A caffe latte is an espresso-based drink with steamed milk. Compared to a cappuccino, the steamed milk contains more liquid milk, while a cappuccino has drier and more aerated milk. This makes a latte less intense in flavor than a cappuccino. It has more milk than espresso, which makes it different from the cortado where milk and coffee is in a 1:1 ratio.

a caffe latte in a glass on a green saucer

Surprisingly, the caffe latte did not originate in Italy. Espresso originated in Italy, however the caffe latte was created once espresso began to spread outside of Italy. Many found the taste of espresso too strong and they wished to make it less bitter by adding steamed milk.

Its traditional name is “caffe latte,” which means “milk coffee” in Italian, but in the US we just call it a “latte.” It’s called a “grand crème” in French, “milchkaffee” in German, and “wiener melange” in Austrian. I call it “delicious,” particularly when it’s poured over ice.

This is the quintessential drink that can be customized to your taste, with an endless possibility of flavor combinations. The most classic and well known is the chocolate version, aka the Mocha, but any flavor can be added to make it your own. If you’re so inclined, no flavor is always a great option too.

the text caffe latte written in script

Caffe Latte

Course Drinks
Cuisine American


  • 2 oz espresso
  • 8-10 oz steamed milk


  • Pull a double shot of espresso (approximately 2 ounces).
  • At the same time, steam 8-10 ounces of milk so that it is silky and shiny. Stop steaming your milk once it reaches 140 degrees F.
  • Swirl the milk, tap to eliminate air bubbles, and pour over the espresso. Try your hand at some latte art!
  • To make an iced version, do not steam your milk. Pour the espresso and cold milk together over ice.

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