Like bread and butter, coffee and milk have a natural affinity to go together. That’s why it satisfies a broad range of taste palates among coffee consumers.
The famous American novelist, William Dean Howells, in his Italian Journeys essay, first used the “caffe latte” term. Although an Italian beverage, Americans completely lay claim to the caffè latte. Back in 1950, an Italian-trained barista in Berkeley, California, Lino Meiorin, claimed to have invented the latte. For him, it was an alternative to the strong Italian cappuccino. But the ultimate latte popularization took place when it entered the 80s Seattle coffee scene.
What’s a Caffe Latte?
Caffè latte, or popularly known as latte, is an espresso drink made with steamed milk. “Latte” is an Italian word for milk. A latte holds only 1/3rd of espresso topped with 2/3rd of steamed and foamed milk. Set by the United States’ standards, lattes are often served in large 8-ounce cups. In Italy, a similarly decorated drink is called a latte macchiato (stained milk).
Before Getting Started
Ingredients: espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk.
Instruments: espresso machine, milk jug, and cups.
Making Of Caffe Latte Step-By-Step
Step-1: Make The Espresso
You better make a double shot of espresso for the latte. For a double shot of espresso, use 14g of coffee. In return, you’ll have around 60ml of espresso (about 2 fluid ounces). Fill up the filter basket with coffee and brew the espresso in the espresso machine. Let it pour into your latte glass.
Tip: If this is your first rodeo, simply split the espresso making and frothing processes into two separate sets of tasks.
Step-2: Milk Selection
For the best texture and taste, use whole milk. Note that, for lattes, you can pick and choose any milk you like. Remember to fill only 1/3rd of the milk jug. The milk will need to have enough space in the jug to expand. Don’t pour less milk than this either, as for steaming and foaming, you need milk to have volume.
Step-3: Steaming The Milk
Start by purging your steam wand before starting the milk steaming process. Now, place the steam wand just underneath the surface of the milk surface. It’ll introduce a little bit of air into the liquid and begin heating up the milk by creating a swirling motion.
Step-4: Foaming The Milk
After a few short, sharp ‘chirps’ sounds, slightly raise the milk jug an inch or so. This will position the steam wand on the side of the jug. This position will start to create a nice swirling motion, not only creating microfoams on top but also evenly spreading them into the milk with its swirling motion. Don’t let the milk get too hot, as it’ll diminish the taste. Turn off the steam wand.
Tip: After foaming the milk, gently tap the jug on a flat surface to remove any large air bubbles from the milk.
Step-5: Pour And Enjoy
From a relatively high position, start to pour the frothed milk over the espresso. From a high position (about an inch or two above the espresso glass), gradually work your way down until the milk jug is almost resting on the espresso glass. Make sure to create a steepening angle between the jug and the glass so that a small amount of stiff milk foam can sit on top at the end of the pouring. Now, sip and enjoy your perfect cup of latte!