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    3 Step Simple Homemade Latte Recipes (How to Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine)

    by Kieran MacRae | Last Updated: June 25, 2021

    All through lockdowns, there was one thing that kept me going day in and day out: my morning homemade lattes.

    Every morning I’d get up and make a latte for my wife and myself and it would be a little something to look forward to, and a delicious way to start the day.

    But it’s super expensive to buy an espresso machine right?

    It sure is, but you don’t need one. You can make a pretty good imitation of a latte using instant coffee, or you can make a truly spectacular latte using a Moka Pot or an Aeropress using the Above Average Coffee method.

    3 Step Simple Homemade Latte Recipes (How to Make a Latte Without an Espresso Machine)

    Easiest Homemade Latte Recipe

    A cup of black coffee left sitting out

    Ingredients

    Equipment

    Method

    1. Heat up milk in the microwave or in a pan, ensuring it’s hot but doesn’t boil or simmer. Whole milk works best.
    2. Make coffee your regular way but a little stronger, if you use a drip machine put an extra spoon of coffee grounds in, or if you’re using instant coffee only use half the water.
    3. Using a whisk, whisk the living daylights out of your milk, whisking consistently for about 30-45 seconds until the milk has become frothy. Pour this milk over your coffee and enjoy!

    You’ll get on even better if you can froth your milk using either a milk frother or a French Press, it will be much more like a latte.

    But if you don’t have either of those and you’re on a budget then look no further, you are ready to go for your homemade latte.


    For some people that’s fair enough, but not for me, that’s how you make an average cappuccino/latte at home.

    I want to show you how to make an Above Average Coffee and take your latte to the next level…

    Most Delicious Homemade Latte Recipe (Above Average Coffee’s Recipe)

    A Moka Pot Flowing with Freshly Brewed Coffee

    Ingredients:

    Equipment:

    Method:

    Step 1. Prepare Your Moka Pot Coffee

    A Moka pot is a stovetop espresso maker, making it the perfect choice for homemade lattes, plus you can pick them up on Amazon for less than $30, I use a 6 cup Moka Pot to make 2 lattes.

    Fill the bottom chamber with hot water and add your coffee grounds to the basket.

    Have a look around for a local roaster, it makes such a difference to the taste and supports local business.

    Next, screw the top on and put it on the stove at medium-high heat until the coffee is ready, pour half the coffee from a 6 cup into each cup and grab the milk.

    Step 2. Froth Your Milk

    For the longest time, I would do this by warming the milk in a microwave and frothing it in a French Press, which worked perfectly well and had the bonus of being big enough to froth all the milk at once.

    But I more recently got a standalone milk frother and heater and it’s a game-changer. Just pour milk into the correct line, put the lid on and press go.

    Hey presto, your milk is heated and frothed!

    I have this one which costs a little more but without it I wouldn’t make lattes every day, it would be too much of a hassle. So if you’re a coffee fiend like I am it’s well worth it.

    It only makes enough milk for 1 latte at a time so you have to rinse between uses but it cleans easily and doesn’t take long.

    Step 3. Combine and Sprinkle Chocolate On Top

    It’s really a two-step process but I like the 3rd step for a little flair.

    Pour the milk over the coffee and voila, you’ve got a latte, it’ll be a little more like a cappuccino with the froth on top but it’s the closest you can get at home without a steaming wand.

    Now just sprinkle a little cocoa on top with a teaspoon and you’re ready to go.

    Coffee Considerations

    Why A Moka Pot

    I love the Moka Pot, it’s simple, you can make good coffee without having to deal with a scale, you don’t need to heat the water separately, and the coffee it makes is punchy enough to be tasted through the milk.

    Some people find black coffee from a Moka Pot to be a little bitter, which I agree with to a point, but once you combine it with heated and frothed milk it is absolutely heavenly.

    Substitute an Aeropress

    The Best Way To Make Coffee At Work (Obstacles Of Brewing At The Office)

    Your alternative method to make espresso-like coffee is to use an Aeropress.

    Another great option and I think an option that makes better coffee, it’s smoother, it’s able to make tastier coffee, but you have to deal with a timer and organize all the parts which I just don’t want to face first thing in the morning.

    But if you don’t run a coffee blog and so don’t own both of these then you can use whichever one you happen to have. If you’ve already got an AeroPress, brilliant, make yourself a shot with that and add the milk to it.

    Using a French Press

    This was my first method on my way to a homemade latte, I would make French Press coffee, then clean it out and use it again to froth up the milk.


