It’s 6:00 a.m., and your latte is calling. Wouldn’t it be nice to answer that call from the comfort of your own kitchen?
Who wants to sit and wait in that long line at the drive-through for their first, delicious, steamy, life-giving latte?
Show of hands?
I’ll wait……..me, neither! You can start your day with a satisfying foamy sip while the family is still snuggled in bed. It only takes a little bit of effort and a few helpful tools.
Be Your Own Barista
You’ll start with a few key ingredients – water, espresso, milk/milk substitute, a latte machine, and a milk frother.
A latte machine is different than a coffee maker. This requires a special espresso grind. You can usually get it at the grocery store. If not, buy it online or grind from whole beans at home. Grinding your own will require a coffee grinder. The aroma and taste of that freshly ground espresso makes the little bit of extra effort worth it!
After making your espresso with the best espresso machines, you’ll need to break out your barista skills. It’s important to make the right amount of steamed milk and foam for your latte. A perfect latte is one part espresso, four parts steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam. Once you’ve mastered the formula, have fun creating your own latte art!
The most important part of making the perfect latte is choosing from the numerous latte machines on the market. You can choose from semi- or super-automatic machines.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most popular home option. They make lattes like your favorite coffee shop brew. You’ll start by adding water to the latte machine. Next, fill and tamp the espresso into the portafilter by using a tamper to press the espresso down into the filter. This makes it more difficult for the water to travel through the espresso. This causes more of the oils that make that latte so good to be extracted from the beans into your anxiously awaiting cup. Next, attach the filter, and hit the power button.
In seconds, you’ll have a lovely, hot shot of espresso. Semi-automatic latte machines might be a little more work, but they’re the least expensive option and make a great latte.
Does using a semi-automatic latte machine sounds like a little too much work before having your first latte? Then let a super-automatic machine do all of the work for you. It’ll even grind the beans! These latte machines include a burr grinder to grind the beans. All you need to do is add water and push a button for your first cup of the morning. Many even include a self-cleaning milk-frother.
Making your latte at home can be quicker and easier than placing your order at the cafe. Although super convenient, these machines are a little harder to find. They tend to be on the pricier side. The extra cost could be worth it if you just can’t make your coffee before you’ve had your coffee.
Choosing the right latte machine
So now that you’ve decided to make your own lattes at home each morning, how do you decide on the right machine? A lot depends on level of skill and the amount of time and money you’re willing to spend to have an incredible latte at home whenever you like. Here are the pros and cons of semi- and super-automatic latte machines.
By giving the barista more control, semi-automatic machines make lattes like you’ll get in your favorite cafe. The barista has control over the grind and amount of the espresso. The quality is better, and each drink can be made to the drinker’s liking. These machines are also the most affordable.
The down side to semi-automatic latte machines is that they take more time and do require a bit of skill.
If you’re new to making your own lattes, despise kitchen tasks, or just don’t have any spare time in the morning, investing in a super-automatic latte machine might be for you. Other than occasionally dumping in some water and espresso, all you really need to do is press a button to get a decent latte. You might lose a bit of quality, but the convenience could be worth it.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Regardless of the latte machine that you choose, it will require some regular maintenance. Like regular coffee pots, eventually your latte machine will develop lime scale in the tank.
Some machines have water filters included. If not, you can choose to use filtered water when making lattes. However, the machine will still likely need to be cleaned by running some vinegar through it every month or so and wiping down the outside with a soft cloth and mild detergent.
Don’t forget the cups!
To take your lattes to the next level, serve them in the proper cappuccino cups. It’s the little extras that make your morning caffeine fix feel special.
With only a little extra effort, it’s easy to enjoy the reward of a luscious latte while in your pajamas in the comfort of your own kitchen.