Learn how you can make the perfect latte at home

How to make the perfect latte

It’s a real coffee shop favourite, and a lovely coffee drink to accompany your favourite muffin. The latte is well loved here in the UK, and with good reason. It gives you the pick me up you need from espresso, without the intensity of flavour of an Americano. Plus, the length of a latte gives you extra time to savour your freshly ground whole beans! Here we’re going to give you the step by step coffee recipe you need to create your own latte coffee at home with no need for a machine. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous following this recipe, take an extra challenge and try making some latte art following our additional how to here provided you have access to a steam wand/espresso machine.

What is a latte, after all?

Latte in itself directly translates to ‘milk’ in Italian. Hence our recommendation that when in a beautiful cafe at 11am in Verona, don’t bother ordering a latte unless you want a hot cup of milk only! Caffé latte is your order of choice, which highlights that you do want the espresso included! Latte, as the UK knows it, combines well steamed and frothed milk with a shot of pulled espresso. The key component is making sure the milk is looked after effectively and becomes steamed and frothy milk; if it’s just frothy, it’s a macchiato. It’s a lovingly simple drink on the surface, but one which requires a good understanding of its components to enjoy at its fullest!

Great! So how can I get started? Read on!

The kit and ingredients

There are two key options here. If you have an espresso machine, this is the only kit you need alongside a stainless steel pitcher. While having an espresso machine makes the process undoubtedly easier (and we think vital if you’re going for more delicate latte art), we can break down the process if you’re without this expensive piece of kit. For getting your milk latte friendly, you will need a microwaveable and sealable jar. For your espresso element, you’ll need a french press, bialetti or aeropress (see our relevant articles for the details of the methods here). If you are using whole beans, you’ll need a bean grinder too. You’ll also need your favourite mug!

Alongside your kit, you will need your roasted whole beans for grinding, or fresh ground coffee ready made to create your espresso. You can purchase both options with Seven Districts. We recommend a dark roasted blend as this is an espresso based drink – they’ll give you the best flavour. Our Tiddy Munn roast works perfectly based on its deep bourbon flavours. You’ll need about 3 tbsp fresh beans for grinding, or 2 tbsp of ground coffee as a latte is best with a double shot of espresso. You’ll also need milk with a high fat content, that being whole milk or barista blended plant based alternatives. Make sure they are labelled barista blend – as traditional plant milks are usually very low fat and won’t give you the same foam. For a straightforward latte you’ll need about 180ml.

Weighing coffee for espresso
Weighing espresso while pouring
Weighing poured espresso

Let’s get to the method

  1. Preheat your cup. This can be done simply by filling with boiling water until you are ready to add in your espresso and milk (just make sure you get rid of the water before you do that!). 
  2. Let’s get to creating your double shot espresso. If you have a machine, you know what to do. Otherwise, take a look at our articles which explain various alternative methods to creating espresso, with either a french press, moka pot, or stove top bialetti, making sure to adjust the directions to get a double shot. All create a great result and are fairly inexpensive ways to get to the same cup of concentrated coffee. Once prepared, set aside.
  3. Time to froth your milk. With your espresso machine, this will require adding your milk to your steel milk frothing pitcher and steaming it gradually with your steam wand. You want to place the steam wand to start with at about a cm from the edge of the milk for a few seconds, then quickly plunge down into the lower right quadrant of the jug, with the jug at a slight tilt to build pressure. This should create a whirlpool effect and simultaneously steam and froth the milk. Finish by tapping your milk to remove any large bubbles. No espresso machine/steam wand? Add your milk to a microwavable jar or pot and shake for 30 seconds as vigorously as you can, then heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. This should create DIY frothed milk! 
  4. Empty out the boiled water from your mug and add the espresso. If you’re feeling fancy head over to our latte art article to learn the technique of pouring to create some beautiful designs. If this is your first go, skip the latte art and head to step 5.
  5. If you have steamed your milk using a machine, you now want to slowly pour your milk at an angle into the espresso. If you have foamed your milk DIY style, you’ll need to hold a spoon against the milk as your pour so as not to dump a big clump of foam that microwave milk will often create. Apart from this, pour in the same way as you would with steam wand milk.  
  6. Sit back and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy your newfound coffee creation skills. Up the ante with our latte art tutorial next, or try out our other recipes from macchiato to cold brew and cappuccino.

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