The introduction of franchise coffee houses to America, and the world, has made the latte a household word. Like most American slang, it's a shortened version of its original; the Italian cafellatte, which is simply coffee and milk. The name itself is simply Italian for "milk." Traditionally, a latte is double strength coffee, made in a Moka, poured over steamed milk. In Italy, it is considered a breakfast drink. A wide variety of coffee and teas are available as a latte, some hot, some cold, and available all day.
Lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and espressos are considered part of most international coffee menus. However, at franchise coffee houses, these drinks are mostly Americanized. Until recently, most baristas in Italy and other European countries served a very different style of coffee drink. Lattes have more milk and less foam than a cappuccino.
The rising costs of popular chain coffee houses have introduced a new drink, not officially on the menu. The ghetto latte might just be one of the most hated, at least by baristas, of the coffee drinks. This drink is simply two or three shots of espresso, over ice, and no water. The customer then adds cream and extras, like sugar, from the condiment bar. The savings to the customer can be nearly 50% off the same size latte. The buzz from bloggers has baristas and coffee drinkers duking it out over the "morality" of this beverage for the last couple of years.
While coffee and latte go hand in hand, the tea sellers shouldn’t be left out. Chai tea is especially popular as a latte. However, chai lattes may be popularized today, but they've been around for a long time. In India, some parts of Africa, and other parts of the world, chai consists of several spices and strong black tea that is thinned with milk and sugar.
If you're making a latte at home, remember to add the milk first and pour the coffee in last. Steaming or warming the milk before you add the coffee will help prevent it from curdling as well as keeping the coffee or tea from cooling off. Starting the day with this drink can be a special treat.