So there I was, workin’ my project list this morning and I came across “Clean Coffee Machines”. So I cleared the counter and got out the distilled vinegar and was about to do the cleaning, when I thought “A Vanilla Latte sure sounds good about now”. So I made one and set it aside because I purposed in my heart that when I was done with that job, I would sit down and enjoy that home made treat!
And so here I sit enjoying my latte as I blog about what I have learned as I have perfected the process.
Do you want to make the perfect latte right in your own home? Here is what I have found works best.
First of all, do you know what a latte is? Here are some quick definitions of coffee drinks and how they differ:
- Cappuccino – A coffee drink that is prepared with rich espresso of about 6 oz. for a 12 oz. drink. The rest of the drink is steamed milk.
- Latte – A coffee drink that is prepared with rich espresso of about 1/3 the amount of the total drink. The other 2/3 is steamed milk with a layer of foam (froth)
- Cafe au lait – French for “coffee with milk” It is prepared with equal parts of coffee (no espresso) and milk.
What you’re gonna need to make a latte at home:
1. Start out with some good, bold coffee. Any coffee will work as long as you grind it fine, into an espresso grind. You can grind your coffee at the market where you purchase it or you can grind it as you need it. It will be fresher if you grind it at home as you need it.
2. You need an espresso maker. We are in a season of our life where we are not able to frequent the coffee shop to purchase coffee out so we have enjoyed espresso blend coffee at home for a fraction of the cost.
3. You need a coffee tamper to tamp the ground coffee into the espresso filter basket.
5. Milk. I know there is a craze about low-fat, low sugar lattes now-a-days, but I gotta tell you that whole milk works better than low-fat or skim milk when you want to get a good froth. Why? The fat is what makes the bubbles! So my motto is “The more FAT the more FROTH!”
6. Flavored syrup. You can have any flavor latte that you want and syrups are available just about everywhere. I have found for a vanilla latte, it is just as easy to use table sugar and vanilla extract.
7. Patience. It will take a few tries before you get it just right. Be prepared … you probably will not have the perfect latte on your first try unless you are a trained barista!
How you do it
1. Take a latte sized cup (or a 16oz. large plasic cup) and put your syrup or other flavoring into it and set it aside.
2. Grind your coffee into an espresso grind (extremely fine) and put it into the espresso maker filter basket and tamp it down with the tamper. (do not press too hard or the water will be prevented from going through when brewing). Put the filter basket into the portafilter and attach it to the espresso machine.
3. Place an espresso cup (or whatever you are using to catch the brewed coffee, I use a glass one cup measure) under the portafilter on the espresso machine.
4. Fill the water reservoir with water and turn the espresso to the brew position. Brew until you have about 2-4 oz. of espresso (depends on size of cup — an iced latte that is 16 oz. requires 4 oz. of espresso).
5. Pour the brewed espresso and crema (that brown foam) into the latte cup (or plastic cup) that you set aside. Stir it around to combine the flavoring with the espresso. Set that latte cup aside again.
6. For one cup of latte put about 3/4 cup of milk into your frothing cup. Put the frothing cup under the steam wand and if the wand is not angled, tilt the frothing cup to 45 degrees. Froth until it looks like you have doubled the contents of the frothing cup.
7. Pour the steamed milk into the latte cup and scoop the froth onto the top.
8. Clean your steam wand with a clean, wet cloth. Also, I take my frothing cup and put fresh, clean hot water into it and I put it under the steaming wand and steam the water to clean out the milk from the wand. Milk, if not cleaned up will produce bacteria; using a steam wand that was not properly cleaned will make you very sick.
9. Enjoy your latte!
You will not need a frothing cup for this because an iced-latte uses cold milk.
Do steps 1 through 5 above.
6. Add a generous amount of ice to your plastic cup that contains the espresso and flavoring.
7. Fill glass the rest of the way with cold milk.
8. Insert a straw into the glass.
9. Enjoy your iced latte!