Piccolo coffee also known as Piccolo Latte is an Australian specialty that has gained popularity in recent years. The name “piccolo” means “small” in Italian, and this drink is the perfect option for coffee lovers who want a strong espresso flavor in a smaller serving size.
Though it resembles a classic latte in many ways, it has some unique features that make it stand out.
Piccolo lattes are prepared with a smaller espresso shot, called a ristretto shot, which is around 20 mL. Its ratio is one part Espresso and two parts milk and it’s, therefore, creamier and sweet.
This coffee is a powerful combination of espresso shot and silky milk. It might not be seen on every cafe’s menu, but it’s worth trying if you get the chance.
In this article, I will delve deep into the World of Piccolo coffee describing how it tastes, how you can prepare it at home, and how is it different from other milky coffee drinks.
The type of Milk and Froth for Piccolo Latte
A Piccolo Latte typically uses steamed milk that is textured to have a velvety and silky texture, with a small amount of microfoam on top.
The type of milk used in a Piccolo can vary depending on personal preference, but here are some common tips:
Milk type: Whole milk is a common choice for a Piccolo Latte, providing a creamy texture and rich flavor. However, you can also use skimmed, almond, or oat milk if you are cutting calories from your diet.
Froth level: Typically, a Piccolo has less froth than a traditional cappuccino or latte. The milk is heated to around 60-65 degrees Celsius (140-149 degrees Fahrenheit) and then carefully textured to create a smooth, creamy texture that is not too thick or too thin.
Ultimately, the type of milk and froth used in a Piccolo Coffee is up to personal preference. Try different combinations to find the perfect balance of flavors and textures that suit your taste.
How many Shot of Espresso in a Piccolo Latte Drink
Piccolo Latte is traditionally made with a Ristretto shot (20 mL) instead of a standard Espresso shot, which is essentially a smaller cousin of Espresso.
When using a manual espresso machine, stop the shot a bit sooner than when making an espresso shot. You should stop the yield at 20 mL, which will take approximately 15 to 20 seconds.
If you prefer, you may also prepare it with a double shot of Espresso, but make sure it is more concentrated than a standard shot of Espresso, as it is the essence of a Piccolo Latte.
Also Read: Ristretto vs Espresso
The Recipe of Piccolo Latte
- Espresso machine
- Milk Steamer
- Coffee grinder
- 20 mL Ristretto Shot
- 40 mL Milk
- Sugar or Sweeteners (Optional)
- Prepare a 20 mL Ristretto shot with an Espresso machine. Use the same dose as a single shot of Espresso and Restrict the final yield to 20 mL instead of standard 30 mL.
- Steam 40 mL milk using a milk frother or steam wand while your espresso is brewing. You want the milk to be velvety and smooth with small bubbles.Whole Milk is preferred for preparing Piccolo Latte. But you can also use other types of milk as you like
- Pour the steamed milk over freshly prepared Ristretto shot.
- If you like your coffee sweet, add sugar or sweeteners. You can also add Hazelnut or Vanilla syrups to make your drink fancy.
- And there you have it, a quick and easy recipe for making your own Piccolo Latte at home. Serve it in a small glass as they do traditionally.
The best coffee beans for Piccolo Latte
When making a delicious cup of latte, the choice of coffee beans is very important. Not all beans are created equal, some are better suited for making lattes than others.
To make the perfect Latte, it is generally best to use beans with a strong and bold flavor profile that can stand up to the small amount of milk used.
My personal favorite for a Piccolo Coffee or any Milk Based Espresso drink is Lavazza Super Crema. It is a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans that offers a strong flavor with roasted hazelnut and dark chocolate notes.
I will not recommend using a light roast coffee for making lattes. Milk doesn’t pair well with the fruity and sour notes in a light roast. Stick to medium and dark roasts to ensure a delicious and flavorful latte every time.
Also Read: Best Coffee beans for Espresso
What does a Piccolo latte taste like?
