Everything You Wanted To Know About Latte Coffee Drinks
Who doesn’t love a tall, creamy glass of freshly brewed Latte? It’s one of the most popular of all coffee drinks that is enjoyed across the world!
Is It Italian?
When you think of the word “Latte” you might instantly imagine Italy, because the word is Italian. However, despite its Italian name, the coffee drink doesn’t actually come from Italy and even today, if you visit Italy and order a Latte in a café you will get a tall glass of hot (or cold)…milk! That’s because the word Latte in Italian means milk.
So, as a word of caution if you’re in Italy and want a Latte, ask for a Café Latte. When you put the words Café Latte together, you get coffee with milk which is more or less what the Latte we all know and love is.
God Bless America!
Our modern-day Latte drink is thanks to American coffee society, which gained immense popularity in the 1980’s (thank TV show “Friends” for the surge in café culture). It was the Americans who coined the single word “Latte” which refers to the tall, creamy and dreamy coffee drink we all know and love.
Making it At Home
If you just want to know a little more about the humble Latte, then we can tell you that it appears on most café and restaurant menus and it can easily be made at home too with the right machinery.
A Latte is prepared using a large amount of steamed milk with an espresso shot (or shots). Then, the coffee drink is topped up with a half an inch of foam (on average). Lattes are milk-based coffee drinks that aren’t made with sugar although many people like to add sugar to their drink, or even add flavored syrup to give it that little extra sweetness and an altered taste.
How to Make The Perfect Latte Drink?
If you’re at home and you want to make your own Latte, you do need the right equipment. You’ll need to get hold of the following:
- A quality coffee machine with a steam wand (or steam arm)
- A milk jug (usually stainless steel)
- Fresh milk
- Espresso coffee
Fill your filter basket with your desired coffee and get it ready to brew.
While your machine is brewing the coffee into the glass, pour the milk into the jug, using approximately 1/3 portion.
Then it’s time to heat up the milk.
Do this by placing the machine’s arm just below the top of the milk and start it up.
As the milk starts to heat up, slowly move the steam arm down so that the milk starts to swirl around. Keep an eye on the milk as you don’t want it to over-boil (this ruins the flavor).
Once the milk is ready, pour it very slowly into your glass. Start from a relatively high position (a couple of inches above the glass is perfect) and lower the milk jug as you fill the glass.
Are Lattes Healthy?
Well, they aren’t health drinks but they do have their benefits. Lattes are popular because they are so comforting and delicious; however, they are quite calorific. While they are made from Espresso coffee, they contain far more milk than other coffees such as Cappuccinos or flat whites.
On a positive note, your average Latte drink contains approximately 10g of protein (which comes from milk) but they also contain 5 grams of fat. If you’re not sure how much fat that is, think of a block of butter – that fat content is equivalent to one of these shop-bought blocks.
As far as the calorie amount, a Latte equates to 225 calories when made with whole milk but, order a “Skinny” Latte which is made out of skimmed milk and that quantity drops to 135 calories with just 1 g of fat. This is a much healthier alternative. However, a regular Latte is still a good source of protein due to the full-fat milk content.
As well as regular Latte drinks (Skinny and Full-Fat) there are also flavored Lattes (mentioned earlier). These drinks are flavored with syrups to add a little extra and for coffee drink variety. Essentially, the drink is exactly the same. If you live in the USA, you’ll find that special flavors appear in cafés according to the time of year.
For example, at Christmas, there may well be cinnamon flavored Lattes on the menu or Bailey’s Irish Cream Lattes – these are in line with the time of year. At Thanksgiving, in November, you might see Pumpkin flavored Lattes and so on. Here are some other flavors you might like to try that work perfectly with Latte drinks:
To make these at home, simply add a teaspoon of the syrup you desire to your coffee base and top off with the frothy milk as usual.
In the summertime, while many people do enjoy a nice, tall, glass of Latte, there is another alternative, an Iced Latte. This is different to a regular Latte as it is prepared using another method.
To make an Iced Latte, you’ll need:
- 110g of your favourite Espresso coffee
- 220g of ice
- 170ml milk
- Syrup of choice (optional)
Then you simply fill a tall Latte glass with the ice, add the Espresso coffee. This is the time to add in the syrup if you want it.
In a separate, sealed jar (or you can use a blender) pour in your milk.
Shake up the jar or turn on your blender and let it work its magic until you have produced a liquid.
Pour over the coffee that is already in the glass, stir with a tall spoon and enjoy!
In Coffee Corner, I write about all things related to coffee and particularly coffee makers.
After being a self-admitted coffee addict for 20 years and as an experienced barista I would consider myself pretty well-versed on the subject. I will try to provide you as much information as possible about coffee makers and coffee in general, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us!