How To Make The Perfect Latte At Home?

by Alex Chapman

How To Make The Perfect Latte At Home?

Lattes are one of the most popular coffee shop orders in Australia. In fact, a recent study by Square looked at what coffee was ordered the most in Australia and lattes topped the list. The milky coffee beverage was closely followed by a flat white.

While there's no debating the popularity of lattes, a lot of people are unsure about how to make them at home. The ingredients that make up a latte are very simple: the drink consists solely of steamed milk and espresso. However, each ingredient must be carefully made in order to create a great latte.

Here, we run through the basics of a latte, and how to make it with and without an espresso machine. Follow our instructions on how to make the perfect latte, and you'll be enjoying one at home in no time.

The history of lattes

While a latte is a popular coffee order in Australia, the coffee drink originated as a "Caffe e latte”(commonly known as a cafe latte) in Europe prior to the 17th century. The term was first used in writing by William Dean Howells in his 1867 essay “Italian Journeys”. Howells was American and the book is about four years that he spent abroad as a consul in Europe.

While the exact origin of a latte is unknown, it's widely believed that lattes were developed from cappuccinos. Cappuccinos have a layer of steamed milk, and a layer of foam as well as espresso, whereas lattes just have a layer of steamed milk and espresso.

It's accepted that the cafe latte was created in Europe centuries ago, but the drink was dubbed a 'latte' and really exploded in popularity in Seattle, America in 1980. The American state is famous for it's coffee culture and before long, the latte was everywhere. It's popularity quickly spread around the country, and soon made it's ways to Australian shores. By the late 80's and early 90's, lattes could be found at cafes all around the nation.

Different variations of a latte coffee drink

Quite simply, a latte is a coffee beverage that's composed of steamed milk and espresso. However, as the drink gathered popularity over the past few decades, different variations of it started to pop up. One of the most common ways a latte is altered is by switching full cream milk for different kinds of milk. Another popular adaptation of the is using flavoured syrups to change the flavours.

Vanilla Latte

A vanilla latte is a popular choice for coffee drinks that prefer a very sweet taste. The creation process of these speciality coffee drinks is very similar to how a regular caffe latte is made. However, for this type of drink, vanilla syrup is squirted into the cup or mug prior to the espresso being added.

Iced Latte

An iced latte is a refreshing take on a regular latte. Iced lattes are extremely easy to make, as they removed the step of steaming the milk. This type of drink simply requires a shot of espresso poured over cold milk, and with ice blocks added.

Chocolate cafe latte

A chocolate cafe latte is another attractive choice for sweet tooths! This drink is made in a similar way to a vanilla latte - except, instead of using vanilla syrup, chocolate syrup is used.

Chai Latte

A chai latte is very different from a normal latte - as espresso isn't used at all in the drink. Instead, of using an espresso shot, boiling black tea is used. This tea is usually infused with cinnamon, clove and other warming spices. The rest of the latte is made the same way - steamed milk is added on top of the tea.

Skinny latte

A skinny latte is very similar to a normal latte - but non-fat or skim milk is used instead of full cream milk. Using skim milk in a latte reduces it's calorie content by about 40% on average.

Latte with different types of milk

In recent years, milk has been commonly substituted for other types of non-dairy milk, like coconut milk, oat milk and soy milk. For these types of speciality coffee drinks, they are made the same way as a regular latte, but the milk that's steamed is just changed depending on preference.

How to make a latte

Espresso machines are designed to make lattes - they have a milk wand to heat and froth milk, and they extract great quality espresso shots. However, it's possible to create a good latte at home without an espresso machine. The main obstacle you'll face is making properly frothed milk. However, our guide below explains how to create frothed milk without a milk wand.

With an espresso machine

  1. Preheat your latte glass by filling it with some boiling water and letting the water sit for a minute or two. After this, tip out the hot water and prepare to start making your espresso.
  2. Pull an espresso shot into the prewarmed glass. Lattes can have one or two shots of espresso, and this will depend on your personal preference.
  3. Once the espresso is in the cup, it's time to work on steaming your milk. Most espresso machines will have a steam wand. Use this wand to heat the milk. The ideal temperature is 150 degrees, and if the temperature rises over this, then the milk may get burnt. To achieve well-frothed milk, we recommend holding the wand 1-2 cm's below the milk. This will heat the milk and create a layer of froth.
  4. Slowly pour the heated and frothed milk into the glass. By doing this slowly you should get the heated milk on top of the espresso shot/s, and the froth should finish on the top.
  5. Your latte is now ready to be enjoyed.

Without an espresso machine

  1. Preheat your latte glass by filling it with some boiling water and letting the water sit for a minute or two. After this, tip out the hot water and prepare to start making your espresso.
  2. Prepare your espresso shot with your preferred method, this can be used through the use of a Moka pot, french press or other coffee makers.
  3. Pour a cup of milk into a mason jar and pop it into the microwave until it's warm.
  4. Pour half of the warm milk on top of the espresso shot.
  5. Put the lid on the mason jar and vigorously shake the jar to create a foamy milk mixture. Then, pour the milk froth into your mocha so that the cup is entirely filled.
  6. Your latte is now ready to be enjoyed.


The best coffee beans for lattes

There are so many different flavours of coffee beans on the market, and there isn't necessarily a best choice - it comes down to personal preference. However, most baristas tend to choose a dark roast coffee bean, so that the flavour of the coffee bean can shine through. The milk in a latte can overshadow (or change) the taste of a bean, especially if speciality milk like oat milk or coconut milk is used.

However, you can choose your favourite flavoured coffee to use in your latte. Below is a guide to different undertones that feature in different beans.

For a rich latte with chocolate undertones

Organic Jungle Bean Coffee

The rich body and high acidity of the Organic Jungle Bean Coffee make it a great bean to use for lattes. The strong flavours shine through in the coffee drink, even when non-traditional milk is used, like oat milk or coconut milk. Along with their rich body and winey acidity, they also have a subtle cocoa taste.

For a smooth and nutty latte

Single Origin Nicaraguan Coffee Beans

If your flavour palette prefers a very smooth tasting coffee, then Single Origin Nicaraguan Coffee Beans are a very good choice. These coffee trees are grown in just one distinct region in Nicaragua that spawns smooth and nutty-tasting coffee beans that have a hint of cinnamon.

For a sweet latte with spicy undertones

Award Winning Buena Vista

The Award-Winning Buena Vista beans are one of our barista's favourite beans to make lattes with. These beans are grown at high altitude, and have hints of peach with spicy undertones. Their bold flavour means that it's not drowned out by strongly flavoured milk additions. These beans are a special, rare batch that is only available for purchase while stocks last.

For a fruity decaf latte

Premium Roasted Swiss Water Decaf

If you love the taste of a latte, but don't want the high caffeine content, then you'll probably be looking for the perfect decaf bean. Premium Roasted Swiss Water Decaf Coffee Beans are decaffeinated and have sweet, light and fruity flavours. They are high-quality bean that's sourced from the highest altitude growing regions of Colombia.

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