spanish latte

Are you a coffee lover who wants to explore different latte drinks? In this post, we're unveiling the key differences between two popular latte drinks - Spanish latte and latte. Get ready to learn about the milk, espresso, and sweeteners used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these two drinks. Which one will be your new go-to for a unique and indulgent coffee experience? Let's find out!

Spanish Latte vs Latte

Definition and Origins

A Spanish latte, also known as café con leche, is a coffee-based drink originating from Spain. It is a popular beverage enjoyed by many in their daily coffee routine. On the other hand, a latte is an Italian coffee drink composed of espresso and steamed milk, known for its creamy and smooth texture. Both drinks are admired in the world of coffee for their unique characteristics and taste. This section will help to clarify and distinguish between the two.

Key Differences

The main differences between a Spanish latte and a latte are the type of milk used, the ratio of milk to coffee, and the overall sweetness of the drink. Let's take a closer look at these distinctions:

  • Milk type and ratio: Lattes are prepared with one part espresso to two parts steamed milk. Spanish lattes, however, combine one part espresso with one part milk, along with an equivalent amount of condensed milk. This results in a creamier and sweeter beverage compared to a regular latte.

  • Sweetness: The use of condensed milk in a Spanish latte lends a distinct sweetness to the drink. While regular lattes may contain some sugar for added taste, Spanish lattes typically possess a more pronounced sweetness due to the combination of milk and condensed milk.

  • Preparation: While both drinks involve the use of espresso or strong coffee, the process of preparing them differs slightly. Lattes require steamed milk and a light layer of milk foam, whereas a Spanish latte involves the heating of milk (often scalded, not boiling) and regular stirring to prevent milk from burning.

Overall, the difference between a Spanish latte and a latte lies in the milk type, coffee-to-milk ratio, and level of sweetness. Though both drinks share a coffee base, their unique combinations of milk and preparation techniques add distinct flavors and textures, giving each beverage its particular appeal.

Ingredients and Preparation

Latte Ingredients

A traditional latte consists of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of frothy milk foam. The usual ratio is one part espresso to two parts milk. The steamed milk is prepared separately and added to the espresso resulting in a smooth, creamy drink.

Spanish Latte Ingredients

A Spanish latte, on the other hand, is a mixture of espresso, milk, and condensed milk, using a 1:1:1 ratio respectively. The addition of the sweet condensed milk distinguishes it from a regular latte and creates a unique, rich flavor profile.

Espresso vs Strong Coffee

Both lattes and Spanish lattes typically use two shots of espresso as the base, which can be prepared using an espresso machine or a Moka pot. However, if an espresso machine or Moka pot is unavailable, you can substitute the espresso with ½ cup of strong coffee. To obtain a similar taste and strength, opt for a dark roast and use a brewing method that extracts the coffee's bold flavors, such as a French press or Aeropress.

Milk Choices

The milk used in both types of latte may differ, affecting the overall taste and texture. Regular lattes usually employ steamed milk, which is heated to create a velvety texture and a layer of fine milk foam. For Spanish lattes, scalded milk is often recommended. Scalded milk should be heated in a saucepan over medium heat and stirred regularly, but not boiled. This process ensures that the milk maintains its flavor and pairs well with the sweet condensed milk.

Overall, understanding the ingredients and preparation methods for lattes and Spanish lattes can help make the perfect cup of coffee, suitable for various taste preferences. Whether you prefer a classic latte with its smooth and creamy texture, or the sweeter, rich flavor of a Spanish latte, knowing the differences in their ingredients and preparation will enable you to fine-tune the perfect cup to meet your palate's desires. For coffee shops and enthusiasts who strive for consistency and perfection in every brew, investing in the right equipment is crucial. Exploring options like Commercial espresso machine can help elevate the coffee experience for both makers and drinkers. Acquiring a commercial quality espresso machine ensures that every cup, be it a latte or a Spanish latte, is brewed to perfection.

