Even if you’re not a regular latte drinker, you have to admit that these coffee drinkers are beautiful. The latte art that people put on top of these beverages is aesthetically pleasing, and the frothy milk is tasty.
To make a latte, you usually need to use an espresso machine that has a frothing wand. People tend to avoid making lattes at home because they appear to be complicated to make, and they’re traditionally made with an espresso machine. But can you make a latte without an espresso machine?
You Can Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine
You can absolutely make a latte without using an espresso machine. Using an espresso machine to make your latte is always going to be easier, but with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy a latte right at home.
What is a Latte?
A latte is formally known as a caffe latte. This translates from Italian to coffee with milk. The Italian name sounds much better, right? A latte is a blend of steamed milk and espresso that is topped with milk foam. Sometimes the milk is frothed and used to create latte art.
When making a latte, the traditional combination of espresso and steamed milk is ⅓ espresso and ⅔ milk. You can even substitute espresso for tea if you’d like to try a tea latte. The ratio is the same when making a tea latte as a traditional latte.
Espresso tends to be very robust. Some people love that, and others don’t. If you like the energy kick you get from espresso but don’t want to drink something as substantial as a single cup of espresso, a latte is a great option.
How to Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine
You don’t need an espresso machine to make a delicious latte, but you do need a few things to make your life easier. You’ll need a way to make espresso, a way to froth milk, and a way to steam milk.
Making The Espresso
Making the espresso without an espresso machine is the most challenging part of your journey to a homemade latte. A fantastic cup of espresso requires a certain amount of pressure to be applied. An espresso machine is able to do this with ease.
You will need an Aeropress, French press, or a Moka pot to make espresso at home. The best thing is that if you have a French press, you can use it for espresso and for steaming your milk.
You’ll need a burr grinder to grind your dark roast coffee beans to the finest consistency possible. Burr grinders are affordable, and if you love coffee, you’ll get plenty of use out of one.
Using a French press, you’ll need about two tablespoons of coffee grounds to make your espresso. You’ll want to heat one cup of water to about 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your water is hot, you’ll slowly pour the water into the French press while stirring.
Then you’ll wait about four minutes before pushing the plunger down. Since French press machines are made to work with coarse coffee grounds, you’ll have to plunge the plunger more than once to reach all the finely ground coffee beans.
Making Steamed Milk
Steamed milk is just milk that has been heated. When you’re heating your milk, you want to heat it enough so that it has bubbles but not enough that it comes out scalding hot. You can use a microwave or stove to do this. Using the stove allows you to have much more control over the temperature of the milk, though.
To start steaming your milk, you’ll pour it into a pot. This pot will be placed on a burner that has medium-low heat. The temperature you’ll heat your milk to depends on the milk you’re using.
Regular cow’s milk needs to be heated 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Soy milk only needs to be heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and almond milk to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the appropriate temperature has been reached, remove it from the heat and pour it over your espresso. You can also froth it at this point.
Frothing The Milk
If you own a glass French press, you can use this tool and your microwave to froth the milk. If you don’t, that’s okay. That Mason jar that’s been sitting in your cabinet can be used too. Milk frothers or a frothing pitcher are relatively inexpensive and a great investment if you plan on making lattes often.
Frothing milk in a French press is simple. You’ll pour cold milk into the glass container, press the plunger down until the volume of the milk increases. Then place it in your microwave for about 30 seconds.
Using a frothing pitcher and wand is similar. You’ll plunge the wand into the milk until it expands and becomes frothy.
If you’re using a Mason jar, that’s the only tool you’ll need besides your microwave. You’ll pour the milk into the jar, leaving enough space for the milk to expand. Then you’ll seal the jar and shake it until it bubbles. Lastly, you’ll place the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds.
How to Make Latte Art at Home
You don’t need any special tools to make latte art at home. If you already have frothed milk, you’re ready to start trying your hand at latte art. It does take some patience and practice to make latte art as well as your neighborhood barista.
One of the easiest latte art designs is a heart. You can achieve this by tilting the coffee cup towards you as you begin to pour the steamed milk into it. As you’re pouring the milk, you’ll need to begin shaking the cup gently to create a circle. After the circle has been formed, move the cup you’re pouring the milk from in a straight line. You’ll move in a straight line away from you. This process will end with a lovely latte art heart.