Are you looking for the rich, robust flavor of a latte, but without the ounces? A piccolo latte may be for you. Made up of a concentrated espresso shot and a small amount of frothy milk, this drink packs all of the flavor into a smaller glass. Even better, you don’t have to enlist a barista to give it a try!
Below, we’ll show you how to make a piccolo latte at home. You’ll be enjoying this tiny, rich drink in no time!
NOTE: You’ll get the best results from an espresso machine or portable espresso maker. Alternatively, you can use a stovetop Moka pot. It won’t produce a full espresso shot, but it’s the closest you can get without a specific machine.
This recipe will make one piccolo latte. If you’d like to make enough to share, remember it’s one-part espresso to two parts steamed, foamed milk. As always, you’ll receive the best flavor from the coffee when you grind the coffee beans right before you brew.
1. Pull a shot of espresso.
If you have an espresso machine, you’ll want to pull a ristretto shot with a 20-gram dose and an 18 to 22-second brew time. If you’re using a portable espresso maker, try adding a little less water to produce a more concentrated shot. Otherwise, brew strong coffee using a Moka pot.
2. Steam and froth the milk.
If you have an automatic milk frother, use it to steam and froth the milk. If not, you can heat milk over low heat on the stove and whisk it by hand, or heat milk in a jar in the microwave and shake vigorously to form foam.
RELATED READ: Nine Ways to Froth Milk at Home
3. Combine and serve.
Pour the espresso into a small cup and slowly add the milk. That’s it! Serve and enjoy.
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.
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.
In Italian, the word piccolo originally referred to a small flute. It’s come to mean small, so it makes sense that a piccolo latte is a petite version of a latte. In the most basic terms, it’s a single espresso shot with steamed milk. On a deeper level, it’s a decadent, flavorful drink that maintains the body of the coffee and without being overpowered by the addition of milk.
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, a ristretto shot is about 20 milliliters, or less than half an ounce. 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.
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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