Serving and Variations

Hot vs. Iced

Both Spanish lattes and regular lattes can be enjoyed either hot or iced. A hot Spanish latte is made by combining espresso with scalded milk and condensed milk, creating a richer and sweeter flavor than a regular hot latte, which uses espresso and steamed milk. Iced Spanish lattes, on the other hand, are prepared using espresso, cold milk, condensed milk, and ice cubes. Regular iced lattes consist of espresso, cold milk, and ice cubes, making them less sweet compared to their Spanish counterparts.

Café con Leche Variation

The Spanish latte, inspired by the Spanish café con leche (coffee with milk). It features a stronger coffee flavor with lesser milk than your usual latte. The Spanish latte differentiates itself by incorporating condensed milk as a sweetener, resulting in a creamy texture and an overall sweeter taste.

Cinnamon and Orange Twist

Some coffee shops and baristas may choose to add a creative twist to a Spanish latte by incorporating additional flavors, such as cinnamon or orange. For instance, cinnamon can be added to both hot and iced Spanish lattes for an extra hint of warmth and sweetness. Similarly, a touch of orange zest can be infused with the coffee to impart a refreshing citrus note to the drink. These variations showcase the versatility of the Spanish latte and its adaptability to different tastes and preferences.

Dairy-Free Options

For those who prefer or require dairy-free alternatives, Spanish lattes can be easily modified by substituting whole milk or condensed milk with non-dairy milk options like almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. Many coffee shops nowadays offer dairy-free milk alternatives, and some may even offer dairy-free condensed milk. These substitutions can retain the creamy texture and milky taste of a traditional Spanish latte while providing a plant-based option for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. Additionally, since non-dairy milk options have varying levels of sweetness, you can adjust the sweetener according to your preference.

In summary, the primary difference between a Spanish latte and a regular latte is the use of condensed milk in the former, resulting in a sweeter and creamier beverage. Both hot and iced versions can be enjoyed, with variations such as café con leche, cinnamon and orange twists, and dairy-free options catering to different tastes and preferences.

Recipes and Techniques

Classic Latte Recipe

A classic latte, also known as a caffè latte, consists of espresso and steamed milk, with a small amount of foamed milk on top. Here is a brief recipe for a classic latte:

  1. Brew a shot of espresso using filtered water.
  2. Steam milk to create a creamy texture and a small layer of foam.
  3. Pour the espresso into a cup, followed by the steamed milk.
  4. Spoon a small amount of foamed milk on top.

Some variations of this recipe include adding flavored syrups, such as vanilla, or topping it with whipped cream. A latte typically has more steamed milk than a cappuccino, which has a higher ratio of foamed milk to espresso. Both drinks generally contain the same number of calories as long as no additional sweeteners are added.

Spanish Latte Recipe

The Spanish latte is a delicious variation of a regular latte that incorporates sweetened condensed milk. This results in a sweeter and creamier flavor. Here is a brief recipe for a Spanish latte:

  1. Brew a double shot of espresso or strong coffee (such as Vietnamese coffee).
  2. Warm milk and froth it slightly, but do not steam it like in a classic latte.
  3. Pour the espresso into a cup, followed by 1.5-2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Add the warm frothed milk to the mixture.

This Spanish latte recipe is similar to a café con leche or caffè misto, both of which also include sweetened milk in place of steamed milk. The calorie count in a Spanish latte is generally higher due to the presence of sweetened condensed milk.

Equipment and Tools

Proper preparation of a latte or Spanish latte requires some essential equipment and tools:

  • Espresso machine or other brewing methods (e.g., Moka pot, French press, etc.)
  • Milk frother or steam wand for milk preparation
  • Heat-resistant cups or glasses for serving

For those who prefer manual brewing methods, a Moka pot or French press can be used to create strong coffee suitable as a substitute for espresso.

Brewing methods

Different brewing techniques can impact the flavor and quality of your latte or Spanish latte. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Espresso machine: The most popular method, creating a concentrated shot of coffee with crema.
  • Moka pot: A traditional Italian stovetop method that creates strong coffee similar to espresso.
  • French press: A manual coffee maker that uses immersion to extract the robust flavors.

Whether you choose a classic latte or a Spanish latte, these brewing methods will help you create a satisfying and flavorful drink to enjoy during breakfast or any time of the day. Remember to use the best quality coffee beans and filtered water for an enhanced coffee experience.

