The cafe latte is a hotly contested drink. There seems to be much debate on how to make a cafe latte. Not only in respect of the volumes of milk and espresso that go into one, but also in its presentation.
The definition of a cafe latte has been segmented predominately into three groups: the American cafe latte, the Italian cafe latte, and the latte I’m most familiar with – the Australian cafe latte.
But the one thing lattes all have in common is the combination of espresso and milk made with machines like these. Usually in the same order: espresso, steamed milk, and micro-foam on top. The cafe latte therefore is one of the more “milky” tasting beverages on an espresso menu.
However, some cafes in Italy have been found to add espresso shots last to achieve a “layered” effect. But the professional consensus seems to lean towards the former sequence.
Therefore, the presentation of these drinks is what dictates the differences between them. The American cafe latte often comes in a ceramic cappuccino cup, while the Italian and Australian lattes are usually found in glass tumblers. This may seem like a slight difference however without standard sizes the drink varies dramatically, particularly in its strength.
Some baristas state that a latte should only be severed in a tumbler between 150-200ml, while others are of the opinion that the glass is not of importance, just as long as the volumes are correct.
But what are these golden volumes? There doesn’t seem to be a solid consensus for this topic either. The volumes for a cafe latte seem to generally reside between the 150-300ml mark, with the most common being 240ml. This glass size is usually divided with one shot of espresso, steamed milk and around 1cm of micro-foam on top.
So what is the “right” way to make a latte? In essence, there isn’t. Besides the ingredients of espresso, milk and micro-foam, the palettes of one’s customers dictate the presentation and volume of a latte. Then perhaps it is rightly so that humble latte is so diverse.
What do you think? How do you like your cafe latte prepared? Tell us below.