Coffee is, undeniably, one of the most popular beverages around the world. Few people will say no to coffee, especially since it can be dressed up a dozen different ways. One of those ways of making coffee is called a latte. But what is the difference between coffee and latte?
Ordering a standard coffee or a latte will get you wildly different results. So let’s discuss what separates the two, so you know what to order the next time you visit the cafe.
What is Coffee?
Coffee comes from a genus of plants called Coffea. The genus consists of over 500 genera and 6,000 types of shrubs and trees. The coffee beans that you brew up for a cup in the morning are actually harvested from a fruit known as a coffee cherry.
When roasted, green coffee beans are transformed into the aromatic brown beans that humans love. Most roasting machines run at about 550 degrees F, and the beans are moved during the whole process to keep from burning.
Depending on the grinding method, the roasted beans come out fine or coarse. That generally affects how the coffee will taste and feel. For instance, espresso ground coffee is often finer than regular coffee grounds.
What is a Latte?
A latte, also called caffe latte, is a form of coffee preparation that is actually rather complex. The Italian meaning behind the name caffe latte is “coffee with milk,” though it is more than your regular cup of coffee and a splash of cold milk.
Difference Between Coffee and Latte
The main difference between latte and coffee is the preparation. You prepare regular coffee easily. All you need is water, ground coffee (or instant or a Keurig cup), and a sweetener (unless you like it black).
A latte, on the other hand, requires a darker roast of coffee (preferably espresso) and milk. Some barista skills are needed to make sure the espresso comes out correctly. If you don’t have an espresso machine, a French press is the next best tool to get the consistency required.
Whisking The Milk
The critical step in creating a latte—and making it different from regular coffee—is whisking the milk. Frothy milk is the catalyst that makes espresso and transforms it into a delicious latte.
The type of milk is up to you. You can use a frothing machine for the milk, but if you don’t have that, a whisk does the trick. Whisk the milk nonstop until it gets thicker and bubbly.
With that completed, you then pour the milk gently into the espresso. A skilled barista might surprise you with stunning latte art, which is when the milk is poured to create beautiful patterns in the espresso.
So there you have it: the difference between coffee and latte is the preparation. Both are still a kind of coffee, but the process gives both distinct flavors. Standard coffee is often brewed and served up black, whereas a latte is made with espresso and whisked milk. Both are delicious, so give each a try to see which one suits you most.
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