Nutrition and Taste

Calorie Comparison

When considering the difference between a Spanish latte and a regular latte, it's important to take into account the nutritional aspects, such as calorie content. A traditional latte typically consists of one part espresso to two parts milk, while a Spanish latte includes equal parts espresso, milk, and condensed milk. Due to the presence of condensed milk, Spanish lattes are generally higher in calories. The type of milk used can also impact the calorie count:

  • 2% fat milk: approximately 28 calories in a Spanish latte
  • Zero fat milk: approximately 19 calories in a Spanish latte
  • Almond milk: approximately 9 calories in a Spanish latte
  • Soy milk: approximately 22 calories in a Spanish latte

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content between a Spanish latte and a regular latte is relatively similar, as both drinks contain espresso as their primary caffeinated component. The amount of caffeine may differ slightly depending on the coffee beans used, such as dark roast vs. lighter roasts. However, the overall caffeine content should be quite similar between the two drinks.

Sweetness and Flavor

Spanish lattes are noticeably sweeter than regular lattes, due to the addition of condensed milk. The combination of sweetened condensed milk and regular milk creates a richer, creamier flavor that is reminiscent of a mocha, but without the chocolate component found in a traditional mocha. Dairy-free alternatives such as almond, soy, or other plant-based milks may be used in both Spanish lattes and regular lattes, altering the flavor and sweetness levels in different ways.

In contrast, a classic caffè latte typically features a more balanced flavor profile with a milder sweetness. The coffee taste remains more pronounced in a standard latte, whereas the sweetness takes center stage in a Spanish latte. By using different brewing methods like a French press or varying the coffee-to-milk ratio, one can achieve a customized taste in either drink.

To sum up, the primary difference between a Spanish latte and a traditional latte lies in the balance of sweetness and flavor, as well as the calorie content. By considering personal preferences and dietary requirements, individuals can enjoy either beverage as a satisfying coffee experience.

FAQ and Final Thoughts

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Spanish Latte and a regular Latte?

A Spanish latte, also called a Café con Leche is typically enjoyed with breakfast in Spain. Unlike a traditional latte consisting of one part espresso and two parts steamed milk, a Spanish latte is made with one part espresso, one part milk, and one part condensed milk. This results in a sweeter and creamier flavor profile compared to the subtler taste of a regular latte.

How do variations like cortado and flat white compare to a Spanish latte?

Cortado and flat white are also espresso-based drinks with differences in milk proportion and frothiness. A cortado is made up of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, offering a more intense coffee flavor compared to a Spanish latte. A flat white, on the other hand, is an Australian or New Zealand creation, made with two parts espresso and one part steamed milk, featuring a smoother texture than a cortado but without the added sweetness of a Spanish latte.

Is there an iced version of a Spanish latte?

Yes, you can enjoy a Spanish latte as an iced drink as well. This delicious treat is perfect for warm days, just mix together the espresso, milk, and condensed milk with ice.

Can I make a Spanish latte with alternative milk options such as oat milk?

Absolutely! A Spanish latte can be made using any milk option such as oat milk, almond milk, or even lactose-free milk. While the traditional recipe uses whole milk, you can make it with any dairy-free milk option if you prefer or if you have dietary restrictions.

What is the origin of the Spanish latte?

The origin of the Spanish latte is not completely certain, but it is understood to have its roots in Spain as a traditional Café con Leche. It has similarities to other coffee drinks such as café cortado and Italy's classic latte, as well as the Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua Da. The drink has also been popularized by specialty coffee shops, resulting in a variety of flavor options with added syrups, honey, or cocoa powder, catering to diverse palates.


The Spanish latte represents a delicious twist on the classic espresso-based drink, offering coffee lovers a sweeter and creamier alternative to traditional lattes. By using condensed milk and scalded milk, the Spanish latte creates a unique flavor profile appealing to those who appreciate a balanced blend of sweetness and bitterness. Whether you prefer a hot or iced version, with dairy or alternative milk options, the versatile Spanish latte caters to a wide range of preferences, making it a popular choice in coffee shops and homes around the world.

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Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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