Lattes are beloved coffee beverages that simultaneously invite the wrath of coffee purists while acting as gateway drinks for novice coffee drinkers. They’re widely popular across different countries and continents. And Spain happens to have a very specific variation that’s recently become popular in America.
The difference between a Spanish latte and a latte is in the ratio and type of milk that is mixed with coffee. Lattes feature one part espresso to two parts milk, while Spanish Lattes contain one part espresso and one part milk alongside its equivalent in condensed milk.
In this article, you’ll learn more about Latte and Spanish Latte alongside the pros and cons of each beverage relative to the other. You’ll also discover a handy way of crafting your own Spanish latte at home with a French Press.
Spanish Latte; A Brief Overview
A Spanish latte, also known as a Café con Leche, is an espresso-based drink that can be made easily with water, espresso, and milk. Just as the name implies, this latte has its origin in Spain. However, it has now gained popularity across Latin America, the Philippines, and certain parts of Florida.
It is a favorite breakfast drink of the Spaniards and is made with hot, scalded milk similar to the lattes from locales of Italy and France. There are a few variations of this latte, some of which are even dairy-free.
Spanish Latte Pros
The Spanish latte or Café con Leche has flavors that are a bit more reminiscent of Mexico in terms of Spanish origins. It is Spain’s version of strong coffee with hot milk and, in some variations, is made with the kick of a strong chocolate infusion, zesty orange, and warm cinnamon.
Although it has the flavorful richness of a good and strong latte, some coffee drinkers compare it to mocha. Because it is made with a one-to-one ratio of milk with coffee, it has quite a creamy texture. Spanish latte is even made with dairy-free combinations and is generally sweeter than regular lattes due to the addition of extra sugar.
In comparison to a cappuccino, a Spanish latte has a sweeter taste and a blonder color. Because it has textured frothed milk on the top, it is quite popular with avid coffee drinkers. Most people also enjoy the balance of coffee’s bitter taste with the high ratio of milk.
A survey conducted in 2018 showed that people enjoyed creamier and sweeter coffees more than plain black ones, which can also be a reason behind the increasing popularity of the Spanish latte.
Spanish Latte Cons
Spanish lattes usually carry their own signature flavor instead of the subtle tastes that are infused in purist coffee beverages like Americano and Espresso. Many coffee consumers do prefer this latte because they feel like it doesn’t carry a detectable intensity of coffee flavor.
It usually tastes like cafe Mocha (not to be confused with Moka Coffee). Spanish Latte, according to some, tastes like hot chocolate with an underlying coffee flavor because all the sweetness decreases the “coffee taste” in the beverage.
Even from a weight control perspective, one must be careful of Spanish Lattes. Since taking two tablespoons of condensed milk in your coffee is a little too much, Spanish lattes are not something that can be consumed every day. They may be good for a dessert coffee taken occasionally.
Latte: A Brief Overview
A latte or caffè latte is a milk coffee and has the essential highlight of a signature silky layer of foam. It is made up of either one or two shots of espresso, a generous portion of steamed milk, and topped with a thin layer of frothed milk.
The origin of latte is not very clear as the combination of milk and coffee has been tried and tested for centuries. However, it is known that this silky smooth beverage in its modernity originated in America and hit the peak of its popularity during the 80s in Seattle.
The addition of several ounces of steamed milk makes a latte the perfectly textured, rich, and creamy beverage with a subtle espresso taste. It has the irresistible texture of a perfectly balanced milky coffee and is aesthetically pleasing both in taste and aroma.
Although the preparation ingredients vary from place to place, the addition of frothed milk as foam on top is a necessity, which adds to its grandeur. The typical espresso to steamed milk ratio for lattes is 1 to 2.
However, this additional milk does not dilute the beverage’s taste, nor does it make the drink too runny; it simply makes the latte taste milkier. It is considered to be one of the most approachable drinks out there because of a lack of acidic bite of coffee.
Many flavors are available in this category of caffeinated beverages, including vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, and even some with fruity and nutty undertones. The popularity of lattes in comparison to other caffeinated beverages has exploded in the last decade, which owes to its sweet caramelized milky texture and underlying mild espresso tones that can be infused with a variety of flavored syrups.
The basic element that differentiates simple lattes and Spanish lattes is the kind and quantity of milk used in the two. Lattes are made with one part espresso to two parts milk, whereas Spanish lattes are made with one part espresso, one part milk, and one part condensed milk.
Although lattes boast a creamier texture, most of the drink is steamed milk, and thus the coffee flavor is too subtle. Since they are two to three times as large as cappuccinos, they tend to take longer to drink. They are also less sweet than Spanish lattes, which are made with a combination of strong coffee with scalded milk and more sugar.
How To Make Spanish Latte With French Press
- Double espresso Espresso coffee (or Substitute)
- 50 ml Warm Frothed milk
- 2 tablespoons Condensed Milk
Step 1. Make Your Espresso
The first step in making a Spanish latte is preparing your espresso. Spaniards use it primarily, but you can use any coffee substitute which is as nice and strong as espresso. Prepare your espresso as you normally would (single or double shot depending on your preference) either in an espresso machine or a Moka Pot or Aeropress.
Step 2. Froth Your Milk
The next step is frothing your milk, and this is where your French press comes into action. Half fill it with warm milk and plunge the French press up and down through it for about 30 seconds or more until it looks frothy.
Step 3. Prepare Condensed Milk
The only preparation you need to do in this step is to make sure that your condensed milk is at room temperature. Otherwise, your coffee would cool down too much once it is added to it. Two tablespoons in a glass may be too sweet, but add as much as you would like.
Step 4. Combine The Three Parts
Add the condensed milk to the glass and pour the espresso on it so that the heat from the espresso loosens up the milk upon mixing. Next, add the milk either normally or in latte art and give the mixture a good stir to make sure that your last sip won’t be too sweet.
Step 5. Enjoy Your Spanish Latte!
A Spanish Latte is what you get when you replace one part milk with sweet condensed milk. The result is sweeter but also unhealthy if consumed consistently. Avoid making Spanish Latte your daily beverage and opt for a simple Latte if you dislike the taste of coffee but want the dose of caffeine it can provide.