Variations of our most cherished coffee beverages have existed for years. Even the humble macchiato is a variation, and an evolution, of the espresso. It was developed over time for people who find espresso too intense or others who wanted something slightly different.
Another coffee beverage that is an evolution-drink which has gained a lot of popularity over the past ten years in Australia, is the Piccolo Latte.
How the the Piccolo Latte came to be
Like many staple western foods, milk has gone through a bit of a love hate relationship over the past decade. This has resulted in a growing number of people wanting to reduce their milk intake and therefore were after a smaller milk based coffee rather than their regular flat white or latte.
The macchiato was just a bit too small for those moving on from their lattes, and doesn’t suit our culture of lingering over a coffee with friends. Enter the Piccolo, a perfect fit between a good milk-coffee experience, but not as rich as a full-sized latte.
The piccolo is really a scaled down version of the full sized latte and is meant to represent the same flavour and strength. I believe this is the trap people fall into when making a piccolo that causes confusion and customer dissatisfaction.
Let me explain.
It’s all about shot length
The length of the shot is crucial. The coffee component in a latte is less than one quarter of the entire beverage, a 25ml shot in a 220ml glass. That means if we draw our standard shot of 25ml into the 90ml piccolo glass, the flavour balance is all wrong, and this is where most mistakes are made when making this drink.
This is how we make it
- Grab 90ml glass, preferably not a demitasse cup. It’s a piccolo latte not a piccolo cappuccino, so try and make it in a glass.
- Start with our standard brewing recipe of grinding and dosing 23g into your double portafilter basket. This will make 2 piccolo’s perfect for you and your friend.
- Place the glasses on a scale on your espresso machine. If you don’t have one we sell them here.
- Extract the coffee into the glasses and stop the extraction at around 30g (15g in each glass).
- If you can manage two tasks at once heat milk (65-70 degrees) in a small 300ml pitcher at the same time.
- Then pour the milk evenly over both coffees and hey presto, its coffee time.
You can read about heating and texturing milk in our guide here.
I really enjoy making piccolos, and I love sharing them with a friend even more. And the best thing is that I don’t feel guilty about having a second or third cup.
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