With café culture having exploded over the years, many of us have become accustomed to grabbing a creamy latte first thing in the morning. But the cost of those pretty coffee shop lattes can add up quickly, leaving you trying to figure out how to replicate that latté experience at home.
If you have a home espresso machine with a milk steamer, home lattés are pretty self-explanatory, but you don’t have to purchase a professional coffee set-up to DIY your latté at home. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:
Use a stovetop espresso maker
Perhaps you’ve seen those stovetop espresso makers in kitchen or Italian specialty stores — they’re those little two-tier silver aluminum pots, usually with a black handle. The water percolates from the bottom level through a basket of ground espresso and leaves you with a nice strong espresso to use as the basis of your latte. They’re easy to use and much less expensive than a fancy espresso machine.
If espresso isn’t in the cards make extra-strong coffee
If you’re having a latte emergency and don’t have a stovetop espresso maker (or actual espresso coffee) on hand, just make an ultra-strong batch of coffee in a French press or AeroPress. While lattes technically should be made with espresso, a nice dark coffee will be a very close approximation.
Froth up the milk
To get the milk right, it needs to be warm and frothy. There are two ways to do that without a milk steamer. First off, you can heat it up in a pot on the stove and use one of those electric frothers — they look kind of like an electric toothbrush with a little spring on the end. Even easier: put you milk in a jar with a lid and shake it for about a minute (you want it to get really frothy), remove the lid, and zap it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Get the ratios right
If you’re using a coffee cup that’s roughly the same size as what you’ll find in a coffee shop, build your latte by pouring in about 1/3 of a cup of coffee (espresso or extra-strong regular coffee) and then pour in the milk (hold back the foam with a spoon) until the cup is almost full. Top with the foam that you held back. Experiment with this a bit — you may want to use a bit more coffee or less milk, depending on your taste.
These instructions work for a basic latte, but you may like to dress yours up a bit. A sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon is nice, or you could make a homemade syrup to flavour your cup. Homemade pumpkin spice syrup is a popular option, or you could try vanilla syrup, something minty for the holidays, or, if you want to get really fancy, a turmeric syrup.
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