A cafe latte is an espresso drink that combines coffee and steamed milk. You can make a cafe latte at home that tastes just like a coffee shop drink. It's easier than you think, and can be a lot less expensive than buying a cafe latte every morning. Here's how to make a cafe latte:
Ingredients and supplies:
- Whole coffee beans (medium or dark roast)
- Coffee grinder
- Espresso machine with steam wand
- Stainless steel steam pitcher
- Clip or wand thermometer for steam pitcher
- Grind the beans. Use the freshest coffee beans available to make a cafe latte. Grind them very fine for use in your espresso machine. The beans for a cafe latte should be finer than normal coffee maker beans. Many coffee suppliers can grind the beans for you if you don't have your own grinder.
- Steam the milk. Fill your pitcher about halfway full with milk, and attach the thermometer to the side of the pitcher. Because the milk expands as it is steamed, do not fill the pitcher too full or it will overflow. Put the steaming wand through the milk about halfway. Then steam the milk until it reaches about 150 degrees. Do not over-steam, or the milk will burn. You should see foam forming on the top of the steamed milk, though you don't want too much foam. A latte uses mostly liquid milk, with about 1/3 foam, while the cappuccino is about 2/3 foam and 1/3 milk. To steam the milk without creating too much foam, you'll want to insert the steam wand further into the milk than when making foam for a cappuccino.
- Make the espresso shot. Now, use your espresso machine to create a shot of espresso. Read the instructions to your espresso machine if you have never used it before, as each machine operates differently. Pack the ground espresso beans into the machine and then pull the shot, which should take just a few minutes. Ideally, the espresso shot should be caramel brown; if your shot is darker than this, it will be bitter.
- Assemble the cafe latte. The second the espresso shot is drawn, pour it into the cup. Do not wait more than about ten seconds between drawing the espresso shot and combining it with milk. Pour the milk on top of the espresso. Use a spoon to reserve the foam in the pitcher, and then top the drink with this foam.
- Enjoy! The cafe latte will be very hot, so drink carefully. If you'd like, you can use a fork to create a fancy pattern in the milk by carefully mixing it with the espresso underneath the milk layer. You can also create patterns when first pouring the foam on top of the espresso. This is known as "latte art."
The cafe latte is a delicious traditional drink. You can make flavored latte by adding a pump or two of flavored syrup. There are many variations on the traditional cafe latte, so once you have the basic process down, experiment to find your perfect cafe latte.