    An inefficient system at best but it did work.

    The coffee is nice and strong, there’s no paper filter so it’s quite thick making it mix well and stand out from the milk. And while it isn’t espresso it’s a good alternative if it’s all you have to hand.

    Other Coffee Methods

    Any way you can make coffee, go for it. We don’t have to get pretentious here and argue that it’s not even worth it unless you have a $2,000 machine blah, blah, blah.

    No.

    Just make yourself some coffee, and froth up the milk using any of the methods I’m gonna talk about below and boom, good job you, you’re officially an at-home barista making lattes.

    Go For A Darker Roast Coffee

    I will say to go for a darker roast coffee if you can, it’ll have a deeper flavor and it just works really well in a latte. Not that light roast coffee doesn’t work and can’t be used, I just prefer a dark roast.

    Different Ways To Froth Milk For Cappuccinos

    1. Using a Milk Frother

    Vava Electric Milk Frother Review

    This is the ideal way to prepare your milk if you’re making an espresso drink because it heats up the milk and whips it in one go.

    Yes, it is a little more expensive but it’s less than a tenth of what you’d spend buying an espresso machine so I’d say it’s definitely worth it.


    As I said before it makes it so much easier to make them every day.

    2. Use a Handheld Milk Frother

    This is a more space convenient way of frothing up your milk. You just put a little in your mug, heat it up in the microwave, and whisk away. And if you whisk before you put it in the microwave the heat helps make the foam more sturdy so it lasts better.

    It adds an extra step compared to the above but it does work well.

    A good choice if you ever have Keto coffee and need to get your butter properly mixed in.

    3. Use a French Press

    This is a tried and true method, and a lot of people have a French Press sitting in the back of their cupboards that have long gone unused.

    Now it’s time to dig it out again!

    It works by plunging the filter of the French Press back and forth through the milk which acts as a whisk frothing up the milk.

    Now the key here is to only half fill the French press, don’t make my mistake and fill it three quarters, then the milk expands and when you’re not paying attention it froths out the top and all over your counter…

    The milk expands people, now we know…

    But if you half fill it or less, you just plunge the filter up and down for about 20-30 seconds then you’ve got yourself frothed milk!

    You need to heat the milk separately but it’s a good way to froth milk with equipment that you quite likely already have if you’ve found your way here.

    Some Milk Frothed in a Jar

    4. Use A Jar

    I did not think this would work but surprisingly it does! You can in fact make a cappuccino using a Mason Jar.

    1. Make your coffee as normal, then pour milk to half fill a mason jar and close the lid.
    2. Then shake it vigorously for about 20-30 seconds until it looks frothy.
    3. Open up the lid and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and pour it over your coffee.

    Again the microwave helps to stabilize the foam so that it sits nicely on top of the coffee.

    Just be aware that the jar can get very very hot when it’s been in the microwave so you’re going to have to be careful when you pull it out.

    5. Use A Blender

    Is a blender the same as a big whisk?


    It’s not really, but in this case, it works the exact same way.

    If you have a fancy blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec you’ll be able to heat up the milk just by running the blender, but for most normal blenders it’s a case of heating up your milk and then blending it for about 15-30 seconds so that it gets nice and frothy on top.

    If your blender has a pouring spout, you just pour it straight over the coffee.

    Different Flavors

    I’m a black coffee drinker, and I absolutely love the way coffee tastes, but even I can’t resist a Starbucks-like sweet latte treat, get some sugar syrup in there and start it up.

    You can get really creative and put just about any flavoring you can imagine into it if you want but these are my favorites.

    Dirty Chai Latte

    I think this has to be my absolute favorite, you can do it properly by boiling spices into milk, a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves as a base, but I prefer to buy an instant chai powder mix, a lot of them are really good.

    Then you just put a spoonful into the mug before you add the coffee and add a spoonful into the milk before you froth it.

    If you were just making a chai latte you wouldn’t add the coffee but if you haven’t tried it already you definitely need to try it with coffee added.

    If I’m looking for a sweet coffee to have at home this is what I make.

    Vanilla Latte

    You absolutely can’t go wrong with a Vanilla Latte, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, vanilla and coffee are just a perfect pair.

    And you can buy vanilla coffee syrup easily enough, and this tastes the best because it’s got the sugar in it, but if you want a lower-calorie alternative you can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence to your milk before you froth it.

    Of course, adjust to taste you might find you want more or less in it but that’s a good place to start.

