If your morning (or afternoon) coffee habit includes more than just a cup of coffee brewed at home, you probably spend a lot of time and money at your favorite coffee shop. We're all about supporting local businesses, but that money does add up. It's okay, though, because you can be your own barista and make those fancy coffee drinks at home without an espresso machine.
Recently, we gave you an espresso 101, so let's take the next step and walk through DIY espresso drinks. If a latte is your thing, we've got the perfect way how to make a latte at home (which means, by the way, you don't have to wait until fall to make a pumpkin spice latte). Here's our guide to the best DIY latte.
What's in a latte?
Coffee drinks typically combine espresso and warm milk (or cold milk for iced coffee drinks). The milk is both steamed and frothed, and the ratio of steamed milk vs. froth is what determines the type of drink.
A latte is an espresso and steamed milk, topped off with a little bit of milk foam. If you add more foam, you get a cappuccino. All foam and no steamed milk makes a macchiato, while all steamed milk and no foam is a cafe au lait.
How To Make a Latte at Home
A latte starts with espresso. While an espresso maker is the best way to brew an espresso shot, you don't need one to brew good, strong coffee. You can use a French press or an Aeropress, and in a pinch, regular coffee will work if you use the right coffee and make it strong.
Use a good quality dark roast coffee and grind the coffee beans yourself if you can. An espresso blend works well for DIY espresso drinks, even in a regular coffee maker. If you use a drip coffee pot, remember that you won't need to brew as much as for normal drip coffee, but you will need the brew to be stronger so use more coffee grounds and less water.
Exactly how much coffee and milk you'll need depends on the size of your drink, but the basic ratio should be about 1/3 cup of coffee to 2/3 cup of milk.
To make the milk foam, you don't need a milk frother (of course, if you do have one, use it!). Just pour the milk into a mason jar (or another jar with a tight lid), leaving plenty of room at the top of the container. Shake it vigorously until you see bubbles of foam form on top of the milk. Take the lid off and heat the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds.
This process works with whole milk, nonfat milk, soy milk or any other type of milk.
The Four-step process of How to Make a Latte
Step one: Brew your coffee.
Step two: If you're using them, add flavorings like caramel, chocolate syrup or other flavored syrups to a large mug, then pour the coffee into the mug and stir a couple of times.
Step three: Froth the milk (shake and heat).
Step four: Using a large spoon to hold back the foam, carefully pour the warm milk into the mug. Use the spoon to add the froth.
For some extra flavor, sprinkle cocoa powder or cinnamon on top, or if you're feeling creative, you can try your hand at latte art. Or you can just sit back and enjoy your flavorful drink!