It's incredible how many variations of coffee + milk + foam are actually possible! Change one little thing and the drink goes from bitter to rich, or from creamy to airy.
• Café au Lait - This drink is simply half brewed coffee and half warmed milk. You might get a little foam on top, but the essential idea is thinning the strong coffee with a generous amount of warm, creamy milk.
• Latté - Similar to a café au lait, lattés are made with a shot (or three) of espresso poured into the bottom of a mug and topped with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam. Some people prefer to add the espresso last so it that sinks through the milk and foam instead, but the idea is the same.
• Cappuccino - We've always thought of cappuccinos as the opposite of lattés. A cappuccino also uses shots of espresso, but the proportions of milk and foam are reversed: a little milk, lots of foam. This gives you a much stronger coffee flavor. The key to a good cappuccino in our opinion is really excellent foam.
• Machiatto - If you like really intense coffee flavor, try one of these! It's simply a shot of espresso topped with a little foam - no milk! Back in our barista days, we also liked a version where we replaced the foam with a little dollop of whipped cream. Not a bad way to wake up in the morning!
See what we mean? Just a few simple ingredients, but lots of ways to change it up and make a drink that suits your tastes exactly.
What's your favorite way to drink coffee?