There’s something to be said about having your dedicated “third place”—somewhere outside of work and home where you can come and go, socialize, or be as anti social, as you please. For many, the best, most comforting third place is a coffee shop or café. It’s probably around the corner from your house, and has the perfect nook where you can work, catch-up with a friend, read a book, or simply sit and watch the world go by around you—all with a hot latte to keep you company.
But making a latte at home isn’t all that hard, and once you have the tools and ingredients you need—you’ll find that recreating the coffee shop experience at home is a satisfying way to start your weekend or break up your work day.
How to Make a Latte at Home
A latte is a steamed milk and espresso drink (more on the drink and its history here). It’s got milk foam, unlike a flat white, but is less foamy than a cappuccino. Here’s what you’ll need to get your made-at-home-latte station going:
- 1 shot of espresso: Pulling the shot from any machine you have will work just fine, whether it’s a Bialetti Moka Espress that you fill up and pop on the stovetop or a high-end home espresso machine from La Marzocco. You need one double shot of espresso, which typically takes about 15 grams (1/2 oz.) of coffee and 60 milliliters (2 fl oz.) of water.
- Steamed and foamy milk: Use an electric milk frother or steamer for this if you don’t have an espresso machine with a steam wand. Or, you can heat the milk up to 130°F on the stove top or in the microwave, then froth it up in a blender, whisk it up in a bowl with an electric hand mixer with beaters, use a pump (manual) frother, or even use a French press as you would a pump frother. You’ll need at least 240 milliliters (8 fl oz.) of frothed milk and you can use any milk from whole to skim, oat to soy.
The texture of the froth will depend highly on the type of milk you use, so be sure to choose a milk with a texture you enjoy.
Once you’ve got your espresso pulled and in your latte cup of choice, froth your milk and insert a large spoon in the frothed milk. This will help you hold the milk foam back for spooning over the top of the latte. Pour the steamed milk into your espresso, then finish off with as much milk froth as you desire—which may just push your latte into cappuccino territory, but hey, at home there are no baristas around to judge. Enjoy it immediately on the couch with a book or across the table from your cat.
How to Flavor Your Latte
If you want to take your latte to the next level or create your own seasonal spin on pumpkin spice, there are many ways to do so. From the simplest—adding a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract to your espresso before adding the milk—to making homemade syrups (for cocktails or otherwise). You can also purchase pre-made syrups or add chocolate syrup to make a mocha—even a dash of maple syrup is a tasty trick with a pantry staple that many of us already have on hand. For adding flavor to your milk, steep it with spices like cardamom or cinnamon before frothing.