The latte: Echo Coffee style
April 13, 2010
Two weeks ago, I promised a look at the latte, Echo Coffee style.† Unfortunately, I feel quite ill the next day, followed by the insane amount of work surrounding all of the construction, hiring, and sourcing suppliers for the shop, itís taken me far longer than expected to follow up.
At any rate, letís talk a bit about the latte.† Unlike the cappuccino, the latte doesn’t have as precise a recipe. Ratios of espresso to steamed milk vary from 1:3 to 1:9.† For milk, the Echo Coffee latte will by default use 2% organic milk.† In contrast, a cappuccino will use whole milk as the default.† Since there is such a small quantity of milk, the slight increase in fat can be considered a bit of a reward for the cappuccino drinker.† Whole, skim, and soy milk will all be choices you can have in your latte.
Obviously, as milk is added, the flavor of the coffee dilutes and dilutes. Unless the coffee has a sharp taste, designed to power through a high volume of milk, most of what you will taste in a high ratio latte is milk.† To combat that flavor loss, a few options present themselves to the coffee roaster and/or barista to bring a suitable coffee flavor through a high volume of milk.
One approach to providing a strong espresso flavor suitable for powering through high volumes of milk, is to incorporate green coffee beans within the espresso blend with a naturally bitter flavor to them. Bitter flavors are stronger than the sweet, creamy flavor in milk, so excessive bitterness will indeed work.
Another approach is to introduce roasting flavors (smoke/burnt flavor) to the blend. French roast and darker roasts are indeed performed to do just this (as well as reducing some bitterness).† The darker the bean is roasted, the more origin flavor is removed from the coffee bean, and replaced by roasting flavors.† Care can be taken with darker roasts to limit the harsh burnt taste (if desired), but the result is still essentially the same.† Darker roasts produce a stronger flavor profile, which is strong enough to power through a large quantity of milk.
At Echo Coffee, what we will do is two fold.† Our espresso for latte will be roasted a little darker.† It wonít be burnt, but it will be roasted into the second crack.† Secondly, we wonít offer a 20 ounce latte.† Our largest latte will be 16 ounces.† The majority of coffee shops that offer a 20 ounce size put just 2 shots of espresso into that size, the same as a 20 ounce size.† Therefore, the only difference between the two sizes is the amount of milk, which further dilutes the coffee flavor.† We believe most customers are misguided by the larger size, and naturally assume there must be more coffee in the larger size.† Since the only thing in the larger size is more milk (and thus more calories), one could ask, why bother?
So we simply wonít offer anything larger than 16 ounces.† It saves you money and calories, and you get a better tasting coffee drink.† Looking at the ratios for a 12 ounce and 16 ounce latte, with a 2 ounce shot of espresso, the ratios are 5:1 and 7:1.
Lattes are frequently flavored, with the possible range of flavors is very extensive.† Chocolate, vanilla, nuts, berries, etc. are all possible flavors found in lattes.† At Echo Coffee, we will offer a limited but we think comprehensive list of flavors:† Guittard chocolate, Monin vanilla and sugar free vanilla, Monin hazelnut, Ghirardelli Caramel, and Ghirardelli White Chocolate.
Photo Credit: ewitsoe