How do you like your coffee? I myself prefer it in a large cup, steaming hot, with two sugars.
According to an unofficial survey, only 35% of those who appreciate the refreshing aroma of coffee prefer it black.
The rest of 65% need sugar and/or cream to bring out the flavor and mellow out the zing of that first sip.
However, regardless of preference, most coffee drinkers like to feel the punch of caffeine when they enjoy their favorite morning beverage.
In translation, most people like a strong coffee, as long as it’s mixed with ingredients that cut down the bitterness.
Luckily for us, coffee is a versatile beverage that blends nicely with a wide range of flavors and textures.
As proof, we have chains like Starbucks and Costa (just to name two world-renowned brands that make a living out of selling coffee) and new types of coffee seem to pop up every season (looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Latte!).
However, even if some of the new blends are quite popular, most people will always return for the classics: cappuccino, macchiato, and regular Lattes. Therefore, today we’ll talk about one of the classics that’s extremely appreciated all over the world: the Spanish Latte.
What is a Spanish Latte & Is It Really Spanish?
The Café con Leche (that’s how a Spanish person would order a Spanish Latte) has a unique and rich flavor without losing anything from that caffeine kick we crave.
This beverage’s origins seem to have started in Spain, but it was so incredibly popular that nowadays people enjoy it all over the world, especially across Latin America, Florida, and the Philippines.
So, isn’t this just a regular Latte?
Since it is a strong coffee prepared with hot milk, it’s easy to think about the Spanish Latte as just another coffee with milk. And, while technically you would be right (it is a mixture of coffee and milk), you couldn’t be more wrong.
First of all, Café con Leche is a breakfast beverage because it is made with espresso and whole milk (equal parts). As a result, the drink is heavier and more filling than a Latte and has a sweeter taste.
Moreover, a Spanish Latte is served hotter than other drinks so you can enjoy its unique creaminess and thickness.
Also, a regular Latte (which is an Italian beverage) is made with foamed or steamed milk and has a layer of foam at the top. This doesn’t happen with a Spanish Latte, which is a simple and elegant drink with a rich and creamy texture.
In summary, Café con Leche has a thicker, creamier texture and is a bit sweeter than Lattes (without added flavored syrup). This is due to the way these two drinks are prepared and how the ingredients are added.
Spanish Latte Recipe
- Whole milk (you can also use 2% if you’re not a fan of whole milk)
- Make sure the water you’re using is of the best quality. This means that it should be clear and it shouldn’t taste funny (which can happen if the water has a high concentration of minerals or it comes from the tap in a crowded city). So, if you have doubts, better use bottled or filtered water instead.
- Choose the coffee beans for your espresso and make sure they are finely ground. It’s best to grind the beans right before making the espresso, for an added flavor of freshness.
- Brew the coffee using the beans and water selected above. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a stove-top espresso maker or you can simply make a very strong coffee.
- Place the milk in a pot or pan and heat it up to about 82° F (27.7° C) - you can also scald it in the microwave, but make sure it doesn’t boil. Next, you’ll have to froth it, to give it some texture. If you have a frother, then this step should be easy, but if you’re a beginner, have a look at this milk frothing tutorial, to get some skills.
- When you reach this step, you should have both the milk and the coffee ready, which means it’s time to mix them! A traditional Cafe con Leche has equal parts of coffee and milk, so measure each side before putting them together. Also, make sure to pour the milk into the coffee, and not the other way around, to give the drink a creamy texture.
- Add flavor or sugar. This step is optional, and if you want a classic Spanish Latte, not necessary. However, if you want to get creative, go ahead and use your favorite flavors.
What Should It Taste Like?
If this is your first time tasting Spanish Late (made at home or in a coffee shop), it helps to know what to expect.
As I already mentioned, the real deal has a creamy texture and should have a slightly sweet taste. And, since it is made with espresso, you will feel the power of the coffee but not the bitter taste associated with it (due to the high ratio of milk).
Spanish Latte is truly an elegant and simple coffee drink that blends high-quality ingredients in order to create a unique harmony of tastes. Moreover, people enjoy it so much that you can find it in different versions all over the world.
Drinks such as Havana Latte, Cuban Latte, and even Vietnamese Coffee feature similar recipes with slight variations.
Overall, whether it’s Latte, espresso, cappuccino, or in any other form coffee is still one of the most popular beverages appreciated all over the globe.
So why not enjoy its versatility and the uniqueness of each culture every time we have the chance?