We’re onto the final weekend of Fante’s Coffee Month! So lets move onto something even more tasty.
Have you ever looked at a coffee shop’s espresso menu and wondered, really, how many ways can you combine espresso and milk? Well, more than you think! Several of the most common espresso drinks are just a blend of either frothed or steamed milk and espresso, and it’s the method of preparation that makes the big difference in the final product, with plenty of variations to keep things interesting!
So first you’ll need an espresso maker. If you’ve been keeping up with coffee month, you already now how to use a stovetop espresso maker. You can get a richer cup from an electric machine, and we have quite a few at our Philadelphia store for you to choose from.
The next thing you’ll need is a milk frother. Perfectly frothed milk is essential for lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and more.
Most electric espresso makers have a steaming feature that, with a little practice, will give you an excellent, thick froth.
You can also get a good froth with a stovetop steamer like the Bellman. And if you’re really into elbow grease, there are manual options wherein you add hot or cold milk to the frother and pump for 15-20 seconds, or use a battery-operated whisk to add in the necessary air. However the easiest way is with an electric frother like the Capresso pictured here, with dual functions to either heat or perfectly froth enough milk for any drink.
Ready to jump in to the delicious world of espresso with milk? Here are some basic recipes to get you started!
Macchiato is Italian for “marked” or “stained.” Today, the term can refer to two different drinks: A Caffe Macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato, is defined as espresso marked with a little milk. A Latte Macchiato is the opposite – steamed milk marked with a little espresso.
Caffè Latte is a drink made with espresso and steamed milk. In America, this has commonly been shortened to Latte, but in Italian, “latte” just means “milk”; ask a Roman barista for a latte, and he may hand you a glass of milk – it’ll build your bones, but it won’t wake you up! In essence, a caffè latte is a shot of espresso with a generous covering of hot steamed milk – usually twice as much milk than espresso is used. It is then topped with a little steamed milk froth. A Mocha Latte is a variant, with chocolate added to the mix. The chocolate is often added in the form of sweetened cocoa powder, though some cafes will employ a chocolate syrup to enhance the drink.
It is easy to confuse a Cappuccino and a Caffè Latte, as both are made with just milk and espresso. However, the distinction lies in how the milk is prepared. A cappuccino consists of one third espresso, one third steamed milk, and one third stiff foam. The espresso and steamed milk are combined, and the last bit is poured over the top. In Italy, the foam is a little heavier than in the U.S., and mixes in rather than floats on top. Much like the mocha latte, a Mochaccino, or Caffè Mocha, is a variant of the traditional cappuccino that contains chocolate.
As for the lactose intolerant, there’s always soy and other “milks” with which to experiment.
Even though it has nothing to do with frothing, we wanted to end our Coffee Month with the Caffè Americano. A single or double-shot of espresso is prepared, and hot water is added, in order to approximate the traditional filter-drip coffee favored by most Americans. There is some dispute regarding the drink’s origin. A popular story is that it originated in World War II, when American GIs in Italy would add hot water to their espresso in order to make it taste a little more like the stuff they were used to back home. However, some sources believe it was a creation from coffee-obsessed Seattle. Enjoy!
Stop by our store this Saturday for our demo on all things frothing! (Check out our selection on our website.) We’ll be demonstrating several different ways to steam and froth milk for your favorite espresso and other drinks.
And, we’ll be holding a drawing for a Capresso Froth Plus Auto Milk Frother, a $60 value absolutely free to one lucky winner. Come visit us this weekend for your chance to enter; no purchase necessary!
-Cappuccino Photo by Johnny Lopez