One of the most popular coffee options in the world is the common latte. It’s a drink that delivers a hit of caffeine, a bit of warmth, and of course a light sugar buzz. It’s also a type of coffee that looks beautiful just sitting in the cup—assuming that it’s been made correctly, of course.
The latte isn’t just a beautiful drink, however. It’s also a coffee that’s wrapped in somewhat of a shroud of mystery. While many people have no problem grabbing a latte at their local coffee shop, they often balk at the idea of making one in the comfort of their own home. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but the number one reason is that many people feel that making a latte is a complicated and involved process. Fortunately, we’re here to tell all of our readers that simply isn’t the case.
It’s our firm belief that anyone can make a perfect cup of latte at home. All they have to do is to understand the process for making a latte, be willing to spend a bit of time to practice the art, and then actually perform the deed. Anyone who makes the effort to make a latte will enjoy will soon realize that the act of making a latte is well worth the effort.
Even though we can’t motivate our readers to make their latte drinks, we do feel that we can encourage everyone to start down this road by giving every single one of them the information they need to craft a perfect cup of this type of coffee. With that said, let’s begin our journey together and find out what it takes to craft the perfect latte.
What Is Latte?
Before we begin to discuss how to make a latte, we thought that it might be informative to discuss the definition of latte. After all, you can’t make perfect latte if you don’t understand what exactly distinguishes latte from some of the other coffee drinks available.
Characteristics Of Latte:
- Made With Steamed Milk & Espresso
- More Steamed Milk Than Cappuccino
- Less Foam Than Cappuccino
- Has More Caffeine Than Most Coffee Types
- Is Usually Made With Beautiful Foam Designs
- Cafe Latte Means “Milk Coffee” In Italian
How To Make Latte
Okay, now that we have a definition for a latte, it’s time to turn our attention to actually brewing latte. In this section, we’re going to cover how to make a latte both with an espresso machine and without one. With this information, no one should have an excuse for not making a latte at home.
Making Latte With An Espresso Machine
Step One: Start With Quality Coffee & Milk
The first step to creating awesome latte drinks is to start with quality ingredients. This includes freshly ground medium-dark or dark-roasted beans and whole milk. If you don’t want to use whole milk, you can use oat milk, almond milk, or any other type of milk you deem appropriate, although we feel whole cow’s milk is the best.
Step Two: Preheat The Cup
The next step is to warm the latte cup before making it. This will help to prevent the espresso shot from becoming cold before the milk is steamed and frothed. Although many espresso machines have built-in cup warmers, some don’t, so you might have to warm up your cup manually. A cup can be warmed up manually by filling it with hot water and then letting it sit for 60-seconds. Just be sure to dump out the hot water before adding the espresso shot or you’ll end up with espresso flavored hot water.
Step Three: Pull A Single Or Double Espresso Shot
The next thing that you’ll want to do is to pull a single or double espresso shot. Most latte drinks are made with a double shot, but if you want something that’s not as strong, then, by all means, feel free to brew just a single shot. Remember, this is your latte so make it the way you want to make it.
Step Four: Froth Your Milk
Using a frothing pitcher and your machine’s steam wand, froth your milk. For whole cow’s milk, the perfect temperature is approximately 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit. Less than that, and the milk won’t be properly steamed and any more than that, and the milk will end up burning. If you hold the steam wand about a half an inch under the milk’s surface, you’ll end up with hot milk with froth on top of it. When it’s done, pour the steamed milk into a glass.
Making Latte Without An Espresso Machine
Since we understand that most people don’t have access to an espresso machine, we will now turn our attention to making latte without a machine. The following steps should enable just about anyone brew a great cup of latte. Sure, it’s not going to be as quick and easy as using an espresso machine, it’s still quite doable by anyone at home.
Step One: Coffee & Milk Quality Is Especially Important
When making a latte manually, it’s extremely important to make sure that you use quality ingredients. Although an espresso machine will give you a little bit of an error margin as far as ingredient quality is concerned, the manual process is a lot less forgiving. Therefore, make sure that you grind your medium-dark or dark-roasted coffee beans right before you make the coffee and that you use whole cow’s milk or a quality alternative.
Step Two: Brew Strong, Black Coffee
The next step to making a latte manually is to use a Moka Pot to make a strong, black coffee. If you’re using a Moka Pot, then be sure to brew it twice, to ensure that it’s strong enough for the espresso. However, if you’re using a dark roast, then you might not have to brew it twice to make a black cup of coffee. Just be sure to use your best judgment to ensure the best results.
Step Three: Froth Your Milk
Okay, this next part is where things are really going to deviate from the normal. You will want to make sure that you half fill a microwaveable pot or jar with milk, place a lid on it, and then give it a good shake until the milk begins to froth. Once that’s done, microwave the milk 30-45 seconds to make sure it’s nice and hot. This method doesn’t do as good of a job as a steam wand, but it comes close.
Step Four: Assemble Your Latte
Pour some of your black coffee into your coffee cup, then add the hot frothed milk to it. You can then take the foam off of the top of the milk with a spoon and add it to the top of the latte. If you have some artistic style, you can perhaps create a leaf or butterfly design with the foam, but if you don’t, then don’t worry. It will still turn out to taste great. Congratulations! You’ve just manually created a great cup of latte.