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    What is a latte, latte macchiato, flat white? Espresso and milk drinks debunked

    If you’ve ever considered stepping out of your coffee comfort zone, it can be intimidating knowing which coffee drink you should try next. From lattes to a macchiato to cappuccinos and beyond, the possibilities are endless if you want to experiment with different espresso and milk drinks. But what is a cappuccino? What is a flat white? And how does a latte differ from a macchiato?

     

    The following is a breakdown of the different espresso drinks so that you’ll know for sure what you’ll be ordering the next time you visit your local barista. And who knows? Once you have a better understanding of what these beverages are, you may want to try making them at home.

    What is a latte? How does it differ from a cappuccino?

     

    The first espresso and milk duo on the table is a latte. What is a latte? This drink is a shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk and topped off with foam. Right about now, you may be wondering what is a caffé latte? Don’t let the slightly different name confuse you. A caffé latte is the same as a regular latte, it is simply a more correct way to refer to this drink. 

     

    The caffé latte originally came from Italy but quickly increased in popularity all over the world. It is said that Italy’s traditional cappuccino is where the idea for the more “Americanized” latte came from. Despite their similarities, lattes and cappuccinos are entirely different espresso drinks. 

     

    What is a cappuccino? Like a latte, a cappuccino is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of foam on top. The difference between the two is that cappuccinos have a higher foam content than lattes. The good news is that the method for making both drinks is the same right up until you have to froth the milk.

     

    For a true coffee shop experience, you will need an espresso machine for your cappuccino’s first ingredient: the espresso shot. For the milk component of your cappuccino, you can either steam manually or use a machine that does it all for you, like the Philips 3200 Series Espresso Machine with LatteGo, with a touch display that five coffee varieties with ease – espresso, latte macchiato and cappuccino included!

     

    If you want a latte, steam the milk by occasionally bringing the steamer wand to the milk’s surface to create more foam. You can then pour the steamed milk into your cup over the espresso for a delicious, frothy latte.

     

    And if you want a cappuccino, steam the milk by bringing the wand to the milk’s surface more often, while making a circular motion to help create more foam. Give the pitcher a good tap on the counter to get rid of any bubbles before pouring the steamed milk over the espresso. You should now have a perfectly foamy, rich cappuccino. Next up on our list of espresso and milk drinks: what is a latte macchiato and how does it vary from the basic macchiato?

    What is a macchiato?

     

    If you’ve seen a macchiato before, you’re probably wondering how it gets its iconic layered look. But first thing’s first: what is a macchiato? A macchiato is essentially a hybrid between a latte and a pure shot of espresso. It doesn’t have as much milk content as a latte or a cappuccino, but it is more subdued than a shot of espresso. This drink also originates from Italy and rose to popularity as a midday pick-me-up, since it isn’t quite as strong as an espresso but it is stronger than the usual morning cappuccino. 

     

    What does macchiato mean? Macchiato translates to “marked” or “stained,” which makes sense, since the concept behind an espresso macchiato is to “stain” the espresso with a dash of milk. A latte macchiato is just the opposite of an espresso macchiato. What is a latte macchiato in comparison to an espresso macchiato? In this case, it’s the espresso that “stains” the steamed milk. 

     

    The latte macchiato contains more milk and less espresso than a regular latte. To create the layered look of a latte macchiato, the key is to pour the espresso very slowly over the steamed milk. In fact, some baristas even use a spoon to help slow the pouring. For more information on how to make a macchiato, as well as a delicious iced caramel macchiato, continue reading here!

    What is a flat white?

     

    The last espresso and milk beverage we will discuss is a flat white. If you’re asking yourself ‘what is a flat white,’ just think of it as a mini latte. A flat white is simply an espresso with micro foamed milk and no foam topper. If you’ve never heard of micro foam, it’s a more refined type of steamed milk that contains smaller bubbles.

     

    To make micro foam, hold the steamer wand high up in the pitcher to inject hot air into the milk. Next, dip the wand deeper into the pitcher to create a whirlpool effect. This method allows the milk to run through the espresso, as opposed to a latte’s foam that is thicker and less of a liquid consistency.

    Discover your espresso and milk duo

     

    Now that you know the different espresso and milk beverages, you can drink outside the box and make your own espresso coffees right at home. Never again will you have to ask yourself ‘what is a latte?’ or ‘what is a caffé latte?’