Although most of us are fully capable of making a regular cup of coffee at home, many coffee lovers aren't aware that they can easily learn how to make specialty coffee drinks right in their kitchen. From cappuccinos and macchiatos to cold brews and French press, all it takes to become a barista is a little time, a few resources and steady practice.
At Real Good Coffee Company, we want to help all java lovers learn how to make espresso drinks. We've put together this helpful guide to teach you how to make a latte at home.
How to Make a Latte With an Espresso Machine
Lattes are one of the best-known coffee beverages and are nearly always available on every cafe menu. For those who love a latte but aren't exactly sure what it is, a good latte consists of milk foam, steamed milk and espresso. This familiar mixture confuses many coffee lovers, because the same ingredients make a standard cappuccino as well. Even more confusing, a cafe au lait could include all three, and a macchiato usually consists of the espresso and foam without the steamed milk.
Although you are free to create your latte to your heart's desire, we'll consider a standard latte to include one or two shots of espresso, a cup of steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top. You can make lattes at home relatively easily, with or without an espresso machine. Regardless of whether you use an espresso machine, you'll need coffee and milk. Any type of milk or milk alternative will work. You may use espresso beans, or you can choose your favorite roasted beans.
What are espresso beans? Generally, espresso beans are dark-roast beans. The longer roasting time creates a full-body taste with less acidity, which is ideal for espresso drinks. Medium-dark roasted beans will also work for lattes for a bittersweet aftertaste. If you're grinding fresh coffee or espresso beans, we suggest following the coffee grind chart and grinding the beans into a fine grind size. These grounds will mirror the consistency of table salt and will resemble the appearance of pre-ground coffee packages.
Can you make a latte with regular coffee? Of course! You can use any type of coffee you prefer. If you have an espresso machine in your kitchen, you'll be happy to know that making homemade latte is a cinch. If you have an espresso machine with a built-in steam wand, it's even easier! Before you begin making your espresso, you should warm up your cup or use an insulated mug, so the espresso doesn't cool while you steam the milk and create the froth.
The first step of how to make a latte at home with an espresso machine is to brew a few shots of espresso. Most lattes have either a single or double shot of espresso, but you'll have to make more if you're planning on serving more than a single latte. Pour your espresso into your glass. Next, you'll use your machine's wand to steam and froth the milk. Slowly pour the steamed milk into the espresso glass, taking your time so the foam reaches the glass last.
Add a little flavor if you want, and voila! You've just learned how to make a latte at home! If you're interested in further enhancing your coffee-making techniques, you can learn how to make latte art, a signature of lattes in most cafes. Baristas hone their skills to create stunning pictures on the surface of the latte foam that looks as good as it tastes. Now that you can make lattes at home in a few minutes, take the opportunity to learn a few easy designs.
How to Make a Latte at Home Without an Espresso Machine
Who doesn't love sitting in a cozy cafe, sipping on a hot latte? This espresso beverage is especially soothing when enjoying it on a chilly autumn day or while watching snowflakes fall outside your window. Imagine having a hot latte at home every day. There's just one small obstacle standing between you and a good latte — how do you make a latte without a machine? Many coffee drinkers want a cafe-quality latte without investing in an espresso machine.
Many coffee lovers only have a standard coffeemaker or a French press in their kitchens, seemingly limiting their brewing options. Most people don't realize you can brew latte coffee without an espresso machine. All you need is a good latte recipe and a few standard kitchen tools. Of course, if you have a Keurig or a Nespresso machine, this process will be much easier. If you don't have either of these machines, don't worry. Your latte will still taste great!
To learn how to make a latte without an espresso machine, you'll need to remember that espresso yields a much different taste than a standard cup of medium or light-roast coffee. Imagine adding steamed milk to a regular drip coffee — it's not exactly like a latte or cappuccino, is it? When substituting espresso in your latte, you'll need a strong coffee base. An AeroPress is a great tool for this job, but if this device isn't in your kitchen cabinet, no worries!
Can you make a latte with regular coffee? Yes, but it will need to be a strongly brewed batch. To change the strength of the brew, you'll need to adjust your coffee-to-water ratio. You can use a 1-to-15 coffee-to-water ratio or lower to strengthen a batch of drip coffee or pour-over. The less water in the mix, the less it will dilute the brew, and the stronger the coffee will be. The espresso or strong-brew coffee will fill one-third of the cup.
Next, you'll need to add the milk. You can froth the milk before or after you heat it. Below, we'll share a few frothing tips, which include mixing it in a jar or using a frothing wand. Regardless of whether you froth before or after, you'll need to microwave your milk. Keep it uncovered and place it in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds. You may need to adjust the time depending on your microwave, as milk that is too cold or hot will impact the latte's taste.
