Undoubtedly one of the most popular drinks ordered in coffee shops across the world, the latte is one of the classic ways to drink coffee but how many people know what is in a latte and how it is actually made?
A latte is much more than just a white coffee and its milky cappuccino content and mild flavor are what makes it so well-liked. Although it tastes mild it still offers that caffeine kick that most coffee drinkers crave when buying a beverage.
So, what is it about the latte that makes it special, and what goes into this drink to give it the unique flavor, strength, and combination that everyone enjoys so much? The word latte comes from the Italian phrase café e latte which literally translated means coffee and milk.
And these are the two key ingredients to creating the perfect latte – but it’s not just any old coffee and it’s not just any type of milk. This is what makes the latte stand out from any other type of milky coffee.
A latte is that perfect combination of espresso shots to provide the strength and coffee flavor, and frothy hot steamed milk. It is normally around one-third coffee and two-thirds milk and normally comes with foam on top.
There are of course different sizes available, but in terms of the ratio of coffee to milk, this forms the ideal latte flavor. Once you have your perfect latte created you can enjoy it as it is, or you can adapt it to your own particular tastes.
The great thing about the latte is it’s quite easy to then add different flavors into it, such as syrups like vanilla or mocha, or you can make it with different kinds of milk, including non-dairy options such as soy milk or almond milk.
Read also: 2021 Guide to the Best Flavored Coffee
Latte is great if you like the taste of espresso, but you prefer it to be diluted. The steamed milk component helps to dilute the acidity of the coffee as well as the caffeine content, making it a mild but tasty drink.
The Art of the Latte
One of the attractions of the latte is the way baristas use the foam on top of the drink to create art, making shapes in the drink to amuse the customers. This tradition has gained so much traction there is even an international latte art competition held every year.
The History of the Latte
Although the name comes from Italian words, it is thought the invention of the latte that so many people enjoy today is American. Coffee and milk have been enjoyed together since the 1600s but there has been no reference to a latte in European cafes of old.
In the 1700s, Austrian coffee houses started to offer a Kapuziner, which featured coffee with cream and sugar and some spice, and this is where the extremely popular Italian cappuccino is thought to have originated.
However, throughout history, even during World War 2, there was no reference to a latte on café menus in Europe, even though coffee was often consumed for breakfast across the continent. It started out in America, using the word latte as shorthand for café latte or milky coffee and grew from there.
Over time, latte came to refer to the combination of espresso shot and milk and so it became a common option on our coffee house menus and grew in popularity across Europe as well, thanks to the spread of American coffee chains.
Can I Make My Own Latte at Home?
It is possible to recreate your own favorite latte at home, but you will need some coffee-making equipment if you want to achieve all the effects which make this drink so special when you get one from a coffee shop.
To make your latte at home, you will need:
- An espresso machine
- A milk frother unless your machine has this facility
- A jug
- A coffee grinder
- Fresh espresso coffee beans
- A cup
The first thing you will need to do is grind your espresso coffee beans and for this to work, it’s important to have a really good quality coffee grinder. You need to grind the beans into a fine powder to make espresso coffee.
If you don’t want to go through this step you can always just buy ready-ground espresso coffee and use that instead, but you will need an espresso machine to then brew your espresso shots for your home-made latte.
Once your coffee is ready, set up your espresso machine to brew your coffee for you. While this is brewing, you can start working on your milk. You need to heat it up in a pan and then use your milk frother to stir up the milk and get that froth going. Be careful when doing this process as you don’t want to end up with hot milk all over the place. You might want to transfer your hot milk into a deep bowl.
Next, add your espresso shots into your mug, pour the milk over and give it a good stir, and then your homemade latte is ready to be drunk and enjoyed.
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If you want to make a cold version of a latte for a hot summer’s day you can go through the same process but instead of heating up your milk, simply add cold milk to your espresso shots and throw in some ice cubes for good measure.
Also read: Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers – 2021 Reviews
The latte is a very versatile coffee drink allowing you to switch up the flavors and the milk, enjoyable with added syrup or sugar, as well as plain and you can even make it with tea instead of coffee if you fancy a complete change.
Making a latte at home is easy if you have the equipment you need so why not give it a go and enjoy your milky American-style coffee in the comfort of your own living room or garden, rather than relying on an expensive coffee shop to do it for you?
