Even your average coffee menu has a large variety of coffees and this variety actually confuses a number of coffee drinkers. The most basic and strongest of the lot is espresso, which is a dark roast coffee, served in portions of 1-2 ounces. An Americano is an Espresso that has hot water added. If you are someone who prefers a light brew, then you may like a piccolo latte, which is made with espresso and steamed milk.
While Americans love Espresso in particular, Italians prefer a somewhat lighter brew. A Cappuccino comes with a 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, milk (steamed) along with foamed milk. A typical variety of North American blend is the Macchiato, which is a cappuccino minus the steamed milk.
Yes, I know, all that may be too much information at first. But from one coffee lover to (hopefully) another one, you need to know the basic difference between your drinks in order to enjoy them the most- don’t you?
From all these varieties, Lattes have the specialty of being loved by almost all types of coffee drinkers, and a piccolo latte is a variety that is worth a try.
What Exactly is Piccolo Latte?
If you have never tried this variety before, then you may be wondering what is piccolo, and what exactly the specialty of a piccolo latte is. This variety gained a lot of popularity from the Sydney coffee culture in the last decade or so, and has been immensely popular since then. Simply put, a piccolo latte comes with a ristretto shot, which has a 15-20 ml quantity and is topped along with warm and silky milk.
Caffe Piccolo is generally served in a 100ml glass, which is also known as demitasse, or a small latte glass. While the size may shock you a bit at first (it did happen with me!), you will realize once you take a sip as to how rich and flavorful this drink is. If someone were to ask you to define piccolo, then the serving style and the shot used would be the 2 most significant aspects that you may want to remember.
These lattes have been gaining popularity due to their size, since being in the industry, drinking a full-sized cup all the time is not possible. A small yet fulfilling shot of the Piccolo will help you taste fresh coffee with milk, minus the bloated feeling.
Ingredients Needed for the Piccolo Recipe
To get started with making a Piccolo latte, you will first need to gather the right ingredients. For a 3 cup serving the ingredients that you need and their quantities are:
- Espresso: 3 fl. oz.
- Whole Milk: 6 fl. oz.
The Piccolo Latte Recipe
Once you have the basic ingredients set, it is time to get started with putting this piccolo recipe to test and brewing your own delicious coffee!
Step 1: Get Some Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans
The first step to creating any delicious coffee drink is to get the right type of coffee beans. For a piccolo latte, you will need freshly roasted beans. These coffee beans are those that have been roasted for at least 4 days, and up to 3 weeks, prior to the day you use them in your coffee. Numerous online stores sell fresh beans as per these specifications, but if you want to inspect before you buy, then you can even hop into your local coffee shop for some advice.
When it comes to coffee beans, do not go with beans that have been roasted for over 3 weeks- the best flavor comes within the first 2 weeks, after which it begins to decline. There is no technology or packaging that can retain the flavor beyond this time.
Step 2: Prepare Your Espresso
Once you have acquired the perfect coffee beans for your piccolo latte, the next step will be preparing the espresso, which is one of the two important ingredients in the recipe. For the standard double shot, it takes around 18 to 21 of ground coffee, which means that you will approximately require around 60 grams of finely ground coffee. You can also grind coffee without a coffee grinder if you know how to do so. Getting the espresso ready will take around 30-40 seconds, and you should collect this in a small heated glass.
A Few Precautions in This Step Will Help You Get the Right Espresso:
- Your espresso is only as good as the water it is made with. Any sediments, scales or impurities will make the espresso undrinkable, so it is important to ensure that you are using good quality water before moving ahead.
- An espresso requires a finer grind as compared to other varieties. The coffee beans should clump together during the process, which is an indication that you are doing the right thing.
- Water with a temperature between 195º and 205ºF is the ideal ingredient for coffee. If you are not sure what to do here, let the machine do its job.
Step 3: Steam Your Milk
The next step is the same as any other latte- steaming the milk. Steam it along with a slight foam/froth texture. Before you steam the milk, ensure that you warp the steam using a clean and damp cloth for removing any water left in the sand. The entire wand tip should be covered by the surface of the milk. Steaming your milk properly is the key to getting the texture and appearance of the latte, and these simple precautions will help you get just that.
Step 4: Mix These Two
The next step involves pouring the milk into the glass that has the espresso. While this may seem like the easiest of them all, it is rather complicated and requires a lot of focus. Ensure that you pour the milk into the glass slowly. While pouring, the tip of the jug should be resting just inside the glass, not above or too much inside it. It will help the froth to slide out from the jug and get just on the top of the espresso. When done perfectly, you will get a layer of ½ inch thickness of the sweet-texture milk in your latte.
While you pour the milk, do not keep the pouring jug too high, as it could cause the milk to spill out a bit. Ensure that you do this step immediately after steaming the milk, within a few seconds. The hot milk will ensure that the espresso mixes in the perfect manner to create the taste expected from this piccolo recipe.
Step 5: Taste It!
And with this- you are done! Take a sip of that hot and refreshing latte to know that you have made the perfect piccolo latte. This latte is served hot- so for the best flavor and experience, you should enjoy it while the flavor lasts.
Important Reminders While Brewing the Perfect Latte
I have already covered a few important precautions while telling you the recipe for this piccolo latte. Apart from those, there are a few other things about the piccolo latte that you must know, and I have highlighted those in this section:
- Grinding the coffee beans perfectly is the most important aspect of getting a fine espresso. A fine grind, commonly referred to as an espresso grind, is the best for most brews with a powdery consistency.
- In piccolo, calories in a single serving are just 26- provided you use skimmed milk while making it. This makes your everyday cup (or cups) of piccolo latte a very healthy affair!
- Keep the wand clean, and wipe it off after every use. Before you steam milk, pulse the wand on and off a few times for freeing the duct off any particles.
- Pouring the milk is half of the task of making a latte. Ensure that you pour slowly, at a high distance and at an even rate. Give it time to allow the espresso and milk to incorporate.
How I like My Piccolo Latte
To be honest, the first time I tried a piccolo latte at a local café, I was kind of surprised by the small size of it. As someone who prefers large servings of Americano and Cappuccinos, it did not look like the kind of drink that I would love. However, a few sips down the line, and I knew that I had added a new favorite to my menu. No one does the piccolo latte recipe better than authentic Australian cafes.
However, being the adventurous sort that I am, I try to make these lattes on my own every now and then. I’ve found that the way the milk is poured into the espresso makes a lot of difference to the texture and taste. The only way to destroy a latte is to pour the milk or espresso in the wrong manner. Lastly- I always take a rounded bowl-shaped cup for making lattes- not only do I like the shape but also they mix better in them.
We have all heard that ‘little things come in small packages,’ but I never figured that a cup of coffee is how I would experience that! It is believed in many parts of the world that our coffee choices say a lot about our personality and tastes. While the name Piccolo Latte may make it sound a little light, this is easily one of the best orders that I have ever had to date. This strong flavored coffee has become an indispensable part of my day- and once you master the art of making it, it will become one of yours as well! So enjoy your every sip of piccolo latte at your favorite piccolo café and avail the health benefits of drinking coffee.