A latte is a coffee drink that pairs espresso and steamed milk. You can add sweeteners, chocolate, or spices to your latte to further enrich the flavor of your coffee drink. You can also use nut, rice, or soy milk to enjoy a non-dairy coffee treat. Finally, the darkness of your espresso roast and the bean variety can change up your latte flavor.
1. Basic Latte
To start your basic latte, you will need espresso.
If you already have a Moka pot, you can brew something similar to espresso with a coarser grind of coffee. This has to start with boiling water, so you may not want this to be your first cup of the day. Let your ears determine when the espresso-like foamy coffee enters the upper chamber; over-extracted espresso in a Moka pot will be charred.
2. Caramel Latte
Once you have the espresso done, you will need to add steamed or heated milk. You can heat milk over a burner, in a microwave, or via a steam tube off your espresso machine. Once the milk is hot, you can froth it via
- shaking in a thermos
- metal whisk in the glass jar
- elbow grease and your French press.
If you want to add a bit of sweetness, such as a caramel syrup, make sure you add it after you take the milk off the heat. You can also froth milk by shaking it in a glass jar, but make sure you have some form of protection on your hands both against the heat and for good grip. Carefully pour the frothed milk over your espresso crema.
Brown sugar and a bit of butter is a very simple caramel sauce. If you love caramel as an occasional coffee treat, consider adding a bit of brown sugar to your milk once it’s off the burner before you froth it. This is especially yummy with full-fat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk.
3. Coconut Latte
Once you have your espresso recipe consistent, consider using coconut milk to create your latte. Like cow’s milk, steamed coconut milk has its sweetness. You can also boost the flavor of your coconut latte with just a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa on top of the steamed milk. This one of the healthy ways to enjoy your coffee.
Coconut has a creamy texture in the mouth. If you don’t like this texture, consider making your latte with almond milk, either sweetened with vanilla or plain. Rice milk adds a simple sweetness, as does soy milk. If you are heating milk over a burner, make sure you keep stirring it as it heats; all milk can burn at the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Vanilla Latte
Vanilla is a flavor that deserves a bit more respect! There’s nothing plain about it. If you love a dark espresso, a drop of good quality vanilla concentrate in your milk once it’s hot can be a wonderful foil for your most richly flavored coffees. Adding vanilla extract is a healthy way to sweeten your coffee.
Vanilla extract is made with alcohol. Never drip it into your milk when the milk is still on the flame. Additionally, a little will go a long way. If you are worried about adding too much vanilla, transfer less than a drop with a toothpick using the dip and stir method from vanilla to milk.
If you need a bit more sweetness, use the vanilla syrup in the milk before you froth.
5. Mocha Latte
Add a bit of hot cocoa powder to your steamed milk before you froth it. When adding sweeteners and spices to your milk, do make sure to avoid adding too much sugar. Steamed milk has its sweetness. Adding too much sugar to your milk will turn your latte into a candy bar in a cup, which may destroy the flavor of your espresso.
The key to a good latte is to revel in the sweetness of the milk in contrast to the richness of your espresso. Do your best to season your flavored latte product with just a touch of sugar; it’s much easier to sweeten slowly than to enjoy the coffee flavor once your latte is just too sweet.
McKenzie Jones is your typical Midwestern gal. When she is not writing or reading, she can be found training for her next half-marathon, baking something sweet, playing her guitar, or cuddling up with her golden retriever, Cooper. She loves watching football, fall weather, and long road trips. If you have an espresso machine at home, this will be fairly straightforward. You can also use AeroPress to create crema on your hearty Guatemala Huehuetenango coffee.