3 Key Differences Between Espresso And Latte


If you are a novice to the coffee world, the names of coffee drinks will confound you, but rest assured, you will find numerous delicious drinks on any café menu. First, you need to know that espresso is the basis for many coffee beverages. A latte is one of them.

A latte is a coffee beverage made with espresso shots and steamed milk. An espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage measuring about one ounce per shot. It has three parts; at the bottom is the dark brown body, the middle is lighter, and the top has the foamy light crema.

To truly understand the differences between an espresso and a latte, let’s discuss how these drinks are made, their caffeine content, flavor, and more.

What Is An Espresso?

As mentioned above, espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage measuring about one ounce a shot. This drink is made from an espresso machine that forces hot water of about 190 degrees F through 9 to 10 bars through well-tamped, finely-ground coffee.

Why Your Espresso Might Have No Cre... x
Why Your Espresso Might Have No Crema

High pressure, a hot temperature, and finely ground coffee beans produce espresso’s acclaimed flavors and aromas.

Espresso has three parts, the body at the bottom is dark brown, the middle is a lighter brown, and the foamy, light-colored crema sits on top. A barista would typically serve this beverage as a doppio (2 ounces) or a triple (3 ounces).

Espresso is perfect on its own, although some people add a little cream or sugar. Italians typically drink espresso after dinner.

Espresso is typically thicker than coffees from other brewing techniques and has a viscosity of warm honey. The flavors and chemicals in a shot of espresso are quite concentrated due to the three dispersed phases.

The first phase involves emitting oil droplets; the second is suspended solids, and the third is a layer of foam or gas bubbles.

Espresso contains more caffeine per volume than most other coffee drinks. However, as the serving size is smaller, it wouldn’t have as much caffeine as a mug of brewed coffee.

What Is A Latte?

The term latte derives from the Italian caffellatte, which means coffee and milk in English. Coffee and milk have always been a fixture of European cuisine since the 1600s.

However, be sure to order a caffe latte and not a “latte” in Italy, as this only means milk in Italian, and you are likely to get a glass of milk.

A caffe latte is usually prepared at home for breakfast in Italy and made with a Moka pot. Internationally, a latte is prepared in a 240 ml cup with one espresso shot and filled with steamed milk and a layer of foamy milk on top. The original Italian latte is not foamed.

This drink has more steamed milk and less foam. It is related to a cappuccino; however, a cappuccino is made of espresso and steamed milk with a much thicker layer of foam than a latte.

The combination of intense espresso with steamed milk creates a creamier, more delicate version of the bold espresso flavor.

Italians typically drink lattes before 11 am. It is customary to drink a milky coffee in the morning, but not in the afternoon, and certainly not after a meal!

What Is An Espresso With Milk Called?

You would typically drink espresso on its own without milk or cream, but there are a few espresso drinks with milk.

Drinks like cappuccino, latte, and café latte are espresso-based, but they are not espresso as such, as the coffee is only a tiny part of those drinks. Let’s look at three espresso drinks with milk:

1. Cortado

A cortado is derived from the Spanish word “cortar,” meaning to cut. This espresso beverage has hot frothed milk, which “cuts” the acidity of espresso.

The ratio of the cortado is 1:1 frothed milk to a double espresso. Most cafes would serve this drink in a small cortado glass with a thin froth layer.

2. Espresso Macchiato

This drink was invented by Italian baristas wanting to demonstrate the difference between a standard espresso and one with a bit of milk.

Macchiato means “stained” or “marked” in Italian. This rich drink is made from espresso with a dollop of frothy milk on top. The ratio is typically two parts espresso to one part milk, creating a more robust espresso flavor.

3. Galao

This is a creamy Portuguese beverage consisting of one-quarter espresso to three-quarters foamed milk. It is always served in a tall glass.

The drink is sweet, rich, and milky, and one of the most popular drinks at any Portuguese café. The galoa is ideal for breakfast or brunch and served with a sweet or savory pastry.

Is Espresso Stronger Than Latte?

When considering espresso versus a latte, you must factor in the addition of steamed and light milk froth. Lattes consist of 60% milk, so the drink’s volume is greater than an espresso.

If you drink espresso on its own, you will find it’s stronger than a latte because it’s straight coffee concentrate, while a latte has milk to soften the coffee’s strength. Also, if you get a latte with syrups and sweeteners, that will cut through the power of the coffee.

Is Espresso Needed To Make A Latte?

You need a concentrated shot of coffee to make a latte, but you don’t need an espresso machine to make a latte.

A latte involves two coffee shots, steamed milk, and a thin foamy layer on top. You can easily create a delicious latte at home without a machine, but you need coffee and milk.

You may use espresso beans or choose your favorite beans. An espresso machine is ideal, or a one-touch system like Nespresso can make the shot you need for a latte.

However, you can also make an extra-strong coffee from a manual device like the Aeropress. It doesn’t make an authentic espresso, but it makes a concentrated coffee that you can use to make a latte.

You can make your coffee shot with any brewing device, such as a portable espresso maker or Moka pot, as long as you use two to three ounces to make a strong coffee.

However, as espresso is a bold, concentrated coffee made with very fine grounds and pressurized water, if you use ordinary brewed coffee, you must ensure it’s as strong as possible.

After making your brewed coffee, the next step is to froth your milk. If you don’t have a frother, you can heat your milk using a stove or a microwave and shake the milk vigorously.

Keep frothing until it has doubled in volume.

Once you have frothed your milk, you must pour your strong coffee or espresso into a glass. Keep the foam back using a spoon and pour in the hot milk.

You can add the foam afterward and even top it with whipped cream. You may want to add latte art as a final touch.

How Many Shots Of Espresso Are In A Latte?

In most cafes, a standard latte is made with two shots of espresso and 10 ounces of milk. At Starbucks, a tall hot latte consists of one shot of espresso, while a Grande and hot Venti latte consists of two.

So you aren’t getting more caffeine when you pay for the larger size at Starbucks and many other coffee chains. You are just getting more milk and sweet syrups.

Is Espresso Healthier Than Latte?

Espresso is undoubtedly one of the healthiest coffee beverages out there and is one of the lowest-calorie coffees.

As it only consists of coffee and water. Any black coffee without additional ingredients will be better for you than a milk-based drink like a latte.

Lattes are not unhealthy, but they become less healthy once you add sweeteners and syrups.

Consuming too much dairy will undoubtedly cause issues, but having a latte now and again shouldn’t do too much damage.

Keep in mind that a 16-ounce latte has 206 calories and 8 grams of fat; a large latte contains nearly one-third of the recommended fat allowance for women.

In addition, you can make a latte healthier by opting for skimmed milk.

If you are trying to reduce your calorie intake, espresso is better than a latte. Generally, black coffee has many health benefits, including fighting obesity. However, you must not drink more than 5 to 6 cups per day.

Consider drinking espresso or any black coffee one to two hours before exercise as the substances in the caffeine bring about the release of fats into the bloodstream during movement.

This enables the body to use fat as its main energy source, and you will burn fat faster.

Final Thoughts

This article covered many points, including the preparation methods, serving sizes, and health benefits of espresso and latte.

Finally, we can say that espresso and latte differ significantly from each other and are entirely two different drinks.

Latte is for the morning, while espresso is a drink for the afternoon after a meal. You can drink espressos and lattes any time you like, but bear in mind how the Italians drink their coffee.

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