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Latte at Home
Step 1: Prepare Your Espresso
The first step is to prepare your espresso. You can also use a strongly brewed coffee rather than espresso. Make sure that the brewed coffee is not diluted with any water.
Step 2: Froth the Milk
After that, you will require to froth the milk. For this task, you will need to take a jar and pour milk into it. Ensure not to fill the jar more than halfway. After filling the jar, tightly screw its lid so that you can shake the jar with no worry about the milk falling from the jar.
Keep on shaking the jar until you get froth milk. If you have a milk frother, this task will become more effortless for you. But as we are discussing how to make a latte at home without such equipment, we have also described the right approach to froth the milk without a frother.
Step 3: Microwave the Milk
After you are done with frothing the milk, now you will have to microwave the milk. Take the jar in which you have froth the milk. Remove the jar lid and put the jar in the microwave. Keep the jar in the microwave for up to 30 seconds to get the desired outcome.
After microwaving the milk, you will notice foam rising to the milk top. This will be stabilized with the microwave’s heat. Now take the milk and put it into the espresso.
The milk should be warm as you have taken it out from the microwave after heating for 30 seconds. Take a shallow coffee cup and put the espresso in it. You can use a large spoon to hold the milk foam back. You can pour the desired quantity of warm milk into the espresso as per your wish.
Step 4: Add Foam
The last step is to add foam to your latte. Take a spoon and add as much milk foam as you want. At the top of the foam, you can also add a sprinkle of cocoa powder as per your desire.
Your latte is now ready. For better flavoring of the latte, you can add a few other ingredients. You will require mixing the syrup with the warm milk. After mixing, stir it properly to get the desired taste. Apart from this, you can also add almond extract or vanilla to improve the taste of your latte.
Tools You Can Use for Frothing
Various tools are available that will help you in the easy frothing of milk. Though you can froth the milk via the above-given methods, this task will become easier for you if you have some additional tools for frothing. These tools include;
The steam wand is quite an amazing tool that is fixed to an espresso machine. It works as an extension option that comes with an espresso machine. Almost all coffee shops have the steam wand because it helps them get top-quality results in frothing.
Using the steam wand, you can easily attain the best microfoam. As a steam wand is a manual machine, you might struggle while using it if you are a beginner. However, with a little effort, you can learn how to use steam wands.
Once you know the art of using this exceptional tool, you can easily attain the best-frothed milk. The best thing is it will also allow you to customize your frothed milk. You can prepare the frothed milk from various types of coffee using this tool.
If you do not want to put much effort into frothing the milk manually, then the automatic frother should be your top choice. This tool is easy to use. Unlike steam wands, you will not find it hard to learn this tool.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert in frothing, you can easily use it. Another great thing about automatic frother is that it comes with a built-in steam wand.
Due to this, you will not require spending additional money on buying a steam wand. With the automatic frother, you will get an electric jug that comes with a coiled whisk.
You will have to add milk to the electric jug. Once you have added the required quantity of milk you need to froth, press the button to start the frothing process. After that, you will get your milk frother within a short time.
Another tool that you can use to froth the milk is frothing wands. It is a battery-operated whisk that is affordable and compact. You do not require any steam for frothing milk using a frothing wand.
This product will help you attain foamy frothed milk with large bubbles. Though you can make various types of coffees utilizing this tool, it is more suitable for cappuccinos.
Many coffee lovers also use an electric mixer to froth the milk. It is a lightweight and easy-to-use frothing tool that requires less effort. Apart from an electric mixer, you can also use a hand mixer. Both the hand mixer and electric mixer are a bit similar.
The only difference between these tools is the hand mixer requires manual effort while the electric mixer operates automatically. So, it is up to you whether you want to choose a hand mixer or an electric mixer.
Most coffee lovers are unfamiliar with the process of making a latte at home. Because of lack of experience, most people think that they cannot make a latte at home.
If you know the proper process, you can easily produce a latte by yourself at home. In this article, we have revealed steps to make a latte using an espresso machine and without the espresso machine.
Depending on your preference, you can either use an espresso machine or not. However, if you quickly desire to prepare the latte, I suggest you use an espresso machine. But if you do not have an espresso machine at home, you can follow the other given method to get the same results.