What is a Latte, & How to Make it at Home?
There’s no denying that lattes are among the most commonly ordered espresso drinks. If you’re new to the coffee lifestyle, you’d be forgiven for thinking of a latte as a complex drink only to be savoured by true latte drinkers. You might even be surprised by the simplicity of this type of coffee. Join us as we show you just how easy it is to make a latte at home, with or without an espresso machine.
History of Latte
This popular coffee drink has been around for so long it’s often regarded as the most classic of all the coffee beverages. But, when and where did lattes originate?
An essay titled “Italian Journeys” by William Dean Howells saw the term “caffé e latte” being used for the first time in 1867. Originally, the adaption of the Italian word “latte” refers to simple slang for “caffé latte” which actually means coffee with milk. While many people think latte was invented in Italy like so many other coffee beverages, a little known fact is that café latte is actually an American invention.
Over time, the shortened phrase became synonymous with an espresso coffee that consists mostly of steamed milk. Due to its popularity, it’s a staple in just about every coffee shop around the globe. Some variations have developed over the years in the U.S. and other countries, but the basic espresso and milk have remained.
Common Drinks Associated with Latte
Since a traditional latte has become very flexible with its ingredients and methods of preparation, it can easily be confused with a few other popular coffee drinks, such as:
- Iced latte: Contrary to popular belief, an iced latte is not a latte that’s been left to cool. In its simplest form, an iced latte is a combination of espresso with cold milk and ice.
- Café Au Lait: It’s very common for new coffee drinkers to assume a lait and a latte are the same things. However, the essential difference between these two drinks revolves around the types of coffee used. Lattes are made with an espresso shot and more steamed milk.
- Cappuccino: While both cappuccinos and lattes can feature a double shot of espresso, the volume, strength and quantity of milk are different. Cappuccinos generally have more milk foam making this one of the more popular coffee drinks. When this drink has less foam and more milk, it’s referred to as a wet cappuccino.
- Latte Macchiato: As the name suggests, the latte macchiato is a tasty combination of a standard latte and a macchiato. The difference between these two drinks is the order of ingredients. Less espresso and therefore less caffeine mean the latte macchiato is considerably weaker.
Making Latte at Home with an Espresso Machine?
If you already own an espresso machine, then creating the perfect latte is just minutes away. Still in the market for the best coffee maker?
A little hint from us – you can never go wrong with a De’Longhi Espresso Machine. Fortunately, there are several models you can choose from. Once you have your coffee maker, simply follow the steps below.
Equipment & Items Needed
- Espresso machine
- Milk frother
- Optional coffee grinder
- Milk pitcher
- 7 – 9 oz of cold milk (this can include soy milk, coconut milk or even almond milk)
- 5g of ground espresso beans
- Your favorite 10-12 ounce sized latte cup/mug
- Grind 16.5 grams of espresso coffee
- Make espresso as normal in your espresso machine
- Extract espresso into your 10-12 ounce cup
- Pour 7 – 9 oz of milk into milk pitcher, steam to 160° F
- Once espresso completes brewing, pour steamed milk at an angle of about 3-4 inches above the cup
- If you’re feeling creative, you can try your hand at some latte art
Sit down and enjoy!
Making Latte at Home Without Espresso Machine?
As one of the easiest coffee beverages to make, you don’t need an espresso machine to make a tasty latte. You can make a latte at home or the office quite easily if you don’t have an espresso machine.
Essentially, you’ll need a way to make your espresso as well as steam or froth your milk. You can do this with a French Press, Moka Pot or Aeropress. We’re going to list a very simpler method involving a drip coffee maker.
- Drip coffee maker
- Small saucepan
- Milk frother – if you don’t have one, you can use a microwavable jar
- Your favorite coffee mug
- 1 cup of whole milk – you can use less milk if you prefer, or soy milk if you’re lactose intolerant
- 2 tablespoons of Dark Roast Coffee
Preparing the milk
- Use the small saucepan to heat the milk over medium heat – don’t let it boil as this will make the milk bitter
- Allow the milk to simmer until you see small bubbles form on the edges of the pan
Make the Milk Frothy
- Whip the milk with a milk frother or steam wand
- Mix until you get the desired thickness of the froth
The Microwave Method (if you don’t have a milk frother)
- Pour milk into a mason jar
- Fill about halfway with milk and close with the lid
- Shake for about 30-60 seconds until it doubles in volume
- Microwave for about 30 seconds until foam rises to the top
- Pour the foamed milk into a small jug – this makes it easier to pour into your latte, especially if you’re going to try your hand at some latte art
Brew the coffee
- Brew 2 tablespoons of dark roast coffee for every 5 or 6oz of water.
- Once the coffee is brewed, pour the espresso-type coffee into a cup. Remember to leave enough space at the top for your steamed milk.
- Pour the milk into your latte to create the desired layer of foam.
- If you’re feeling adventurous with your latte, consider adding various syrups in some popular flavors such as hazelnut, caramel or vanilla. Pro tip: Heat the syrup in the microwave before adding it to your latte.
- For a touch of sweetness, add some whipped cream.
- You can also sprinkle a light layer of cinnamon or cocoa to the top of your drink.
For a super informative way to use your Moka Pot or Aeropress, watch the clip below to get a few handy tips.
Nutrition Information of Latte
With its simplicity and high caffeine content, you might be wondering whether lattes have any nutritional value. For 1 serving in your 12 oz cup you’re looking at the following:
- Calories: 200
- Total fat: 7g
- Caffeine: 125.6mg
- Protein: 12g
Simply put, a latte is just steamed and frothed milk mixed into a hot espresso. Some fancy coffee shops will refer to it as caffé latte on their menus, but it’s the same drink. Since the terms latte and caffé latte are interchangeable depending on where you go, it’s essentially the same drink.
Using the ground coffee method is even easier than you think. Simply brew 2 tablespoons of dark roast coffee for every 6 oz of water. When your coffee is done brewing, pour the fresh brew into your favorite coffee mug. Remember to leave room at the top to add the cup of steamed milk that you made. Sip and enjoy!
The Bottom Line
As you can see, lattes are the perfect coffee drink if you want to enjoy a coffee but don’t want it to be too strong. Furthermore, making a latte isn’t as complex as you might have imagined! With our simple easy-to-follow steps, you’ll be able to make a tasty, hot latte right in the comfort of your own kitchen. You don’t even need an espresso machine. For folks new to the delicious world of coffee, enjoying a latte is only the beginning of an incredible coffee journey!