We all are fond of having our iced coffee in the summer, but in the fall and winter months we like go for the latte. On a chilly day, we love to sit inside sipping a cup of hot, frothy latte or cappuccino. But a latte should not be a treat that you can only enjoy in a coffee shop. Even if you do not use an espresso machine, a milk frother or other coffee making equipments, you can still make a quite good latte at your home —and yes, one with a beautiful cap of foam.
Here, we will show you how we do it when we want to prepare a latte at home for enjoying it in the morning, or with a visiting friend.
Do you know the Difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino? But first of all, let us tell you about the terms.
- A latte is a coffee drink which is usually made with espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.
- A cappuccino is quite similar, but it contains a greater percentage of foamed milk to steamed milk.
- A macchiato contains no steamed milk added to the espresso, but has got a little cap of milk foam.
- Cafe au lait contains only warm steamed milk added to the coffee (sometimes espresso) and has got no foam.
All of these above mentioned coffee shop drinks are actually on a continuum. A quite wet cappuccino having a lot of steamed milk is moving into the latte territory, and what one coffee bar is saying a cappuccino might really be a macchiato at some other place.
The point here is that you can adjust the ratio of espresso, warm milk, and milk foam as per your precise liking when preparing a drink at home, and give it any name you like in the privacy of your kitchen.
What do you need to know About the Espresso?
The thing that is common to all the drinks above is espresso. It is the coffee brewed under steam pressure which forces the water through coffee grounds. Espresso is intense, rich, and oily and these qualities balance out the milk quantity used in preparing these drinks. If you add steamed milk to the weaker American-style coffee, it does not actually give you the real experience and the flavor of a latte or cappuccino. Of course, if you have an espresso setup at your home, it would be great! But personally, I prefer using extra-strong coffee from an Aeropress which for me provides a good balance between the cost and quality. It makes coffee strong enough to almost to the point (not quite!) where it can be called espresso. But its advantage is it does not cost you very much or needs technical skill to use it. You can view more information about the working of Aeropress here (how to use an Aeropress) If you do not have an espresso maker or Aeropress at your home, then you can try this with strongly brewed coffee.
What do you need to know About the Milk Foam?
It is true —you do not require a fancy foamer for making frothy milk at home! It is really easy to make this milk in the microwave. All you need to do is to shake nonfat or 2% milk in a jam jar till it becomes foamy. Then take off the lid and microwave the milk for a few seconds. You will be getting spoonfuls of foam along with warm milk to pour in your latte.
How You Can Make a Latte Without Using an Espresso Machine
Makes One drink
What Do You Need?
Espresso or strongly brewed coffee prepared by Aeropress
Nonfat or 2% milk
Cocoa powder for garnishing
Shallow and wide coffee cup
Jar having a lid
Make espresso or strongly brewed coffee: As mentioned above, any strongly brewed espresso from a home espresso maker will do. Or you can use a strongly brewed coffee from an Aeropress (article to link saying how to use an Aeropress), which is not diluted with any water. I generally start with about 1/3 cup of espresso, but you are free to take as much as you would like.
Froth the milk: Drop the milk into the jar. Fill it no more than the halfway mark. Then screw the lid on tightly, and keep shaking the jar as hard as you can till the point the milk becomes frothy and gets roughly doubled in volume in 30 to 60 seconds.
Microwave the milk: Remove the lid off the jar and keep the microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. The foam will be rising on the top of the milk and the heat coming from the microwave will help to stabilize it.
Drop the warm milk into the espresso: Pour the espresso or coffee into a shallow and wide coffee cup. Then use a large spoon for holding back the milk foam, and drop as much warm milk as you would like into the espresso.
- Add foam: Spoon as much milk foam as you want onto your latte (or maybe it is a cappuccino at this point!) If you desire, you can garnish it by sprinkling cocoa powder or nutmeg on the top of the foam. Sip immediately and have a great time!
- Flavoring the latte: If you would like to have a sweetened or flavored latte, stir in some syrup with the warm milk and then add the foam.
- Flavoring ideas: If you want, you can add a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract.