The classic latte is the quintessential milk-and-coffee drink. Specifically, it consists of one or two shots of strong espresso with steamed milk added on top. The word latte is actually short for the Italian word caffè latte which translates to “milk coffee”. It is pronounced as lah tey in the U.S. and laa tey in Britain.
It other parts of Europe, it is called café au lait. In the United States, latte is sometimes called a wet cappuccino (you will learn more about the differences between a “wet” and “dry” cappuccino in the next section).
If you want some foam on top, the barista will add “microfoam”, which is thick, velvety foamed milk prepared with a steam wand. If you are fond of making latte art, it helps to know that 2-percent milk makes better foam. However, if you want your latte to taste more full and creamy, then whole milk would be your best bet.
A single serving of a small latte usually consists of the following:
- 5 ounces of milk
- 1 ½ ounces of espresso
The classic Italian cappuccino is a favorite in most coffee shops. It consists of equal parts of espresso, steam milk, and milk foam. However, the modern-day cappuccino is made by pouring a shot or two of espresso into a tall cup and then spooning the thick foam on top.
Sometimes, a bit of microfoam is added on top of the espresso before the regular milk foam is added. Most of the time, a dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg and even whipped cream are added on top.
The term cappuccino is Italian and is pronounced as ka pu chee now. The name was inspired by the Capuchin friars, because the color of the beverage is similar to their habits.
Now you may have heard about a dry cappuccino and a wet one. If you’re wondering about the difference between the two, the answer relies on the amount of steamed versus foamed milk. In a dry cappuccino, there is more foam than steamed, while the case is opposite in a wet cappuccino.