When your milk is hot enough, pour it into the cup of espresso. You'll want to take it slowly, using a spoon to hold back the froth. Finally, add the foam in with the spoon and enjoy! To make it extra sweet, consider adding in flavors like a few pumps of syrup, a few drops of extract or garnish it with a little cocoa powder on top of the foam. Sit back, sip slowly and enjoy your delicious homemade latte.
Tips for How to Froth Milk
Sipping on any cup of coffee you've made yourself is a joy in itself, and the smooth and creamy froth on top of a latte is truly a sweet treat. Frothed milk is a central ingredient in many espresso drinks, and knowing how to make a latte at home with a frother is helpful. If you don't have a frother, there are still plenty of ways you can froth milk. Use these four tips when you make lattes at home.
Tip #1: Mix It in a Jar
How do you froth milk for a latte? If you've got a Mason jar in your kitchen, you have everything you need to froth! This frothing method is so straightforward that anyone can do it and feel like a professional barista. Place your heated milk in a Mason jar. Screw the lid on tight and shake until you create the froth. Be sure to test the temperature of the jar before you grab it, or use a dishtowel to protect your hands.
Tip #2: Whisk the Milk by Hand
Of course, using a Mason jar as a milk frother isn't the only way to create your latte foam. Any ordinary kitchen whisk or electric mixer can instantly become a milk frother. If using a handheld whisk, try a vigorous back-and-forth motion. If you're using an electric mixer, whisk throughout the cup until you create the desired amount of foam.
Tip #3: Use Your Kitchen Tools
Believe it or not, you can use many other tools in your kitchen to create froth for your latte recipe. Before we talk about the specifically designed gadgets for frothing steamed milk, let's identify a few resources you may already have on hand. A traditional blender on a medium setting will do the trick, while an immersion blender on a low setting will also work.
Tip #4: Use a Special Coffee Tool
Coffee is not just a beverage — it's a lifestyle and a culture all its own. It should come as no surprise that there are dozens of specially designed kitchen tools to give you cafe-quality cups of coffee right at home. Two of these resources include a handheld milk frother and an automatic milk frother. The automatic frother is as simple as pouring milk into the jug, setting the temperature and allowing it to heat for a few minutes.
The handheld frother, also known as a frothing wand, is not a difficult tool to use, either. Heat your milk and place the frother into the cup. You'll move the wand around just as you would an electric mixer. Doing so will cause the milk to aerate and create the foam. You can also use a pump frother, which requires only a few seconds of pumping, or a French press to pump the milk.
Do you want to sip on delightful foam? You'll know you've created the perfect coffee topper when your froth tastes smooth and has tiny microfoam bubbles you can hardly see with the naked eye. When heating up any milk to froth, make sure you get it to the right temperature. Use a thermometer and heat the milk between 140 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Milk that's frothed when it's too hot or too cold won't taste as sweet.
How to Add Flavors to a Latte
How do you take your latte? If you're someone who loves to add a little something extra to your morning cup, you'll be happy to know that you can flavor your latte. Of course, the first way to change the flavor of any coffee is to use the coffee beans that you enjoy the most. Remember that, although we recommend using espresso beans to make espresso drinks, you may use any type of beans that you prefer. Just be sure to grind them to the correct size.
Next time your order a flavored coffee drink at a cafe, you may notice your barista adds the flavoring to your beverage either after the coffee or before they pour the milk. Typically, this flavor comes in the form of a syrup pumped into the beverage. There are dozens of pump flavors available, ranging from classics like vanilla, caramel and hazelnut to more unique flavors like Irish cream and marshmallow. You can even combine flavors to make specialty concoctions.
You can also make homemade syrup if you choose. From-scratch syrup isn't difficult, as most recipes involve straightforward ingredients like cane sugar, water and the flavorings of your choosing, like cinnamon, nutmeg or peppermint. You can also purchase a powdered flavoring if you don't want to use a syrup, though most baristas and homebrewers will choose the convenience of a few quick syrup pumps over measuring out powder each time.
Start Your Morning With a Real Good Latte
Why settle for a poor pour of coffee when you can have a cafe-quality cup made right in your kitchen? Let Real Good Coffee Company provide you with the perfect pot of coffee daily. Our whole-bean coffee bags, Nespresso Pods and Coffee Pods are available in a variety of options, including Breakfast Blend, Donut Shop, French Roast and Organic styles.
We invite you to start your morning with Real Good Coffee Co. Order a batch of our freshly roasted beans today. For more tips on brewing exceptional coffee in your kitchen, visit our informative blog.