What is a latte? A guide for the new coffee drinks

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What is a latte? A guide for the new coffee drinks

Coffee is a centenary drink, which is believed to have been born in the Middle East, and then spread far and wide. The Portuguese also played their role in this story, having been strong drivers in the commerce and consumption of coffee: maybe that’s why we take coffee so seriously, and everyone knows the galão, pingo, meia de leite, italiana, abatanado, garoto or café com cheirinho. Oh, and all of this in a scalded, or cold cup.

Coffee based drinks are one of the current food trends , however, consumers may get a bit confused with the import of new combinations and designations. In this small guide, we try to help you out on your next coffee endeavor.


An espresso is a regular coffee (in Portugal), where around 8 grams of finely ground coffee are subjected to scalding water and high pressure, which extracts flavour and colour from the grains. A good coffee has to have a nice coat of foam (crema) and a strong body.

Novas bebidas de café


An Americano is actually a coffee floating over hot water. In other words, you brew an espresso (30 ml), to which you must add the double amount of hot water (60 ml). In Portugal, this would be considered a very watery coffee, but it might be the right choice for those who take their espresso with a glass of water.

Novas bebidas de café


The essence of a macchiato is the same as the Portuguese pingo, but slightly more sophisticated. In this case, the milk is substituted by milk foam. This drink is composed of equal parts of espresso coffee and milk foam.

Novas bebidas de café


The cappuccino is an Italian staple, but for the Portuguese it can be compared to a large meia de leite, with a generous topping of milk foam.The cappuccino is composed of equal parts of espresso coffee, milk and milk foam.

Novas bebidas de café


The flat white is possibly the most similar drink to the Portuguese meia de leite, well, at least, a very well brewed meia de leite. It is composed of an espresso (30-60 ml) and the double amount of milk and topped with a thin layer of milk foam. It is similar to a cappuccino, but with more milk.

Novas bebidas de café


The mocaccino is made up of four parts, two equal parts of espresso coffee and milk, and half the amount of chocolate and milk foam; it’s a derivation of the cappuccino, but sweeter due to the presence of chocolate.

Novas bebidas de café


The latte can be seen as a large milky galão by the Portuguese. It is composed of an espresso coffee and 300 ml of milk, topped with a thin layer of milk foam.

Novas bebidas de café


The frappé is a refreshing Greek drink, which is composed of instant coffee, water and optional milk and cream. It is all blended in a shaker, which gives it a characteristically large foam top. And of course, ice!

Novas bebidas de café

You can see a complete infographic on the subject here.


Image Credits 
Mocaccino by Ernst Vikne, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Main image by Coffee Cup Guide

3 replies on “What is a latte? A guide for the new coffee drinks

  • João Carvalho

    Para uma pessoa que sempre se debateu com o que pedir no “Costa” e no “Starbucks” para dar a parecer que é um quanto entendedor no assunto dos cafés e palavras caras como o “latte” foi bastante esclarecedor e agradeço por este post que me ajudar no quotidiano.
    Gostei imenso, continuem!

  • Maria

    Ora aí está outro assunto muito interesante pois adoro um café bem tirado. Quanto aos outros é sempre bom saber. Gostei muito deste post. Parabéns e continuem sempre assim!


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