a piccolo latte

What Is A Piccolo Latte? | Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated on 20/02/2022 by Miki

A piccolo latte, or simply a piccolo, might not be as well-known as a flat white, but it is pretty popular among dedicated coffee lovers here in Australia. With that being said, we cannot expect that every single barista knows what exactly a piccolo is. Even at Starbucks, I don’t see a piccolo on their drink menu. Ultimately, we could judge a barista’s knowledge by asking for a piccolo at any cafes although we didn’t intend to be mean or anything. In this article, you will learn what a piccolo latte is and how to make it at home. If you have an espresso machine and make regular coffee as your daily morning routine, you will want to try a piccolo latte for your new coffee discovery! This drink has an inviting flavour and a rich, creamy texture. It’s not usually sweet either (except that you add some sugar or other sweetner obviously), so it pairs well with savory meals and would be an excellent choice for brunch. The piccolo latte is a great option for people who are looking for a delicious but easy way to lower their caffeine intake and for those who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

What Is A Piccolo Latte?

A piccolo latte means a ‘small’ latte in Italian and it typically consists of one shot of a ristretto and around 100 ml of frothed milk. You may wonder what a ristretto is. It is a concentrated form of espresso and it generally produces 15-20 ml of liquid. A piccolo is usually served in a glass just like a latte. Even though the piccolo is literally small, it is not simply a small latte. The use of the ristretto makes this drink perfectly flavourful and gives depth to it. It is a perfect choice of coffee for people who are conscious of their milk intake without sacrificing the flavour.

By the way, you may wonder why the musical instrument is also called ‘piccolo’. Personally, I didn’t know the word ‘piccolo’ for coffee when I was a child. As we already discovered, ‘piccolo’ means ‘small’ in Italian and the instrument ‘piccolo’ is half the size of a flute. This completely explains where the name has come from. I find it quite interesting. Back to the coffee, it is totally worth trying a piccolo latte either making one at home or having one at cafes if you haven’t.

How To Make A Piccolo Latte At Home

how to make a piccolo latte

Making a piccolo latte at home is not difficult and you simply need an espresso machine, good-quality coffee beans and your choice of milk. You could buy pre-ground coffee, but if you want to experience the best, then you will need to grind the beans just before brewing. Here is a simple and easy recipe:

  1. Grind coffee beans to a fine grind.
  2. Prepare one shot of ristretto (15-20ml).
  3. Froth your milk to approximately 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). You will need up to 60ml of milk to pour onto the ristretto and make sure to produce silky microfoam.
  4. Pour the ristretto into a glass (typically 90-100ml glass) and then pour the frothed milk nicely. Top with a thin layer of foam to finish.
  5. Enjoy your coffee 🙂

Piccolo vs Latte

Even though a piccolo latte has the word ‘latte’, it is not the same as a latte. A piccolo is a ristretto-based coffee whereas a latte is espresso-based. Another difference is a piccolo is served in a much smaller glass than a latte and it tastes stronger.

piccolo vs latte

If you like a latte but want to reduce your milk intake, then you will want to try a piccolo. It is also perfect if you would like a stronger kick in your coffee. Or simply you may like a change once in a while.

Piccolo vs Flat White

A flat white is one of the most popular drinks at Australian cafes and it typically contains a double shot of espresso with beautifully frothed milk. Even though a piccolo and a flat white have a similarity in the milk consistency, you may find a flat white more intense because of its double shot of espresso.

piccolo vs flat white

Another point to mention is that a piccolo is usually served in a small glass while a flat white is served in a cup or a mug. You can check this article if you want to learn more about flat white.

Piccolo vs Macchiato

Although both a piccolo and a macchiato are served in a small glass, they are not the same. The milk used for a macchiato is more frothy and just a couple of teaspoons of it should be added to a single shot of espresso. On the other hand, a piccolo is commonly a good blend of milk and a ristretto. A macchiato is much stronger than a piccolo because of the amount of milk.

piccolo vs macchiato

I like a good macchiato when I feel like having a bit less stronger than an espresso for this reason since I don’t usually use milk in my coffee.

Piccolo vs Cortado

A cortado consists of a shot of espresso and approximately the same amount of steamed milk. It is similar to a piccolo, but there is no froth. Due to the ratio of coffee and milk, a cortado has a well-balanced flavour. You can enjoy the strength of coffee while tasting the mellowness of milk.

piccolo vs cortado

Since the milk content of a cortado is much less than a piccolo, it is stronger than a piccolo.

How Many Calories Are In A Piccolo?

As a piccolo is a small drink, it naturally has fewer calories compared to regular drinks such as a latte and cappuccino. If you choose one with full cream milk, it has 45 calories whereas it’s only 25 calories with skim milk.

For this reason, a piccolo is an excellent choice for any coffee lovers who want to limit their milk intake and calories. This is especially true if you like both strong coffee and smooth steamed milk at the same time.

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Buy Piccolo Latte Glasses

It would be much nicer if you got some piccolo latte glasses. It simply wouldn’t be the same if you used a small cup instead. There are some good choices of piccolo latte glasses on the market.

Duralex Picardie Tumbler 90ml

Duralex Picardie Tumbler 90ml

Duralex is founded in 1945 in France and it is well-known for its invention of glass tempering. It is extremely durable and resistant to sudden temperature shock from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The tumbler can go directly from the freezer to the microwave. It is dishwasher-safe too. This comes as a set of 6 and it is of great value.

Duralex Provence Tumbler Glass 90ml 

Duralex Provence Tumbler 90ml

The Provence glass is as durable as the Picardie, it can be slightly more durable in that it can withstand the extreme temperature from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 266 degrees Fahrenheit. It is conveniently stackable, resistant to chipping and comes as a set of 6 just like the Picardie.

IOco Piccolo All Glass Coffee Traveller

If you live in Australia, you may want to check IOco. If you prefer taking your coffee with you, it is a perfect choice. It is made of double-wall glass to keep your coffee temperature. Moreover, it has a glass lid so that it won’t ruin the taste of the coffee. It is handblown, BPA free and dishwasher-safe. However, please keep in mind that you cannot microwave it.

Inspire Double Wall Glass Piccolo

Another option for Australian residents is an Inspire glass from Woolworth. It can be convenient for you to buy one as you should be able to get to Woolworth quite easily if you choose not to make a purchase online. I quite like the look of it since it feels like having a piccolo at a cafe. This includes a set of 2, so it will be a good choice if you don’t want to stock too many glasses at home. In addition, it’s absolutely great value for money.

Final Thoughts

A piccolo latte is a type of coffee consisting of espresso and frothed milk. It is similar to the latte but with less milk. A piccolo latte is a drink that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is also a good drink to start your morning with because it has just the right amount of caffeine for a small pick me up, especially for those of us who are not morning people.

If you haven’t tried a piccolo latte yet, why don’t you make one at home? It is easy to make, and you never know that it may become your favourite. Just like the other types of coffee, it is highly recommended to use good-quality coffee beans. Please share your first piccolo latte experience in a comment below.

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