There’s nothing wrong with a plain old cup of coffee. However, you sometimes want something with a little more nuance and character. This is where luxury coffee drinks come into play. People have all sorts of preferences when it comes to their premium coffee drinks. Two of the most popular are lattes and cappuccinos. Both have earned reputations for their milky infusions and delectable tastes. Which of these luxury coffee options should you call your personal favorite?
Latte & Cappuccino Share Espresso
Both lattes and cappuccinos are espresso drinks. What is espresso exactly? And how is it different from other kinds of coffee?
Believe it or not, espresso isn’t based on the coffee beans themselves. It has to do with how the coffee is prepared. A regular cup of coffee is typically made with some form of drip machine, pour over, or French press. Espresso requires more finely ground beans than other “regular”coffee and is brewed by forcing high-pressure water through the grind. The result is a flavorful, petite coffee drink that is created more quickly (roughly 20 seconds).
Espresso is the basis for many luxury coffee drinks because of its distinct flavor. In the past, espresso has typically required specialized machinery which was bulky, expensive, and difficult to clean. Today, it’s possible to make a fantastic espresso at home with artisanal coffee pods without the use of a machine, thanks to brands like Caffè di Artisan. These luxury coffee capsules provide a full-flavored brew in almost no time, while expending almost no effort.
What’s a Latte?
A latte is one of the most popular espresso-based drinks. It all starts by preparing the espresso itself. This will provide the base layer of the beverage. However, although it’s a coffee drink, a latte is not super strong in terms of coffee content. It typically just contains half a shot of espresso (depending on the size and milk-to-coffee ratio, of course).
A latte is a milk drink at its core. Two-thirds of a latte is steamed milk; and it’s topped off with a layer of foamed milk. This is a great drink for people who want a less acidic, and creamier coffee drink. Lattes require steamed and foamed milk, which usually needs to be done with a fancy machine at a coffee shop. This process, however, can be replicated at home by using a frother.
What Is a Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is similar to a latte but has a slightly different preparation. While a latte is most definitely a milky drink, cappuccino is all about balance between its elements. Like a latte, cappuccinos start with espresso. Except cappuccinos take a full shot. They also require more foam that a typical latte. When done correctly, each layer should constitute one-third of the drink.
While these ratios might minor, the differences are huge. In fact, you can tell the difference between a latte and a cappuccino by simply lifting the cup. The latte will be heavy with liquid milk (also known as “wet” according to coffee lingo) as compared to the light-as-feather “dry” capaccino.
What Are Some Other Luxury Espresso Drinks?
Lattes and cappuccinos are two of the most popular luxury, espresso-based drinks, but they aren’t the only ones. Here are a few additional options that might pique your interest:
- Americano: This is comparable to a cup of coffee, except made with espresso as opposed to a drip machine. You simply combine a shot of espresso with twice the amount of hot water to create an espresso that lasts three times as long. An Americano is usually smoother and less acidic than a traditional black coffee.
- Macchiato: This is mainly an espresso drink. A macchiato is one or two shots of espresso poured onto a dollop of foamed milk on top. This leaves a mark on the foam, which is where the macchiato derives its name. This is a perfect drink for people who love espresso but just slightly want to soften its bitter notes.
- Mocha: This combines the standard elements of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk with an important addition – chocolate! A mocha is the perfect drink for someone who wants to add a bit of sweetness to their luxury coffee.
There’s a time and a place for all types of coffee drinks. Don’t be afraid to indulge your senses if you’re considering a luxurious drink like a latte or cappuccino. Both of these beverages are delicious in their own ways.
What’s your luxury coffee drink? Tell us in the comments.