Latte vs Coffee

In this article, we will help you understand the differences between latte vs coffee. For a beginner in the coffee world, the different kinds of coffee may seem overwhelming. However, once you get the idea, they are not really as complicated as you think. Let’s start with how latte is different from regular coffee.

After reading this article, you will have a good understanding about:
– What are latte and coffee,
– The differences between latte vs coffee,
– The methods to brew latte and coffee, and
– The recommended drinks for different types of people.

About regular coffee
‘Normal’ American coffee is made by adding hot water onto the grounds of roasted coffee beans, letting them steep for a moment, and then straining the coffee grounds out. This is the simplest and most common process. However, ‘regular coffee’ usually refers to an 8-oz serving of American coffee mixed with a small amount of milk or cream and a teaspoon of sugar.

American coffee is actually pretty similar to espresso (take a look: Espresso vs Americano). In fact, espresso can be made from the same coffee beans and roasts as for American coffee. However, espresso usually uses superior coffee blends and darker roasts to create a more concentrated and stronger flavor. In addition, espresso requires finer grounds than American coffee and a special brewing technique.

Brewing regular coffee
There are several methods for brewing regular American coffee. You can use a filter, percolator, or French press. People use different terms for the resulting coffee drinks based on the methods, such as filtered coffee, drip brewed coffee, and pour-over coffee.

To make a drip-brewed coffee, you can put the coffee grounds on a paper filter and place them halfway into a cup. Then, pour hot water onto them. The water will seep through the coffee grounds while absorbing the essences and oils, solely being guided by the gravity, and finally the water will pass through the bottom of the filter and into the cup. The used coffee grounds will remain in the filter.

Some people like to drink the drip-brewed coffee without any further addition, whereas some others can’t stand the bitterness and prefer to use some sugar and milk/cream. You may use whatever amounts that you like, but people usually just use one teaspoon or two of sugar and a small amount of milk/cream.

What is latte?
Latte is a coffee drink that is made from espresso and steamed milk. It originated in Italy. According to Wikipedia, the word used in English is a short form of the Italian caffe latte, caffelatte, or caffellatte. The word essentially means ‘milk coffee’.

Does that sound familiar? Well, latte and regular coffee may be similar that they both use espresso/American coffee and milk, but that’s where the similarity ends. Latte specifically uses espresso as the base. In terms of volume, latte uses a smaller amount of espresso and a larger amount of steamed milk.

The term ‘latte’ has become quite popularly used for some drinks. Many people create variations by replacing the coffee with another base, such as matcha, masala chai (Indian spiced tea), turmeric, soy milk, or almond milk.

How to make cafe latte
A typical serving of latte usually comes in a 240-mL (8 US fl oz) cup or glass. It uses a standardized shot of espresso, either a single or double, and is filled with steamed milk. It has a layer of foamed milk with a thickness of approximately 12 mm (0.5 inches) on the top.

In the United States, latte is often sweetened heavily. It may contain sugar as much as 3% or even more. However, outside the country, latte usually does not use sugar. Of course, the customer may add sugar into it if they prefer to, but they usually just add a small amount of sugar. There is an elegance in the smoothness of unsweetened latte.

In Italy, caffelatte is almost always prepared only for breakfast at home. The coffee is brewed by using a stovetop Moka pot and then poured into a cup which already contains heated milk. Unlike the international latte, the original Italian latte uses regular milk and not foamed milk. Again, it usually does not use sugar. The drinker may add some sugar if they prefer to.

Iced latte is a popular variation in the United States. It uses espresso and chilled milk, which are poured over ice. To avoid warming up the drink, the espresso is often pre-chilled, sometimes in a mixture with the milk. Unlike hot latte, iced latte does not have steamed milk or foam. Furthermore, iced latte almost always have flavoring syrups or sugar added.

The differences of latte vs coffee
As mentioned above, latte and regular coffee uses different bases. Latte is based on espresso, whereas regular coffee uses American coffee. Furthermore, latte uses steamed or foamed milk, whereas regular coffee uses just a small amount of milk or cream.

You can tell latte and regular coffee apart by the colors. Latte usually comes with a lighter brown color due to having more volume of milk. It may come with a latte art created by the barista. On the other hand, regular coffee has a much darker brown color due to using just a small amount of milk/cream. Regular coffee does not have a layer of milk foam, so you can’t really draw an art on the top.

In terms of flavor, latte is smoother, gentler, and milder. The coffee flavor is not overpowering at all, as it has been greatly softened by the milk. Latte is highly recommended for people who can’t take acidic drinks. On the other hand, regular coffee has a stronger and bolder flavor, with the acidity of the coffee still quite prominent. Regular coffee is suitable for people who prefer a richer coffee flavor.

Latte vs Coffee
- Made from espresso and steamed milk- Made from American coffee with a small amount of milk/cream and sugar
- Lighter brown color- Darker brown color
- Smoother and milder flavor- Stronger, more intense flavor
- Less acidic- More acidic

Now, you know the differences of latte vs coffee. Latte is made from espresso and steamed milk, and is smoother and milder in flavor. Latte is suitable for people who can’t take acidic drinks. On the other hand, regular coffee is made from American coffee with a small amount of milk/cream. It has a stronger coffee flavor.