We know, because we have already seen many examples throughout our website, that there are many different names and preparations of latte (the ones we order at the bar), from the classic black coffee to the Machado, through the cortado, the lágrima coffee and so many others. And the complicated thing is that these names do not only depend on the percentage of each ingredient but, above all, on the region or country where we order it. This is the case of Noisette coffee, a typical French coffee, and we would almost say, Parisian.
What is noisette coffee? Well, despite the name, it has nothing to do with hazelnut coffee. It is a full espresso coffee with a shot of hot milk foam on top. How much foam? Just enough to give the coffee a hazelnut colour… which is exactly where it gets its name from (noisette means hazelnut in French).
It is true that in the end, customers ask for the amount of milk and the temperature they like the most… but the noisette coffee recipe has very precise proportions and characteristics, which are reflected here: espresso and a little hot milk foam. Neither too much froth, nor use milk or cream instead of froth, nor serve cold milk… none of that.
The milk foam for noisette coffee can be served directly by the barista before offering the cup to the guest, or it can be served in a small jug so that the guests can pour the amount they prefer over the espresso. In the latter case, the milk foam is not usually added, but the milk is mixed with the foam after emulsification.
Do Noisette coffee capsules exist?
Noisette coffee capsules as such do not exist on the market, but you can find numerous varieties of Cortado coffee (which is what most resembles it) in some formats and brands of single-dose coffee. Not in all of them, because not all of them allow the use of powdered milk to make mixed drinks. For example, the closest thing to noisette coffee capsules in Dolce Gusto are these options:
In any case, we reiterate that the noisette must be made with emulsified milk, so you can always use a single-dose espresso pod (which is available in all coffee machines) and then make the milk foam on your own. But of course, this dilutes part of the attraction of the capsule system, which is the speed and the fact that you don’t have to do anything yourself.
To get a Nespresso noisette coffee or a Senseo noisette coffee, systems that do not have milk powder capsules (at least in the official brand catalogue), the latter would be the only possibility.
What about Starbucks Noisette coffee?
In Starbucks noisette coffee, the original Parisian noisette recipe is significantly modified by adding a pinch of cocoa powder.
This is a very common drink in French Starbucks, of course, and the firm also sells it to the public in supermarkets.
But it is not a true noisette coffee because it comprises approximately three-quarters milk and only one-quarter of coffee. In other words, it is what we know here as a fully-fledged Manchado but flavoured with the commercial touch of the classic aromas and additives of commercial, non-craft beverages.
Differences between Noisette and Cortado coffee
If we are strict with the definition of noisette coffee, the main difference between a noisette coffee and a cortado coffee is that noisette coffee has hot frothed milk. In contrast, Cortado coffee can be cut with a simple splash of milk (not frothed) at the temperature and taste of the customer.
It is true, it must be said, that in many cases, the cortado and the noisette can be identical, and they are undoubtedly the two most similar brews. However, in noisette coffee, the milk must be emulsified.
Differences between Noisette and Manchado coffee
Perhaps we can get confused, but there is no room for doubt. Noisette coffee has much more coffee than milk, and Manchado coffee is just the opposite proportion: much more milk than coffee.
The various variants that can be found in Paris, such as noisette a la crème (with a little cream) or with a little more milk than usual, do not come close to resembling the result of a Manchado. It is the complete opposite, even if the milk foam in the noisette slightly “stains” the espresso.