Lattes are the ‘comfort food’ of the beverage world. They are warm, silky, aromatic, and help anyone feel recharged and ready to take on their daily tasks. In the wintertime especially, our energy levels plummet, and we need a coffee fix to make it the day. Learning to make a good latte can make a huge difference in keeping you comforted and revitalized.
Lattes are light and airy espresso-based drinks with froth milk on top. With a mix of milk and foam to the espresso, lattes are relatively mild in flavor and smoother in comparison to black coffee drinks.
The Golden Latte Ratio
One of the key aspects of a perfect latte is keeping the mix ratio on point. A traditional latte has about 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso. To achieve the ideal ratio, measure the correct weight of coffee grinds. A good starting point is at least 30 gms of coffee grind with a speed flow of 30 seconds.
Remember that the finer you grind your beans, the slower the espresso shot will pour. The thicker you grind your beans, the faster the espresso shot will pour. The espresso shot will be the core flavour of the coffee.
Use Excellent Coffee Quality
If you are a beginner in the coffee world, each coffee bean variety has its own flavour and mouthfeel. You can mix coffee beans to craft a blend that utilises the best of different aspects of each bean. You can also keep them separate to create a single origin that showcases the true and pure flavour of a specific variety.
A local roaster can recommend a good grind size for your espresso. Depending on the type of bean and the roasting method, they may have a specific suggestion. If possible, use just-ground coffee as pre-ground coffee tends to lose its flavour and aroma over time.
While the quality and freshness of your beans are important, it is also vital you grind the beans just prior to making your latte. Once the coffee is ground, it will oxidise and begin to lose its flavour.
If you want to really get into the world of coffee tasting, master the art of choosing beans. Your coffee source matters, and it will make or break a good latte.
Froth but Do Not Over Froth
Coffee and milk go together like bread and butter. The notion of mixing these two has been around for many years.
With most of your latte being milk, the type of milk you use will have a significant effect on the overall flavour. Although whole milk gives the richest taste, you can also use alternative types. Use skimmed, semi-skimmed, long-life milk, soy milk – all of these work with coffee.
However, if you’ve made a plant-based latte before, you will agree that it is much harder than whole fat milk.
Our personal recommendation is to use organic whole milk to make it easy to froth + delicious to drink. The frothing process is made easy if you have a frothing machine.
If that’s unavailable, you can be more old school about it. First, you will need a metal milk-frothing pitcher and a normal whisk or a handheld electric milk frother. It is a metal stick with a tiny whisk at the end that wiggles back and forth. If you are using a normal whisk, it has to be small enough to fit inside the metal pitcher. Do not foam the milk too much. There should be a nice thin layer of foam on top, about a centimetre or so, depending on one’s preference.
How to Make the Best Latte
Everything you need to make the perfect latte you can find below. Just make sure to read through the list of tools and ingredients before starting to ensure that you have everything on hand.
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 to 4 teaspoon of granulated sugar or other sweetener depending on your preference
- 2 double-espresso-style capsules, or 4 espresso-style capsules, or 2/3 cup espresso
- Espresso machine (if available)
- Frothing machine with a normal whisk, or hand-held electric milk frother
- Metal milk-frothing pitcher (only if you are using a whisk or hand-held manual frother)
- Food + heat-safe thermometer (only with a whisk or hand-held frother)
Below are a classic latte recipe and instructions to teach you how to make one perfectly.
- Begin by steaming and frothing the milk. If you are using a milk frothing machine, add the milk and sugar together and push the start button. Set aside.
- To do it manually using a metal milk-frothing pitcher, pour the milk and sugar into the metal pitcher. Then, place it on the stovetop over medium heat until it reaches 60 to 70 degrees Celcius. Stir it every 30 minutes or so. After that, remove the pitcher from the heat. If you are using a normal whisk, it has to fit inside the metal pitcher.
- Place the normal whisk in the pitcher, then clap your hands flat together on either side of the handle. Rub them back and forth (warming hands position) to spin the whisk around. Slowly, the foam will form and build upon the top. If you’re using a hand-held electric frother, dip the whisk end of the frother into the milk and turn it on. Keep frothing until a layer of foam forms on top of about 2 centimetres thick. An additional tip is to make sure to turn off your frother before removing it from the milk. Otherwise, it will flick and scatter drops of milk everywhere.
- Evenly distribute your milk and foam using two heat-safe serving glasses. Place one glass on your machine, and follow the machine instructions on how to make a double-espresso-style capsule. If you only have single-espresso-style capsules, run it twice with the machine. In the end, you will have a double espresso in the latte. Repeat the process with the second cup. Serve and enjoy immediately.
Of all the coffee options, making latte may seem a little daunting, especially if you don’t have formal barista training. We recommend enrolling in a barista basic course or barista pro if you want to make latte your signature coffee drink.