What is a Piccolo?

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The piccolo, often referred to as a piccolo latte, is a lesser-known yet delightful espresso-based beverage that has made its way into the hearts of many coffee enthusiasts.

This small yet mighty coffee drink offers a perfect balance of rich espresso and creamy milk, making it a great choice for those seeking a smaller, flavourful pick-me-up.

In this Coffee Expert guide, we’ll explore the world of piccolo coffee, diving into its origins, characteristics, and the art of crafting the perfect piccolo!

The Origins of the Piccolo

A Brief History

The piccolo finds its roots in Australian coffee culture, where it has become a popular choice among local coffee enthusiasts.

The name “piccolo” is derived from the Italian word for “small,” which perfectly describes the size and essence of this delightful beverage.

Popularity and Presence

While the piccolo may not be as well-known as other espresso-based drinks like lattes or cappuccinos, it has gained a loyal following in the Australian coffee scene and is slowly making its way into cafes around the world.

Characteristics of the Piccolo


The piccolo is an espresso-based drink that typically consists of a single shot of espresso, topped with a small amount of steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam.

The espresso-to-milk ratio in a piccolo is higher than that of a latte, resulting in a stronger, more concentrated coffee flavour.


As the name suggests, the piccolo is a small beverage, usually served in a 90-120 ml (3-4 oz) glass or demitasse cup. The compact size of the piccolo makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a smaller, flavourful coffee experience.

Crafting the Perfect Piccolo

The Espresso

To make a piccolo, start with a high-quality, freshly roasted coffee bean and grind it to a fine consistency suitable for espresso extraction.

Extract a single shot of espresso (approximately 30 ml or 1 oz) into a small glass or demitasse cup.

The Milk

Steam a small amount of milk, ensuring it reaches a velvety, microfoam texture.

The ideal milk temperature for a piccolo is around 60°C, which allows for optimal flavour and texture.

Pouring and Presentation

Carefully pour the steamed milk over the espresso, allowing the milk to blend seamlessly with the coffee while forming a thin layer of foam on top.

The perfect piccolo should have a harmonious balance of rich espresso and creamy milk, with a visually appealing presentation that showcases the drink’s contrasting layers.

Enjoying a Piccolo

When to Drink

The piccolo is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day. Its small size and concentrated flavour make it an ideal choice for a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, or as a post-meal treat.

Pairing Suggestions

The bold espresso flavours and creamy milk in a piccolo pair well with a variety of foods. Some popular pairing options include buttery pastries, rich chocolate desserts, or savoury breakfast items like avocado toast or eggs.

Variations on the Piccolo

Ristretto Piccolo

For an even stronger coffee flavour, try using a ristretto shot instead of a regular espresso shot in your piccolo. A ristretto is a shorter, more concentrated espresso extraction, which can add an extra layer of intensity to the piccolo’s flavour profile.

Iced Piccolo

If you’re craving a refreshing, cold coffee treat, consider making an iced piccolo. Simply pour a single shot of espresso over ice, then top it off with a small amount of cold milk or milk alternative.

Our Conclusion on the Piccolo

The piccolo may be small in size, but it packs a flavourful punch that is sure to delight coffee enthusiasts.

By understanding the origins, characteristics, and techniques involved in crafting the perfect piccolo, you can appreciate and enjoy this espresso-based beverage to its fullest potential.

So the next time you’re in search of a small yet flavourful coffee experience, give the piccolo a try – you just might discover your new favourite coffee!