Check out this ultimate coffee guide. With so many combinations of coffee and milk, we thought we would help define the makeup of espresso-related drinks. So don’t be confused any longer between a latte and a cappuccino.
The definition of a latte has changed in recent years. In the early 90s the milk portion was 2/3 milk, and 1/3 “foam.” Today’s technique is actually all “micro-foam.” Micro-foam is made of really small bubbles, and when steamed properly adds a very creamy texture.
This is probably the most polarizing drink definition. Thanks to some big box coffee shops, the term Cappuccino has evolved over the years. In the mid 90s a cappuccino was defined as 3/4 dry foam, and 1/4 espresso. Well if you’ve ever tried to drink a “dry cappuccino” you’ve probably burned your throat as the hot espresso rushed through the foamy milk. A true cappuccino is the same as a latte, just smaller, typically 8oz.
There is a popular, but unconfirmed, belief that the name has its origins in World War II when American G.I.s in Italy would dilute espresso with hot water because the Italian coffee was too strong.
An espresso is typically 2 ounces of coffee made from 20 grams of ground beans, brewed at 9 bar of pressure or 130 psi at roughly 203 degrees Fahrenheit. The pressure adds a “crema” to the top of the drink which enhances the flavor and body of the coffee.
For all intents and purposes a mocha is a latte with chocolate. What sets it apart are the added twists. For example, adding shaved chocolate on top can make it more decadent. Or spice things up and use Mexican chocolate.
In Italian the term macchiato means “stained” which is what we’re doing to the espresso with some steamed milk. A really good macchiato is all about the steamed milk with is full of micro-bubbles and helps add a creamy texture.