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A latte is a type of coffee drink made with hot milk.
What in English-speaking countries is now called a latte would be referred to in Italy as "caffè e latte" (commonly "caffèllatte" - with two l's because of raddoppiamento sintattico), literally "coffee and milk", similar to the French "café au lait". As recently as 1980, if you ordered a "latte" in an Italian coffeehouse in North America, you would expect to get a glass of milk —and if you ordered a "caffèllatte," you would get a beverage with far less milk in it than what has now come to be called a "latte."
Outside Italy since the early 1980s, a latte is prepared with approximately one third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk. Thus it has more milk than a cappuccino, and has a milder, milkier taste.
The evolution of this term (and this particular form of the beverage) is relatively recent and probably dates from the spread of the 1980s Seattle coffee craze to the rest of the United States (and beyond) via the growth of Seattle-based Starbucks. Some cafés create designs in frothed milk atop a latte.
A latte can be differentiated between a cappuccino and a flat white by the proportion of milk to froth. A latte is recognised as having about one-third espresso and one centimetre of froth exhibiting latte art, with the remainder of the beverage being steamed milk. A cappuccino will hold about one-third froth, one-third steamed milk and one third espresso. A flat white will hold no froth, with the serving container filled about one-third espresso and the rest with steamed milk.
* In some establishments, lattes are served in a glass on a saucer with a napkin which can be used to hold the (sometimes hot) glass.
* A latte is sometimes served in a bowl.
* The complicated pricing schemes offered by some establishments have led to the practice of ghetto latte (sometimes called bootleg latte), whereby some customers use the free milk and other condiments to convert a cheaper latte to a more expensive one.
* In Asia and North America, lattes have been combined with Asian teas. Coffee and tea shops now offer hot or iced latte versions of chai, matcha (Japanese powdered green tea), and Royal milk tea.