Cappuccinos And Lattes

Written by Sarah Provost
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Cappuccinos and lattes are the two most popular drinks made with espresso. Until the rapid spread of Peet's, Starbuck's, and other coffee purveyors, these drinks were pretty much unheard of in the United States. Cappuccino and latte machiato hail from Italy, but the very popular caffe latte is an American invention.

Cappuccinos and lattes use the same ingredients, espresso and steamed milk. The variations come in the proportions and in how these two are combined. A cappuccino consists of approximately one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk and one-third foam. Variations include "wet" cappuccino, which has a smaller proportion of foam and "dry," which has a higher proportion of foam to milk.

The American caffe latte has about one-quarter espresso to three-quarters hot milk, with very little froth. Ideally, the milk and espresso are poured simultaneously. Latte macchiato begins with the hot frothed milk, and then a shot of espresso is slowly dribbled into it, coloring the milk. ("Macchiato" means stained or marked.)

Serving Cappuccinos and Lattes

The traditional presentation of cappuccinos and lattes calls for serving ware appropriate to the way each is prepared. Cappuccino starts with espresso and adds milk and froth. It is served in a heavy six-ounce cup with a saucer. Caffe latte combines the two ingredients simultaneously, and is served in a 12 or 16-ounce bowl, large enough to allow both to be poured at the same time. Latte macchiato starts with milk and adds espresso, and is properly served in an 8 or 10-ounce glass, so that the layering is visible.


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