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Think small but stout. The basis of a piccolo is a ristretto, which is a concentrated short shot of espresso. Made with the same amount of coffee and half the amount of water, it’s about 20 milliliters, or less than half an ounce. Interestingly, you may expect the concentrated flavor to taste bitter. However, with the shorter extraction time, the coffee has a sweeter flavor that marries well with the addition of milk for a creamy little treat.
Below, we’ll show you how to make a piccolo latte at home for one serving. If you’d like to make enough to share, you can easily double this recipe for two servings. For more than two servings, remember it’s one-part espresso to two parts steamed, foamed milk. As always, your coffee is only as good as the water you use to extract it. Any impurities in the water will alter the flavor, and you’ll always receive the best flavor from the coffee when you grind the coffee beans right before you brew.
Ideally, the espresso for a piccolo is pulled from an espresso machine. If you have an espresso machine, you’ll want a ristretto shot with a 20-gram dose and an 18 to 22-second brew time. A Moka pot won’t produce a result as concentrated as an espresso machine, but it’s the closest you can get to an espresso without a specific machine.
Note: If you like to practice your latte art, this glass may seem too small. However, if you angle the glass, you’ll have more surface area to play and create.
Sit back and sip!
Rumor has it that the piccolo latte originated in Sydney, Australia, as baristas were taste testing mixtures without wanting to ingest a lot of milk throughout the day. This beverage gained much popularity over the last decade because a little goes a long way. Ironically, the word piccolo has Italian origins referring to a small flute. As a play on the meaning, a piccolo is a petite version of a latte. In the most basic terms, it’s a single espresso shot with steamed milk in a tiny cup. On a deeper level, it’s a decadent, flavorful drink that maintains the body of the coffee and not overpowered with the addition of milk.
A piccolo latte usually arrives in a small latte glass called a demitasse that holds around 100 milliliters or a little over three ounces. Yes, it’s small. If you’re in the mood for just a little something for self-indulgence, this may be just what you’re craving!
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