The caffe latte is the most customizable espresso drink of all time. They come in so many flavors and seasonal options that the choices seem endless. Well known favorites are lavender, pumpkin spice, caramel, vanilla, and you see what I mean. What makes a great flavored latte is the process and quality ingredients.
Most coffee shops use commercially made syrups and powders in their lattes. I get it, it's hard to mass-produce the same drink in multiple locations and most people care about the espresso. Beans aside, using the right ingredients is important. Between syrup and powders, matcha excluded, homemade organic syrups are the preferred way to add flavor to your latte. When made this way, the flavor comes through beautifully and tends not to have a sugary or artificial taste. Lavender and turmeric are great examples of when added correctly, they accent your latte instead of taking over with a sugary tsunami of flavor.
The process of making a flavored latte is fairly standard. Most cafe's place the syrup at the bottom of the cup, add warm milk and espresso, and there you go. I prefer two alternative ways. The first is to place the flavor in the milk and warm them up together. The advantage of this is that while the milk is warming up, the flavor is being mixed throughout the pitcher and is heating at the same time, making your milk truly flavored milk. This isn't and economical if you have a massive line of clients, yet the flavor is amazing.
The other method is to mix your flavor in with the espresso shot. This is much less popular yet I recommend you try this at least once, especially with powdered drinks if you sift the powder into smaller pieces. Place the powder in the small espresso pitcher and pull your espresso shot. Then whisk them together. This does two things: First, the sifted powder mixes well with the hot espresso because it's finer and the whisking aerates the espresso creating a more smooth and round shot with less bitterness and more of a creamy taste. If you want your espresso to bite you, then don't use a whisk.
Note: You should be using powder when making a matcha latte.
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