The latte: Echo Coffee style

April 13, 2010

image 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


5 Responses to “The latte: Echo Coffee style”

  1. Melissa Dillon on April 13th, 2010 10:42 am

    Now I want to buy some of your espresso beans, since I am unable to be there to try your coffee. Sounds GREAT! That was a very descriptive piece that makes me want to sit down and have a GREAT cup of coffee right now…… even thought it is only 11:08 am here and I already made one this morning, and had one at a meeting I was at. I don’t see how I can buy espresso. Please tell me how. Thank you, Melissa

  2. Wandering Justin on April 15th, 2010 8:08 am

    Steve, since we’re talking about the cap (my favorite drink) … what do you consider the difference between a wet cap and a latte? To me, the wet cap is a lot less milky, but I could be wrong. Thought I’d ask an expert!

  3. Steve Belt on April 15th, 2010 9:05 am

    Mel, I haven’t sold any of my coffees yet, because where I’ve been roasting in the past would probably not pass full health department certification (my garage or on a sidewalk). Once I get setup in the new shop, I’ll load this site with our offerings, so that the coffee can be ordered online.

  4. Steve Belt on April 15th, 2010 9:12 am

    Justin, I define wet versus dry as an indicator of how much micro foam is in the drink. A standard dry cap would have approximately 2 ounces of micro foam, where a wet cap would have significantly less, and would make latte art in the cap possible.

    As far as the difference between our wet cap and a latte, it would primarily come down to the total volume of milk (close to 4 oz for a wet cap, and 10-14 oz for a latte).

  5. Brian on April 15th, 2010 5:44 pm

    What a tease! Now I want to go out and buy a latte!