What Is a Piccolo Coffee? (Piccolo Latte)

Today, we have yet another drink in store for those who enjoy trying out new coffee drinks instead of sticking to their favorite drinks all the time.

Piccolo coffee, also known as piccolo latte, or just piccolo, is an espresso drink that hails from Australia. Despite being widely known in Australia, piccolo coffee doesn’t have the same popularity in different parts of the world, which is why we decided to introduce it to you.

So, what is a piccolo coffee?

A piccolo coffee is the combination of a ristretto shot and steamed milk in a small glass, with a coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:4 to 1:5 used for the most part. As a ristretto shot is half the volume (15  – 20 ml) of a regular espresso shot, the volume of the milk used doesn’t exceed 80 ml.

Due to being quite small in volume, a piccolo latte is often served in a 100 ml cup, which is smaller than a regular 230 ml (8 oz) coffee cup by more than half the amount.

How to Make Piccolo Coffee at Home?

It’s time to get down to how you can make your piccolo coffee at home so that you can experience it and see if it’s something you enjoy.

  1. Start by pulling a ristretto shot into a small, 100 ml glass. If you are unsure how to configure your espresso maker to make a ristretto instead of espresso, you should refer to the manual as it is most likely described there.
  2. If you’re thinking of adding a flavored syrup, make sure that you do so before moving on to the next step.
  3. Measure out enough milk to fill the rest of your cup, and steam the milk. If you wish to, you can also add a small amount of milk froth to top your piccolo coffee.
  4. Pour the milk in the glass that already contains your ristretto shot while holding the milk foam back with a spoon until all the steamed milk is poured.
  5. Scoop the milk foam and place it on top of your glass.
  6. Enjoy!

Just like any other espresso drink, feel free to add flavored syrups to your piccolo coffee to give it a bit of sweetness, especially considering that a piccolo is quite heavy in coffee flavor that might be too much to handle for some.

We can highly recommend vanilla or caramel syrup to go with your drink.

What is the Difference Between a Piccolo and a Macchiato?

While macchiato is a drink that may seem similar to a piccolo due to also being quite small in terms of volume, there are pretty clear differences between these two drinks.

First of all, a macchiato is prepared with a standard espresso shot, whereas a piccolo latte requires a ristretto shot instead. While a ristretto shot is roughly half the volume of an espresso shot, it’s considered to be a stronger form of espresso where the flavor profile is sweeter and bolder.

While a macchiato is topped off with milk foam, a piccolo latte contains steamed milk instead. As milk foam doesn’t blend with the espresso, the flavor of a macchiato is quite strong after you get through the foam layer. On the other hand, a piccolo latte tastes consistent throughout the drink as the milk and the ristretto shot mix.

Is Piccolo Stronger than Latte?

While a piccolo is indeed smaller than a regular latte, it’s not to say that a cup of piccolo coffee is weak.

Both a latte and a piccolo roughly use the same coffee-to-milk ratio, meaning that a cup of latte contains more espresso than a piccolo in terms of volume, as a latte is almost double the size of a piccolo.

While this means that a latte indeed contains more caffeine due to espresso shots having slightly more caffeine than ristretto shots and due to a latte having double the amount of coffee, things are slightly different when it comes to flavor strength.

Since a piccolo contains ristretto instead of espresso, both drinks having an equal coffee-to-milk ratio means that a piccolo will taste considerably stronger due to a ristretto shot being almost twice as concentrated as an espresso shot.

The bottom line is that while a piccolo won’t deliver the caffeine fix you’re looking for, it will definitely provide you a very espresso-heavy flavor.

How Much Milk Is in a Piccolo Coffee?

As a piccolo coffee is known for being quite small in volume, the amount of milk that is used is naturally less than what you will find in most espresso drinks.

Since a piccolo latte is usually served in 90 – 100 ml cups, the milk content is usually around 70 to 80 ml, with the ristretto shot taking up the rest of the space.

That being said, milk still makes up the majority of the drink in terms of volume, making piccolo latte a drink that would definitely satisfy those who enjoy large amounts of milk in their drink despite the added strength that comes from a ristretto shot being used instead of a standard espresso.

Alongside the steamed milk, a thin layer of milk foam can also be applied to a piccolo latte which will please milk lovers even further. That being said, the original doesn’t recipe doesn’t call for this, meaning that you would have to ask your barista for the milk foam as an extra.


If you’re looking for an espresso drink that packs a punch but also has a smooth texture in your mouth, make sure that you try a cup of piccolo coffee out.

While the small size of a piccolo latte can leave you asking for more if you are used to the size of a latte, there is absolutely nothing that is stopping you from having a second cup.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!