How to Make a Caffé Latte – Recipe for a Coffee Shop Quality Cup
Ready to learn how to make an amazing latte right in the comfort of your own home?
I’m a barista who frequents many coffee shops, but I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I make my favorite café drinks in my own kitchen.
Today I’ll be sharing my knowledge with you through an easy cafe latte recipe. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic equipment, this is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a hot cup of joe that tastes as good as it looks.
What is a Caffe Latte?
A caffé latte is a coffee beverage made of espresso and steamed milk. The proportions of coffee and milk vary by café, but it is generally 1 part espresso coffee to 2 or 3 parts steamed milk, with a thin layer of microfoam on top.
The origins of latte can be traced back to Italy where it was originally known as “caffe latte” meaning “coffee and milk.” The drink gained popularity in America during the 1980s and became mainstream by the end of the decade. Today, lattes are consumed globally with different variations such as caramel, hazelnut or vanilla available to suit individual tastes.
Making a latte is not that hard but requires attention to detail. In terms of preparation time, it takes around 3-5 minutes from start to finish. The volume of the final drink would vary depending on how much milk and espresso you use.
What I find fascinating about lattes is how simple yet versatile they are – just two ingredients combined together to create magic in a cup, loved all over the world.
It’s amazing how easy it is to make them once you get the hang of it. For me personally, I am more of a cortado guy. But my wife loves sipping on a hot latte while sitting on the couch reading a book on lazy cold days.
Equipment & Ingredients for Cafe Latte
Here are the things you’ll need to make a Cafe Latte:
- Espresso machine – used to brew the espresso shot. If you don’t have one, click here for alternative ways to make espresso at home. It’ll taste the same, since you’re using a lot of milk with the latte.
- A latte mug – will hold the final latte drink.
- Milk frothing pitcher – used for steaming milk and pouring it into the mug.
- 18 grams of ground coffee – medium and dark roast coffee that are finely ground are the best options to make an espresso shot for a cafe latte.
- Whole milk – Steamed milk is added to the espresso shot in order to create a creamy texture and taste in a latte.
Now that you’ve gathered the needed materials, it’s time to jump into this easy homemade latte recipe.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Cafe Latte
Making a cafe latte is not that complicated, especially if you take the time to master the skill. Here are the steps in making your cafe latte:
1. Put coffee into the portafilter
- Begin by placing 18 grams of ground coffee into the portafilter.
- Use a tamper to compact the ground coffee tightly.
2. Pull your espresso shot
- Place the portafilter in the espresso machine.
- Pull the double shot (around 50-60 ml / 2 ounces) of espresso directly into your mug.
3. Steam 4-6 ounces of milk
- Pour 4-6 ounces of cold milk into a milk pitcher, making sure that it does not fill more than halfway up its spout.
- Heat and steam the milk until it reaches around 160 degrees Fahrenheit while gently aerating it by keeping the tip of the wand just below the surface of the milk. If you don’t have an espresso machine that froths milk, you can use a milk frother like the Breville Milk Cafe. There are several other ways to froth milk here, but froth milk will be more bubbly than what you can achieve with a steam wand.
4. Pour the milk into the mug of espresso
- Once heated, pour steamed milk over your brewed espresso shot in your mug.
- Tilt your cup and hold it about three or four inches above it before beginning to pour in the steamed milk slowly. Stop pouring once it gets a little fuller.
5. Create your latte art (takes practice)
- In order to create latte art patterns on top of your drink, get as close as possible in there with your pitcher.
- If you’re just starting out, I recommend you try the heart. Get your pitcher close to the mug, pouring more milk until a white circle appears. Raise the pitcher and push the stream of milk through the circle to create the heart shape.
Once you’ve poured all of your steamed milk into the cup, it’s time to enjoy sipping this delicious hot beverage called Latte.
What kind of cup should you serve a cafe latte in?
A cafe latte should be served in a latte mug, which is a wide ceramic cup that resembles a bowl with a handle. This helps with the latte art as well.
Barista Tips for Making Your Cafe Latte
The process may seem simple, but perfecting your cup of latte also takes a lot of practice, especially when you want to be adept at making latte art on top of your freshly brewed cup. To help you get better in no time, here are some additional tips for making your cafe latte:
- You can use other kinds of milk: If you’re looking for a non-dairy alternative to whole milk, oat milk is a popular alternative used by baristas. Other milk options you can use are almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, cashew milk, pea milk, and macadamia milk.
- Use fresh beans: If you can, grind your own coffee beans for maximum freshness when you pull your espresso shot. Instant espresso is okay to use, but I prefer a real shot of espresso for a high quality drink.
- Print your latte art: If you want to take the art on your latte to the next level, there are machines that can print complex art on top of your drink. Check out our review of one of them, the Ripple AM Maker machine.
- Learn how to make a cappuccino next: Once you’ve mastered making a latte, you’re not far from learning how to make a cappuccino, which requires the whisking of milk for a thicker foam on your drink.
You now know how to make a delicious latte at home that can be made easily with just a few ingredients. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can even try alternative ways to make your espresso at home.
Did you nail your first latte drink? How about your latte art? Let me know in the comments below.