Cafe Latte History
Café lattes are an American innovation. The word latte in Italian means milk. The word café latte, therefore, means coffee with milk in Italy. This is unlike lattes found in English speaking countries like United States and United Kingdom where lattes automatically mean coffee and milk combined. In Portuguese, these drinks are called café com leite, while in France they are called café au lait. The Spanish drinks on the other hand are called café con leche.
Café lattes were first brought into America in the mid 1970s. This was similar to espressos that were prepared by using a combination of milk, espresso and creamy froth on top. If you order for lattes in English speaking countries, you would get a combination of coffee and milk. On the other hand, if you order for lattes in Italy, you would only get hot milk.
The word cafe latte was first mentioned in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1847. William Dean Howells used the word café lattes in 1867 while writing his famous essay “Italian Journeys”.
According to Kenneth David, lattes were an original invention from Italy while café lattes seem to be a complete American invention. Here milk was combined with espresso and served with creamy froth on top. The Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley (California) claim to be the original inventors of café lattes in America, way back in 1950. They claim that Lino, a famous barista came up with this unique idea of combining espresso with milk to prepare a milder version of Italian cappuccinos that would appeal to the American taste buds.
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