    Mocha Latte

    A delicious mocha latte

    Another great choice and there’s a good chance you’ve already got hot cocoa powder in your house!

    It depends on how much you want the chocolate powder to punch through but I’d start with the same ratio as the chai latte, go for 1 teaspoonful in before the coffee and 1 teaspoonful in with the milk before it’s frothed.

    Then whizz it all up and you’ve just made a mocha latte.

    If you remove the coffee having the frothed chocolate milk on top is a real treat to have hot cocoa.

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    There are ways to make pumpkin spice syrup at home. It’s not that expensive to buy it off of Amazon and it makes the whole process easy and painless.

    Start with 1 pump in before the coffee and go from there.

    What is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

    I’ve been really diving into all the different types of coffee you can make with an espresso base, and the list seems to be basically endless.

    And it all comes down to the ratios between coffee, milk, and milk foam.

    If you’re making it at home without an espresso machine, don’t worry about it, I’ll break it down in a second but you don’t have the control to really fine-tune the drink if you’re not using a steam wand and espresso machine.

    This is totally fine because you still get a warm milky coffee drink with some nice milk froth on top

    General Tips For Making at Home Lattes

    Use Strong Coffee

    It’s not proper espresso and it’s getting mixed with milk so you want your base coffee to have a nice strong flavor.

    I’d recommend going for a darker roast coffee, or a French roast coffee. Both are nice and strong and will have an intense flavor that comes through.

    I use a blend from my local roaster that I can see has a nice range of dark and medium roast beans and it works perfectly.

    Use Whole Milk

    A fresh glass of whole milk

    It has the most fats which work to bind together the milk froth so that it doesn’t instantly start dissolving once it’s made.

    It does work with 2% milk of course just not quite as well so if you’re having trouble with your milk foam this could be why.

    You even get something specifically called barista milk which has extra protein in it for better binding and a nice sheen.

    But this is excessive for what we need, we’re not trying to run the best cafe or win a barista competition. It’s just interesting that it’s a thing that exists.

    Drink Them Quick

    If I leave mine sitting for too long the milk froth starts to disappear and it’s just a little disappointing, so drink it up quickly once it’s made so that you get to feel that lovely foamy goodness.

    Otherwise, you’re just drinking a hot milky coffee, which is still great but certainly not what we’re going for here.

    Get the right size of cup

    Something with a nice big bowl shape is what we want, a nice wide brim seems to work best for helping the milk foam set properly.

    And a nice wide brim usually means a bigger cup and an excuse to have a nice big coffee first thing in the morning. No one wants a half-full cup of coffee after all, right?

    Tap from the base of the spoon

    This is for getting some chocolate powder on top, I found that tapping the edge of the teaspoon was sending big clumps of powder into one place rather than a nice dusting across the top.

    But if you lightly tap closer to where you’re holding it up the handle, the chocolate powder nicely floats down across the top giving you a proper dusting and a really classy finish.

    Make Coffee First – Then Froth Milk

    This is a big one…

    If you froth up the milk first and let it sit, it sort of sets in all the wrong ways and doesn’t really pour out.

    You want your coffee ready, and in the mug, before you start frothing the milk so that as soon as it’s finished you can pour in the milk.

    If you need to, it might be worth preheating your mugs with hot water so that the coffee stays piping hot. Just remember to tip the water out again before you add the coffee!

    Don’t make the mistake I did on a particularly sleepy morning with my French Press, coffee poured in on top of the water, what a waste.

    What Are The Differences Between Instant Coffee And Ground Coffee? (Lots Of Processing)

    F.A.Q

    Can you use instant coffee?

    Yes! You can indeed use instant coffee, just use half the amount of water so that the coffee is made a little stronger.

    It’s not the tastiest compared to using fresh coffee but it does work.

    Can you make it iced?

    Absolutely, it’s even easier to make ice because you don’t have to froth the milk, just pour the coffee over ice and pour cold milk in after it.

    You can even add a little whipped cream on top to class it up a little.

    How many calories does a latte have?

    It depends on how much milk you use, and what milk you use, but for reference, a tall Starbucks Latte has about 150 calories in it.

    Final Thoughts

    And there you have it! In 3 simple steps, you can start enjoying Cafe lattes at home. I know I was surprised by how easy it was which is why I make them fresh every morning.

    And if you try this recipe then please let me know how you get on in the comments below.

    Kieran MacRae tried getting into wine but didn't like it, tried getting into whiskey and it was too expensive, then thought "I really love coffee. I wonder if you can get really into coffee?" Turns out you can!