important component in making Cafe Latte and other espresso based drinks. Although you can make milk froth manually, doing so still takes a lot of effort (who wants to break a sweat making milk froth for lattes?).

A milk frother on the other hand is a machine specially intended to yield milk froth at the right texture, volume, and temperature automatically.

Most of these machines can be adjusted to produce a certain level of milk froth thickness particularly for Cappuccino and Cafe Latte. For a latte, you need "crema" consistency, which is a very light, fine milk froth. 

Need a milk frother? Click here to see my reviews of the best milk frothers for lattes.

Watch this video to see how to make your very own caramel cafe latte at home, (one of my favorite dessert coffee drinks):

​What Is The Difference Between Cafe Latte And Cappuccino?

Both cappuccino and cafe latte are specialty coffee drinks derived from espresso. They are also have the same basic ingredients, just at different measurements and consistencies - espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. 

The main and only difference between lattes and cappucinos is the amount of steamed milk used.

Cappuccino requires about 1/3 steamed milk whereas cafe latte includes more than half steamed milk.

​Which is stronger: Cappuccino or Cafe Latte?

You might be wondering which of the two coffee drinks is stronger or has greater intensity since both are classified as espresso based beverages.

Although in most cases, both cafe latte and cappuccino contain the same amount (one ounce) of espresso, lattes have more steamed milk, making them a little milder than cappuccinos.

Cappuccino on the other has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Overall, cappuccino contains more espresso by volume and therefore, is stronger compared to cafe latte.

​Final Thought

Cafe Latte is just one of many variants of espresso based coffee drinks, but it's a traditional coffee drink you should know well, on your way to coffee mastery.

It is a little lighter compared to cappuccino, but a creamier alternative to cafe americano and espresso macchiato.

Your love for coffee is a lot more meaningful if you know the different coffee drink variants and how they are made.

You can make your own latte at home with a few simple ingredients, great espresso and some relatively inexpensive tools.

Get brewing!

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