Winters belong to latte, no coffee enthusiast loves to sit inside on a chilly day without this mug of heaven. But you might avoid making this delicious speciality at home because you consider it’s too complicated or impossible to make without using a fancy espresso machine.
Your latte craving shouldn’t be dictated to expensive gadgets or limited to just a coffee shop treat.
I won’t be making a bold claim that you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality latte, but without an espresso machine, milk frother, and other toys of trade, you can still craft pretty much delicious and probably the most photogenic cup of coffee – and yes it will also have a beautiful topping of foam.
Here’s how to do when you want a Caffe latte at the ease of your home, to sip in the daylight, or while having a deep conversation with your bosom pal.
Before kicking off the latte making process, you’ll have to gather some essential ingredients and equipments for:
- Making the espresso shot
- Milk steaming
- Milk frothing
No matter which method you use, ingredients are always the same to design your flavorful cup of latte.
Here is what you’ll need as a whole:
- Coffee grinder (in case you’re using whole beans coffee)
- Coffee grounds
- Jar with lid
- Latte glass or cup
1. Making Espresso (Without Espresso Machine)
There are multiple ways to brew espresso without the hassle of pumps and presses, I won’t be detailing all of them here as I’ve covered those methods in a separate article, you can check it out to learn better.
However, you can follow this low-cost method (AeroPress) to brew espresso without an espresso machine.
You’ll have to use:
- An AeroPress (may cost around $15 to $25)
- Coffee grinder
- Coffee grounds
Before we delve into the process of making espresso shots with AeroPress, it’s important to know the basic technicalities of this equipment.
An AeroPress is a portable and light-weighted cylinder with a plunger and a filter at the bottom. It’s an economical technique to prepare an espresso drink in just a matter of few minutes.
If you haven’t used it before, here is the breakdown of the process:
1. Grind your coffee beans
You’ll need approximately 22 grams of coffee to prepare one rich shot of espresso. Use the grinder to grind your beans as fine as possible. The size of the grounds matters a lot when you want to brew espresso with AeroPress, so make sure you take care of it; otherwise, you won’t be able to extract the flavor you’re actually looking for.
Quick Note: This is one of the major aspects that’ll decide how your coffee will taste in the end. If you’re a java lover like me, you just can’t deny the importance of freshly ground coffee over pre-ground coffee.
The whole beans, when ground just minutes before being brewed, ensure maximum freshness, flavor, and aroma in every possible cup of java if stored properly. Conversely, if you prefer to play safe and take advantage of pre-ground coffee, you’re actually taking away all the natural oils and flavors beforehand.
Now, the choice is entirely up to you!
Since latte is an espresso-based specialty so I’d prefer taking the edge of dark-roast espresso beans. This will add a unique flavor to your drink and enrich it with crema.
2. Prepare your AeroPress and add coffee grounds
It requires a little bit of work before we turn the coffee grounds into flavorful espresso liquid. Add the paper filter to the bottom basket and pre-heat the equipment by pouring a small amount of hot water. This also helps in getting rid of paper flavor.
Throw the rinse water and add your coffee grounds to the bottom chamber. Shake gently to settle your grounds evenly.
Warm another paper filter with hot water and place it at the top of the grounds in the bottom chamber.
3. Press the plunger/piston
Affix the body with the bottom chamber, now press the plunger all the way down to the bottom and retract it back to the top. You’ll see the grounds turned into puck – assures that you’ve done this step in a right way.
Next, add the hot water over the puck and fill it to the level that fits best to your taste. More water means the liquid will be less concentrated.
Grab the AeroPress and shake it in a circular motion for 15 seconds. This time press the piston to squash the puck to the best. Don’t press it too hard, otherwise, you’ll get a bitter taste liquid.
Smell it, taste it, voila! You’ve made espresso with AeroPress.
2. Milk Steaming and Frothing
Just in case if you don’t know, there are two popular ways to warm the milk for coffee – steaming and frothing. Both can take your plain coffee to the next level, but there’s a definitive difference between both options.
At first glance, you’ll notice, steamed milk is a lot heavier since it contains less air and froth. On the other hand, less milk is needed to prepare the frothed milk because volume increases by three to four times from the result of aerating heated milk.
To develop your latte drink, you’ll need both of them, you just can’t call it a day if you’re missing any of them.
Quick Note: The type of milk you’ll use matters to the flavor and final texture of the drink.
You can use any kind of milk for making latte drinks, but most of the barista around the world recommends using whole milk as it steams/froths well to consequently deliver rich taste and creamiest results.
From my personal experiment, I found whole milk lived up to all the promises and much easier to create professional-looking latte art like a pro.
Preparation of Steamed Milk
Steamed milk is actually the heated milk, there are several ways to do it without even the use of any expensive equipment. You can do it in the microwave, but when you want to have more control over the heat, a stovetop might be the best way to do it.
- Small saucepan
Instructions to do it
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan and place it on the stovetop.
- Heat the milk on medium to medium-low temperature, depending on the type of milk you use to hit a certain temperature to steam it. (Milk: 150ºF, Soy Milk: 140ºF, Almond Milk: 130ºF)
- From time to time, stir the milk to prevent it from boiling and once it’ll hit a suitable temperature, remove it from boiling and pour directly on the espresso.
Preparation of Frothed Milk
Although it worths making a minimal investment in milk frother or frothing pitcher, you can use a glass French press and microwave to transform the steamed milk into foam in just a matter of few minutes.
It will require you:
- Cold milk
- French press
Instructions to do it
- Fill up one-third of a mug with cold milk.
- Microwave the milk for 30 to 45 seconds. And carefully pour the hot milk into the French Press and attach the plunger.
- Rapidly raise and plunge the fine mesh filter of the French Press into forcing air particles into milk’s proteins and fats. Keep on doing this (generally for 10-15 seconds) until the foam adds 50% or so to the total volume of the milk.
- Take off the French Press lid and pour or scoop out the frothed milk into your latte drink.
3. Design your latte cup
Now you’ve everything ready, you’ll just need a latte cup to design your favorite drink.
Firstly, pour the espresso into a wide shallow cup and then pour as much steamed milk as you’d like for your espresso drink while holding back the foam before finishing by scoping some foam.
Now spoon as much foam as you’d like on your latte drink, and lastly, sprinkle the cocoa powder or nutmeg on the top of the foam to give your drink a nice looking touch while enhancing its flavor.
We’re living in a world where we have boundless possibilities for a flavor combination; if you’d like, you can stir in your favorite syrup with the warm milk before adding the foam.
You don’t need to be an expert barista to brew a delicious latte coffee at home; you don’t even need those expensive machines to fix your latte crave as long as you’ve some handy devices to prepare your drink.
Just brew your espresso, steam the milk and add some topping – Ta-da, your delicious latte is ready!
So, what’s next?
Go and brew your latte drink and let me know how it goes for you in the comment section below.
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