Origin of Coffee Latte
In Italian, latte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlat̪t̪e], English: /ˈlɑːteɪ/) is simply the word for milk. What in English-speaking countries is now called a latte is shorthand for “caffelatte” or “caffellatte” (“caffè e latte“). The long Italian form literally means “coffee and milk”, similar to the French café au lait, the Spanish café con leche and the Portuguese café com leite. Caffe latte is today part of the defined international coffee menu, which also includes cappuccino and espresso.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term caffè latte was first used in English in 1847 (as caffe latto), and in 1867 as caffè latte by William Dean Howells in his essay “Italian Journeys”. However, in Kenneth Davids’ Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying it is said that “At least until recently, ordering a “latte” in Italy got you a puzzled look and a hot glass of milk. The American-style caffe latte did not exist in Italian caffes, except perhaps in a few places dominated by American tourists… Obviously breakfast drinks of this kind have existed in Europe for generations, but the caffe version of this drink is an American invention…”