Lattes are my go-to coffee beverage. I rely on espresso to get me through my days, and lattes are the perfect balance of espresso and steamed milk! If lattes are your favorite or you just like to appreciate the craftsmanship of a good latte every now and again, this guide will help you save time and money on those drinks by teaching you how to make them at home!
Espresso is just coffee that has been brewed under pressure to give it it’s intense signature dark flavoring. Since it’s usually prepared using steam pressure, it’s easy to make at home if you’ve got your own espresso machine. If you don’t, there’s no need to panic! Brew your favorite strong coffee in a french press or an Aeropress. These are both alternatives to an espresso machine that still uses steam pressure to give you a resulting strong espresso-like coffee.
If you don’t own one of those alternative methods to brewing espresso or even strong espresso-like coffee, that’s still okay! You can brew a strong dark coffee through a Keurig machine, use a filter and pour boiling water over your coffee grounds, or even use instant espresso!
While the flavor of the espresso may be less intense with these methods, it still counts and will work well with your perfect latte at home – it all depends on the coffee that you choose to brew. The stronger, the better!
Lattes are typically made by steaming and foaming whole milk, but if you have a non-dairy alternative that you prefer to use in your coffee that’s fine! Although it’s important to keep in mind that non-dairy alternatives to milk are more difficult to steam or foam, so it may require more patience if you are using an alternative to whole milk (however in iced lattes you don’t foam the milk, so non-dairy alternatives work very well here and taste delicious!).
If you have an espresso maker at home that has a foamer built-in, steaming and foaming the milk should be no problem. However, if you don’t, there is a secret machine that you probably do have that will come in handy here – the microwave!
Place your milk in a mason jar or any microwave-safe cup with a lid, only filling it halfway to account for the foam! Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds before removing the lid and microwaving the milk for another 30 seconds. Voila! Perfectly foamed milk ready to top your latte!
Combine Espresso And Milk
It’s time to combine! Pour your espresso or strong espresso-like coffee into your favorite glass or mug. A wider or more shallow cup works well with lattes so you have enough room for the milk and the foam on top. Once the espresso is in, it’s time to add the warmed milk!
This can be a bit tricky, but the best way to add the milk is to use a spoon to hold back the foam you created to one side of the mason jar and pour the milk into your mug. This should leave all the foam in the mason jar while the heated milk gets combined with the espresso!
Add The Foam
Now it’s time to add the foam on top! If you’re making your latte at home with an espresso maker this part should be easy, but if you’re not working with one then you would simply scoop the foam you made by hand and in the microwave earlier from the mason jar to top your latte using a spoon.
The microwave should have helped to stabilize the foam created by shaking the milk in the jar, but if for some reason your foam has started to deflate, it’s easy to create more! Just rinse out the mason jar and add a little more milk, just enough to create foam. Place the lid on the jar and shake again! Once you’ve got your foam on top, feel free to garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder!
Whether you’re in the mood for a hot or a cold coffee, lattes are always a great choice! Iced lattes are even easier to make at home, especially if you don’t have an espresso maker that foams and steams the milk nicely for you.
All you need to worry about with iced lattes is the espresso, which is still possible to make at home without a fancy machine. Once you’ve got your espresso, simply add it to a glass with ice and pour your favorite milk beverage on top. There’s no need to foam any milk here, although adding some whipped cream or a garnish on top is always an option!
If you’re like me, you’ll want to add some flavoring to your latte. It’s a simple way to elevate your homemade latte and give it a more refined touch, helping it feel more like the one you’d typically get from your favorite coffee shop.
My favorite is a classic vanilla latte, which can be created by adding some vanilla syrup to the cup or mug before adding the liquids, dusting some vanilla powder on top, adding a stick of vanilla bean to the cup, or all three! Other popular flavors to try at home are mocha, which can be created by adding some chocolate syrup to the cup or mug, and caramel, which can be replicated the same way!
The easiest step: enjoy your creation! Crafting your own latte at home doesn’t have to be hard or impossible. Sit back, put your feet up, and let your homemade latte transport you to your happy place, wherever that may be. I personally like to enjoy mine imagining I’m at a cute coffee shop in Italy instead of in my kitchen, but that’s just me!