When you step into your local coffee shop, there is never a shortage of delicious espresso and milk-based drinks to choose from!
Most beverages are a combination of milk and espresso plus add-ins like sweeteners, foams, and flavorings.
But have you ever wondered how much milk is in your favorite drink? And does the amount of milk in an espresso-based drink fundamentally change what it is called and how it tastes?
As any barista can tell you, the amount of milk in your drink absolutely impacts what it’s called and how it tastes.
You can get really strong espresso flavored drinks like macchiatos or straight shots or you can go for creamier, milkier options like cappuccinos or lattes. But how much milk is in these drinks and why does it really matter?
So, how much milk is in a latte? Typically, a latte is going to be 1 part espresso to 3 parts or more of milk, so the exact amount will depend on the size of latte you order and where it’s from. For example, a grande latte will typically have 2 shots of espresso of 1 ounce each and about 8-14 ounces of milk.
Read on to discover more about how much milk is in a latte, the differences between lattes, macchiatos, mochas, cappuccinos, and other hot drinks, and how to make a delicious latte right at home.
What Is A Latte?
A latte is popular beverage made with an espresso base, steamed milk, and foam to create a subtle espresso flavored drink that is creamy and rich.
They are incredibly popular in North America thanks to their comforting taste and creamy texture.
While there is no hard and fast rule about the ratios of espresso to milk in a latte, typically in a store-bought latte you are going to have about 1 ounce of espresso per 8 ounces of steamed milk.
The milk and espresso are mixed together and then topped with a thin layer of airy foamed milk.
The amount of milk in a latte will vary if you make it at home. If you want to make a creamy latte, you can combine at least 1 part espresso with 3 parts steamed milk.
You’ll also want to get a milk frother so that you can top it with the airy foam, since this adds a delicious texture to the drink.
How Much Milk Is In A Latte?
As we’ve learned, there’s no hard and fast rule about exactly how much milk is in a latte.
It can range from a ratio of 1:3 or 1:8, espresso to steamed milk depending on where you buy it, the size you get, or if you’re making your latte at home. However, we can create a bit of an outline.
Since one of the most popular coffee chains in North America is Starbucks, using their espresso to milk ratios is a great place to start.
Their coffees are delicious and beloved by people across the United States, which means they must be doing something right.
Based on their coffee sizes, the amount of milk per latte can be broken down as follows:
Short (8 Fluid Ounces)
A short latte will have one shot of espresso, which is about 1 ounce. Based on the calorie count will have about 7 ounces of milk and then be topped with the light milk foam. The espresso-to-milk ratio equals 1:7.
Tall (12 Fluid Ounces)
A tall latte is also made with one shot of espresso, equalling about one ounce. It will be made with about 10-11 ounces of milk and be finished off with a layer of airy milk foam. The espresso-to-milk ratio equals 1:10-11.
Grande (16 Fluid Ounces)
A grande latte typically contains two shots of espresso, equalling about 2 ounces. The rest of the drink is made up of about 14 ounces of steamed milk and then topped with a layer of airy milk foam. The espresso-to-milk ratio equals 1:7.
Venti (20 Fluid Ounces)
A venti latte also contains two shots of espresso which works out to roughly two ounces.
They then add about 18 ounces of steamed milk mixed with the espresso and topped with that characteristic layer of milk foam. The espresso-to-milk ratio equals 1:9.
Which Size Latte Is Going to Have The Lowest Espresso To Milk Ratio?
If you’re picking up a latte from Starbucks and you want a stronger espresso flavor then there are a couple of sizes to choose from.
Both the Short and the Grande are going to have a ratio of espresso to milk of about 1:7. So for every 1 ounce of espresso there are 7 ounces of milk.
The Tall and Venti sizes are going to have a milder espresso flavor since the ratio of espresso to milk is much smaller.
The Venti comes in at a ratio of about 1:9, so 1 ounce of espresso for 9 ounces of milk. The Tall is going to be the mildest espresso flavor with a ratio of 1:10-11.
That means a Tall latte from Starbucks will have about 1 ounce of espresso for every 10 to 11 ounces of steamed milk, making it a great choice for folks who like a subtler taste to their lattes.
Regardless of your preference, a latte is going to satisfy your craving for caffeine and creaminess.
What’s The Difference Between A Latte And A Cappuccino?
You’ve likely seen cappuccinos and lattes on menus at coffee shops across the country, but if you’re not familiar with these hot beverages you might be wondering what the difference is between them.
While both lattes and cappuccinos have an espresso base, the ratio of milk to espresso is much different.
While a latte can have a ratio of espresso to milk ranging anywhere from about 1 part espresso to 3-11 parts milk, a cappuccino is typically made in a 1 to 1 ratio of espresso to milk topped with a thick layer of airy milk foam.
This closer ratio makes a cappuccino have a much stronger espresso flavor.
Another difference between a latte and a cappuccino is that while many baristas mix the espresso and steamed milk together in a latte, in cappuccinos the layers are all kept separate.
This separation also contributes to a cappuccino having a much more strong and distinct espresso taste.
Both drinks are incredibly popular and the best one for you depends on whether you prefer a strong espresso flavor balanced with the creaminess of the milk foam or if you’re looking for something a little milder in espresso taste.
If you want that strong espresso taste with an equal balance of foam and steamed milk, go for a cappuccino. If you’re looking for a milder-tasting drink that is super creamy, then the latte is going to be your best bet.
What’s The Difference Between A Latte And A Macchiato?
Another popular coffee shop drink, macchiatos are made with espresso and steamed milk, just like a latte.
The main difference is the ratio of milk to espresso. Where lattes are usually at least two-thirds milk, a macchiato is a shot of espresso with just a dollop of milk.
Most macchiatos at traditional coffee shops will be served in a small 2 to 3-ounce espresso cup.
The shot of espresso, about 1 ounce, will be poured into a small amount of steamed milk (maybe an ounce or two), leaving a small spot on the top of the milk where the espresso was poured in.
Unlike a latte or a cappuccino, there is no foamed or frothed milk poured on top.
A macchiato is a much stronger tasting espresso drink, so it’s perfect for folks who really savor the taste and aroma of good quality espresso, but do enjoy the subtle creaminess of a shot of steamed milk too.
What’s The Difference Between A Latte And A Mocha?
Mochas are another popular espresso drink served across the United States, but are slightly different from lattes.
They are named from mocha coffee beans (Arabica beans) originally harvested from Mocha in Yemen. These beans are mildly sweet and have chocolatey undertones.
To bring out the chocolate flavors in a mocha, it is made from espresso, hot chocolate, steamed milk, and foam. The typical recipe you’ll find is
- 2 shots of espresso
- 2 ounces of hot chocolate
- 1 ounce of steamed milk
- a thin layer of milk foam
So it’s pretty similar to a latte, but has much less milk and a richer, darker flavor thanks to the double espresso shots and the rich hot chocolate.
It’s a perfect choice for folks who love the richness of chocolate and coffee together, plus a hint of steamed milk and foam.
Do you have a favorite latte or espresso drink? Let us know in the comments!
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