Each morning I make my pot of coffee and pour it from the full French press into my awaiting mug. I drink it black, savoring the rich, deep flavors and appreciating every bit of caffeine more with every sip I take. Every now and then on the weekends, however, I crave a beautifully crafted latte from the local café just down the street. Unwilling to get out of my Saturday morning pajamas, I stick with my unaltered, standard cuppa, dreaming all the while of that creamy, delicious concoction.
If you’ve ever been in this position yourself, you undoubtedly can relate to that desperate want for a fresh latte. If you haven’t, consider yourself warned. But to those of you who know what I’m talking about, fear not. Believe it or not creating a wonderful latte at home is a surprisingly simple undertaking.
The tools you’ll need are coffee beans, milk (can be a non-dairy variety), a grinder, a Moka pot or a way to make espresso, a way to steam or froth your milk, and a thermometer. Generally speaking, if you drink coffee normally then you probably already have all of these things lying around your kitchen. Other than having or acquiring these tools, it’s all about technique.
Pour coffee beans into the grinder and grind into a fine powder. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka pot filter with water to the fill line, fill the filter compartment with packed grounds, drop the filter into the bottom chamber and screw on the top. Place the pot on the stove at medium-high heat and watch in awe as espresso appears before your eyes.
Next, since most of us don’t have steamers, we’ll use a slightly different method to steam our milk. Pour some milk into a small saucepan and place onto the stovetop on medium heat. You’ll want to heat the milk to it’s “steaming” temperature. This will vary depending on what type of milk you are using, but for regular cow’s milk, 150 degress F (65 C) will get the milk perfect for that latte of your dreams. You don’t want the milk to boil, as it will alter the taste, so stir occasionally to prevent it getting too hot.
At this point you can pour the heated milk over a cup of coffee and enjoy. However, this isn’t exactly a latte, but more of a macchiato due to the lack of foam. To get a good layer of foam, you’ll want to aerate the milk, or get air into it. To do this, pour some milk into a French press and plunge several times until you see plenty of bubbles about half way up the glass chamber. If you don’t have a plunger, you can use a glass jar with a lid and shake the milk. Remove the glass from the outer metal or rubber stand and heat in the microwave until the bubbles reach almost to the top of the glass. Remove from the microwave (with caution as the glass may be hot) and pour over your cup of coffee. Now that is a latte, drink up!