The Piccolo coffee or latte is quite a mysterious drink.
In fact, this little espresso beverage can be hard to find and is usually misunderstood.
The Piccolo latte basically uses one ristretto shot but uses more espresso than milk. As a result, it contains a strong espresso flavor as compared to other coffee drinks.
Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic addition to coffee shop menus thanks to the pungent espresso and smooth milk it contains. For consumers, it’s a delicious alternative to classic coffee choices.
Let’s take a closer look at this delicious and intriguing coffee concoction.
Table Of Contents
- What is piccolo coffee?
- Are Cortado and Piccolo the same drink?
- What size is a piccolo coffee?
- How to make a piccolo coffee?
- How much milk is in a piccolo coffee?
- What is the difference between a piccolo and a macchiato?
What is piccolo coffee?
From what we know, approximately ten years ago, the drink became popular in the Sydney coffee scene.
Once it became popular among the coffee roasting fraternity, it spread its swings around the country.
The word Piccolo is basically Italian for “small”. However, it’s much more than simply a small latte. This latte is commonly referred to on coffee menus as a small milk beverage that’s typically served in a 3 to 4 oz glass.
It consists of one part espresso and two parts of steamed mocha with a layer of silky foam on top. Each shot of espresso is 20-30 ml with 40 to 60 ml of milk.
This espresso shot is then topped with steamed, stretched milk allowing it to bend with the coffee. There’s also a small amount of foam on top of the drink. The flavor of the espresso is ultimately able to come through without being overbearing.
So if you’re looking for a well-balanced espresso/milk-based beverage, then this is definitely the one to try.
Piccolos are not often seen on the menus at coffee shops as compared to classic cappuccinos and lattes. One of the reasons for this is the lack of popularity or confusion about what the drink actually is. A lot of coffee shops would be serving Cortadas instead of Piccolos and vice versa.
More often than not, the definition of Piccolos, Cortadas, and other milk drinks are confused, so customers are less familiar with it and don’t really know what to expect when they order. And as it is with human nature, people feel comfortable sticking with what they know.
Despite this confusion, though, you can still find the Piccolo drinks in some places.
The good news, though, is that the more the drink is tasted and enjoyed by people around the world, the more it will find a place in coffee shops globally.
Are Cortado and Piccolo the same drink?
The Cortado is an important marker when it comes to defining the Piccolo.
More often than not, they’re mistaken as the same thing, a small milk beverage served in a similar size glass with steamed, stretched milk and a little foam on top.
However, the difference is that the Cortado is a double shot of espresso, whereas the Piccolo is just a single shot of espresso.
So when it comes to the taste of a Cortado, the single shot to Piccolo is more delicate, sweet, and less intense. Cortado, on the other hand, is more of a bold espresso flavor, less sweet, and also contains less milk in the cup.
So ultimately, that means that there’s a huge strength difference. This can create problems if consumers aren’t aware of the difference.
So if you order a Piccolo expecting a specific type of strength, and it’s double what you are expecting, it’s not going to make for a pleasant experience. Alternatively, if you ordered a Cortado and you are served a Piccolo, it will have less intensity and a weaker taste.
What size is a piccolo coffee?
The Piccolo latte is considered a small drink as it is usually served in a small latte class.
A 100ml glass demitasse is often used to hold the drink. So it is considered more or less a baby latte, but there have been other names for the drink, such as the Spanish version Cataldo or Mezzo-Mezzo.
The Australian version of the Piccolo is referred to as a low tide latte.
How to make a piccolo coffee?
While there is an exact recipe to make a Piccolo latter, ultimately, the final version will boil down to personal preference.
So here are some tips to help you make the perfect cup of Piccolo.
To start, you need to extract a shot of espresso between 20 to 30 ml.
Pour between 40 to 60 ml of milk and steam the milk to around 60°C. Allow enough air into it to create some micro-foam but ensure that it is stretched and feels silky.
Allow the milk to mix nicely with the espresso. Finally, leave a little room for a small layer of foam on top.
It is recommended that you opt for coffee with hazelnut, chocolate, or caramel notes to enhance the flavor of your Piccolo latte. Fruity coffees are not recommended since they tend to be sour even with a small amount of milk.
However, there is no rule that says you cannot experiment a little and get the kind of favor you want to. The classic Piccolo recipe with one shot of espresso topped with milk will create a heavy and bold flavor; however, if you want something more balanced in your cup, run a full shot of coffee to that nice shot of coffee on both sides.
Remove one-quarter of this, then add the milk. Ultimately, this method will retain the intense espresso flavor but is a sweeter cup of latte.
How much milk is in a piccolo coffee?
A Piccolo latte contains approximately 100 ml of milkwith a small layer of foam on the top.
What is the difference between a piccolo and a macchiato?
Both the Piccolo and macchiato are small drinks usually served with a single shot of espresso.
However, the steamed milk makes all the difference. The macchiato is marked with similar milk to the Piccolo, meaning that the milk is steamed with more air to create foam; however, it provides a drier and more frothy texture.
Only a few teaspoons of milk are added to accompany the espresso and take the edge off it. So this is very different from the blended milk and express of a Piccolo.
Piccolo vs. Latte
Perhaps the main difference between a Piccolo latte and a standard latte is that the standard one doesn’t use a ristretto.
Instead, it is made in a much larger glass or cup, and the flavor is not as strong as a Piccolo latte.
Piccolo vs. Flat White
There is no doubt that Flat White has become a coffee shop favorite. Both lattes and cappuccinos can be made with a single or double shot of espresso, but Flat Whites usually have a double shot compared to the cappuccino’s single shot.
So despite its slightly smaller size and more or less similar milk consistency, the double shot of espresso in a Flat White offers a bolder espresso flavor as compared to the Piccolo.
Piccolo vs. Cappuccino
Recipes for the cappuccino can vary, but it’s safe to say that it’s quite different from a Piccolo.
Firstly, the cappuccino is a much larger drink and usually sat 5-6 oz glass. The milk used in cappuccino is also steamed using more air to produce a drier and frothier texture. It also doesn’t blend with the espresso.
Since the milk doesn’t blend with espresso in the same way as the Piccolo, it creates more distinct layers.
However, the bold espresso flavors can be tasted when sipping a cappuccino as well as a Piccolo, but, it’s just experienced in different ways.
While the Piccolo latte may not be a well-known coffee drink, it definitely is an intriguing and delicious one.
If you have never tried a Piccolo before, why not try your hand at the recipe, and add your own unique twist for a personalized flavor.