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How to Make a Latte: 5 Steps to the Best Latte Ever

You can find lattes on almost all cafe menus. But since you're here, I'm guessing you are wondering how to make a latte at home. When it comes to its preparation, the latte is the combination of one or two shots of espresso and steamed milk poured on top with a thin layer of foam. 
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Who says you need to go to a coffee shop to enjoy a good latte? You can make superb lattes at home—as long as you know how.

The coffee you choose to use is important in preparing a good latte.

You can choose to use any roasted coffee beans that you like regardless of whether you prepare your coffee with an espresso machine or any other alternative method.

Regarding the milk for your latte, I recommend whole (3.5% fat) milk for the creamiest result.

The whole process looks like this:

How to Make a Latte – Step By Step

  1. Pull a Single or Double Espresso Shot
  2. Steam Your Milk to 113-122 Degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Homogenize Your Steamed Milk and Espresso
  4. Pour into a Ceramic Cup
  5. Enjoy!

If you’d like to drink a proper and delicious latte at home, but don’t know where to start or what you need, you’re in the right place.

It’s not complicated at all, you just have to follow my recipe on how to make a latte below with the right utensils. Do so and you’ll be sipping the best latte you’ve ever had before you know it.

Equipment You Need To Make A Latte 

  1. Espresso plays an important role in making a latte because guess what? The latte is an espresso-based beverage. 😛 You’ll want to grind freshly roasted coffee beans to a fine size.
  2. An 8-oz. cup because you will make the latte based on a recipe that I’ve developed in the last 5 years of experience working as a barista. I’ve tried a lot of lattes recipes in various cup servings, from 8-12 oz. I chose this recipe which has 1.5 oz. of espresso and 6 oz. of milk served in an 8-oz. ceramic mug. For me, it’s the perfect one because the quantity of the espresso and the milk results in a very sweet, creamy, and balanced cup of coffee.
  3. Milk also plays an important role in the process because it gives sweetness and heavenly foam. But that is not all. We will talk more about milk a bit later.
  4. A pitcher for frothing the milk. (I prefer the Brewista Smart Pour Frothing Pitcher.)
  5. AND A LOT OF ENTHUSIASM 😎

Step 1: Pull a Single or Double Espresso Shot

First of all, we need an 8-oz. cup and espresso; more precisely, 1.5 oz. of espresso for a double-shot latte and half that for a single-shot one.

how to make a latte

The difference between a single and double latte is the amount of espresso. Double lattes have two shots of espresso and are recommended for those who want to drink a beverage where they can also feel the coffee. 

The single-shot latte is a lighter drink that’s best for those who don’t want to feel the caffeine effects or taste the espresso as much.

Step 2: Prepare Your Milk (Fat Content Makes a Difference)

As I mentioned above, when it comes to milk we need 3.5% milk (whole milk in the US). Milk fat gives the milk a sweeter taste and is so much easier to foam

But you can also make a good latte with alternative milk like almond, cashew, or soy milk. Just remember that you need to add more air into the milk because the alternative milk doesn’t have animal fat, making it harder to froth.

Pro Tip: For a creamier latte texture using alternative milk, add more air and you will get the same result as with whole milk.

A word about steamed milk:

To make a latte, you will need to steam your milk. I am using an espresso machine here, which comes with an attached steam wand. But if you don’t have one, you’ll need a milk frother that also steams the milk, so you can make the right amount of milk foam with the right amount of bubbles (Learn more about steam vs. foam/froth here.)

how to make a latte

Step 3: Steam Your Milk to 113-122 Degrees Fahrenheit

We need 6 oz. of whole milk steamed to about 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature plays a very important role when it comes to taste. A temperature above 122 degrees Fahrenheit will decrease the sweetness of the milk. Much higher than that and you can start burning it.

The goal of every barista is to strike the right sweetness balance. So when we make lattes, we want to help ourselves to the milk’s sweetness and take full advantage of it.

The temperature of your milk enormously influences your latte’s overall taste. That’s why I suggest using a milk thermometer.

Milk Frothing: Top Tips for Lattes

best milk frothing tips

Step 4: Homogenize Your Steamed Milk and Espresso

how to make a latte

Now that we have 1.5 oz. of espresso and the milk is ready, let’s start the final and also the most important part of this process:

The homogenization of milk with espresso. 

how to make a latte

Oh, yes, it’s a whole thing. When you start this process, you need to pour 20% of the milk into the cup and start swirling. Stop turning the milk and swirl the cup 4-5 times to homogenize the milk with the espresso. 

This step is very helpful because when homogenization happens you will get a sweet and balanced cup of coffee.

Step 5: Top Your Latte Off With a Design and Enjoy Its Creamy Flavor!

After this step, just finish pouring the milk into the cup in circles so it layers with the espresso nicely. If you’re keen, you can experiment with pouring an artful design with the milk foam that’ll come out after your steamed milk. Voila, your homemade latte is ready.

how to make a latte

Final Thoughts on How to Make a Latte

Making a latte at home is not as complicated as it may seem. With the right equipment and ingredients, anyone can enjoy this delicious, creamy, and sweet coffee drink from the comfort of their own kitchen.

Espresso plays a crucial role in making a latte, and using the right amount of milk, with the right fat content, and steaming it to the right temperature is essential.

Remember to homogenize the milk with the espresso, and pour it in circular motions to ensure a consistent taste throughout.

With some enthusiasm and practice, you can enjoy a barista-quality latte to rival your favorite coffee shop, any time you like.

So did you make this latte recipe? Give me your feedback and let me know in the comments!

FAQs

Can I Use Regular Brewed Coffee Instead of Espresso In a Latte?

Technically, yes. But regular coffee does not have the same strength or consistency as that produced by an espresso machine. So you’ll have to work harder and get a bit creative to replicate the flavor and texture you are expecting in a latte. You’ll also need to brew your espresso in a different, probably more concentrated, way.

Can I Use Non-Dairy Milk to Make a latte?

Yes, you can use non-dairy milk like soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk to make a latte. However, keep in mind that non-dairy milk may froth differently than dairy milk, so experiment to find the best method for your preferred milk. You don’t want it coming out like water!

Can I Make a Latte with Flavored Syrups?

Yes, you can add flavored syrups to your latte for extra flavor. Popular syrups include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice. The thing is, these can be very sugary, so you should start off with just a small amount at first.

How Much Espresso Is In a Latte?

A standard latte usually contains one shot of espresso, which is about 1-2 ounces of liquid.
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