What is a Piccolo Coffee?

If you're a coffee lover looking to explore new espresso variations, you might have come across the term "piccolo coffee." This pint-sized coffee beverage has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it's a must-try for those seeking a potent yet petite coffee experience.

The Essence of a Piccolo Coffee

A piccolo coffee, also known simply as a "piccolo," is a small and mighty coffee drink that originated in Australia. It is often described as a miniature latte with a shot of espresso. The word "piccolo" means "small" or "miniature" in Italian, which perfectly describes this coffee's size and character.

The Ingredients

A classic piccolo coffee consists of two main ingredients:


At the heart of every piccolo is a shot of espresso. This concentrated coffee extract is the foundation of the drink, providing its bold and robust flavour.

Steamed Milk

To balance the intense espresso shot, a small amount of steamed milk is added. The milk is typically textured to create a creamy and velvety micro foam that complements the espresso.

what is a piccolo coffee

The Preparation

Preparing a piccolo coffee is a straightforward process:

1. Espresso Shot: Begin by pulling a single or double shot of espresso using finely ground coffee beans and an espresso machine. The quality of the espresso shot greatly influences the overall flavour of the piccolo.

2. Steamed Milk: Steam a small amount of milk until it reaches the ideal temperature (around 150°F or 65°C). The milk should have a velvety texture without being overly frothy.

3. Combining the Elements: In a small glass or cup (typically around 3 ounces in size), pour the freshly brewed espresso shot. Then, gently add the steamed milk, creating a harmonious balance between the espresso and milk. The result is a rich, full-bodied coffee with a creamy and smooth finish.

The Flavour Profile

The magic of a piccolo coffee lies in its ability to deliver a full espresso experience in a compact size. Here's what you can expect in terms of flavour:

Intense Espresso Notes: The espresso shot provides the piccolo with a bold and intense coffee flavour. You'll taste the rich, aromatic notes of the coffee beans, which can range from nutty and chocolatey to fruity and floral, depending on the coffee blend used.

Creamy Milk Undertones: The steamed milk rounds out the flavours, adding a creamy and slightly sweet element to the coffee. It complements the espresso's intensity without overwhelming it.

Balanced and Smooth: When prepared correctly, a piccolo strikes a harmonious balance between the espresso and milk. It's neither too bitter nor too milky, making it an ideal choice for those who appreciate a strong coffee taste with a touch of creaminess.


Piccolo Variations

While the classic piccolo is made with a single shot of espresso and a small amount of steamed milk, some variations exist:

Double Piccolo

For a more robust flavour, you can opt for a double piccolo, which uses two espresso shots instead of one.

Piccolo Latte

Some cafes may offer a piccolo latte, which contains a bit more steamed milk, resulting in a creamier texture.

Flavoured Piccolo

You can customise your piccolo by adding flavoured syrups like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut to infuse additional taste dimensions.

what is a piccolo coffee
A piccolo coffee is typically served in a small glass or cup, which showcases its compact size and bold character. Due to its caffeine concentration, it's perfect for a quick pick-me-up or as an accompaniment to a light snack. Many coffee aficionados appreciate piccolos as a way to savour the fullness of espresso without committing to a larger coffee beverage.

A piccolo coffee is a delightful and compact coffee creation that delivers a concentrated espresso experience with a touch of steamed milk. Its small size packs a powerful punch of flavour, making it a favourite among those who adore intense coffee notes. If you haven't tried a piccolo yet, it's time to indulge in this little coffee gem and discover its rich and robust charm.

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