It’s winter, you want to drink your favorite espresso beverage, but damn those Starbucks lattes are expensive. It tastes delicious, extremely delicious, so why give up the joy of drinking your favorite latte just because it is expensive. If you dedicate some of your time you could enjoy your favorite latte drink at the comfort of your home and with half the cost of lattes at Starbucks. So here’s how to make a latte at home.
What is A Latte? And How is it Different Than Any Other Espresso Drink?
I know it might be confusing for you to distinguish between all the different espresso-based drinks, I mean they are all a mix of espresso and milk, right?
Well, if you look at it from afar it’s true, all espresso-based drinks (latte, cappuccino, mochaccino, etc) are a mix of espresso and milk with slight variations. So how to distinguish between the different drinks?
There are three components to the equation: espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.
All espresso-based drinks have espresso in common and varying amounts of steamed and frothed milk.
Cappuccino, for example, contains equal amounts of steamed milk, frothed milk, and espresso. And, normally, you don’t add sweeteners to a cappuccino other than sugar.
Latte, on the other hand, has more steamed milk and less frothed milk, which means there’s less foam in the latte. But you can add sweeteners if you like.
How to Make a Latte at Home
So we already know that latte has three components: espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. To prepare the perfect cup of latte you will need to make the best out of each component.
So how to prepare espresso?
Espresso is coffee brewed under steam pressure which forces water through coffee grounds. It’s a concentrated shot of caffeine that equalizes the added milk to the latte.
To prepare espresso you will need an espresso machine because you cannot generate that kind of pressure manually. So you will need to have an espresso machine.
There are lots of variations of espresso machines in the market. You will just need to pick which one suits your needs and preferences (and your budget).
It’s an investment worth making to buy your own espresso machine if you are a coffee addict, plus the process of preparing an espresso shot or a latte has its joy.
A simple machine to use is the Nespresso machine, it has its own capsules and the capsules are labeled with barcodes which the machine reads and uses the appropriate amount of water and pressure to prepare the espresso shot.
How to steam milk?
There are multiple ways you could steam milk, we will just focus on one in this article which is using a stovetop, it gives you more control over the temperature of the milk.
The steps are simple:
- Add milk to a pot and place the pot on the stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop low or medium.
- Gently stir the milk until its temperature becomes 150 F
How to froth milk
Also, there are multiple ways milk can be frothed, I’ll explain the simple manual way:
- Fill half of an empty jar with milk.
- Screw the lid on tightly.
- Shake the jar as hard as you can until the milk is frothy and it’s doubled in volume, this will take roughly 30 to 60 seconds.
Combine the elements:
Now that you have prepared each element separately you can mix the elements together to get your latte, pour the steamed milk on the espresso shot, add as much milk as you prefer. Then add the foam to the top of your cup and enjoy your latte.
How to Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine
So you don’t have an espresso machine, how could you make a latte without it?
Espresso is at the core of a latte, so technically speaking you can’t drink a latte without espresso and you can’t prepare espresso without an espresso machine. But you can make something close to it.
There are three ways:
- Using Moka pots
- Using AeroPress
- Using French Press
Here are the detailed steps to making espresso without a machine.