Piccolo Latte isn’t a very famous drink and you won’t find it easily in local coffee shops.
When I tried the Piccolo for the first time last year, I was pleasantly surprised by its small but mighty stature, boasting a perfect balance of milk flavors and caffeine content.
The Ristretto shot in a Piccolo Latte is usually stronger and more concentrated than in a traditional latte, which gives it a bold and intense coffee flavor that is not overpowered by the milk.
Overall, Piccolo Coffee is a delicious and enjoyable coffee beverage that’s perfect for those who prefer a strong yet balanced coffee flavor. It’s no wonder why it’s quickly becoming a go-to drink for coffee aficionados.
Piccolo Latte compared to other Milk-based drinks
Let’s compare Piccolo to other milk-based coffee drinks like Latte, Cappuccino, and Cortado to see how it differs.
Piccolo vs Latte
Despite having the word “latte” in its name, the Piccolo is not the same as a classic latte.
In general, a latte is served in a size of 8-10 ounces and is prepared using a double shot of espresso and 6-8 ounces of steamed milk.
However, a Piccolo is substantially smaller, around 3-4 oz, and is prepared with smaller Ristretto shots.
In Piccolo Latte, the espresso to milk ratio is 1 to 2. While, in a traditional Latte, the ratio is around 1 to 3 or 4.
Piccolo Coffee is significantly stronger than a traditional Latte as it is prepared with less milk and a more concentrated Ristretto shot.
Piccolo Latte vs Cappuccino
Although Cappuccino has many variations but it is significantly different from Piccolo Latte.
A Cappuccino is prepared with a double shot of espresso, and steamed milk, and topped with a thick foam layer. Cappuccino is a 6 oz drink with equal parts of Espresso, Steamed milk, and Frothy milk.
In Latte the milk is heated to a velvety smoothness and topped with a layer of microfoam.
The Dry milk in Cappuccino and Steamed milk in Piccolo pair with Espresso in different ways resulting in distinct flavor profiles.
The small amount of milk used in the Piccolo Coffee allows the espresso to take center stage, while the Cappuccino also has pronounced Espresso flavors because of the dry milk but is different from Latte.
Also Read: Latte vs Cappuccino
Piccolo Latte vs Macchiato
The Piccolo Latte and Macchiato both have a small serving size and are made with a single shot of espresso. It’s the type of milk that makes the difference.
Macchiatos have only a small dollop of foamed milk on the top of the shot, while Piccolo Lattes typically have two ounces of steamed milk.
In terms of size, a macchiato is usually served in a small demitasse cup, while a piccolo is typically served in a small glass.
A Piccolo Latte has a smoother and creamier texture and the milk adds some sweetness to the drink. The Macchiato, on the other hand, has a stronger and more intense coffee flavor with just a hint of sweetness from the small amount of milk foam.
Also Read: Macchiato vs Cortado
Piccolo Latte vs Cortado
Many people think Piccolo is the same as Cortado as they are both similar drinks with the same serving size of around 3-4 ounces.
A Cortado is typically made with a double shot of espresso and equal amounts of milk and coffee, while a Piccolo is made with a single shot of espresso, and the remaining space is taken up by milk.
As a result, Piccolo Coffee has a smoother and creamier texture, and the extra milk makes the drink sweeter. On the other hand, the Cortado is more robust in flavor due to the double shot of espresso, while the steamed milk provides a subtle sweetness that balances out the acidity of the espresso.
Final Thoughts on Piccolo Coffee
Piccolo Latte is a delicious and unique espresso-based coffee drink that offers a mix of strong coffee and creamy milk flavors in a small serving size.
Piccolo Latte is said to be originated in Australia during a time when coffee roasters were trying different coffee roasts for milk-based coffee drinks. The usual Latte drink was too heavy to test again and again, so they cut it into a short drink that is now renowned as Piccolo Coffee all over the world.
So, if you’re looking to try a new coffee drink in a smaller serving size, the Piccolo Latte is definitely worth a try.
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