Lattes are my ‘comfort food’ of the beverage world. They’re warm, silky, aromatic, and help me feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. In the wintertime especially, I find myself dragging my feet through the dark and dreary afternoon, energy levels plummeting, with many hours still left to enjoy the day and be a part of the world at large. Learning to make a really, really good latte in the comfort of my own home with my Nespresso virtuo machine has made a huge difference in helping me feel simultaneously revitalized and comforted when I usually start to feel groggy, and today I’m going to share everything I’ve learned about making the best latte at home.
The Golden Latte Ratio
One of the key aspects of an ideal latte is keeping the ratio on point—traditionally a latte has about 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso, and this is reflected in the recipe below. Of course, another huge factor in the tastiness of the latte is the quality of the espresso, which is why I recommend using Nespresso to make the perfect cup of coffee every time. They use sustainable coffee farming techniques, only use the highest-quality beans, their pods are made from aluminum which is 100% recyclable (not any scary plastics), and if you’re really interesting in the flavor profiles of coffee you can nerd out on their website for days learning everything about the flavor profiles of all the different coffee beans they use.
Use Excellent Coffee
If you’re unfamiliar with the world of coffee, each coffee bean variety bean has its own flavor and mouthfeel, and they can be mixed together to craft a blend that utilizes the best of different aspects of the beans, or kept separated to create a single origin that showcases the true and pure flavor of that specific variety. It’s kind of like wine making, like how you could get a bottle of wine made from 100% pinot noir grapes, or you could get a red blend that’s 40% cabernet sauvignon grapes and 60% pinot noir grapes. If you want to get really into the world of coffee tasting, you could try a tasting session at home. The last step, (the slurping part), is called “cupping” and if you do it right it can make a CRAZY loud sound (seriously, youtube “coffee cupping”.) But the main point is that your coffee source *matters*, and will make or break a good latte.
Froth But Don’t Over-Froth
The other component of a latte is of course the milk. I recommend using organic whole milk to make it easy to froth + delicious to drink. To froth the milk, you could make it easy and use a milk frothing machine like Nespresso’s aeroccino. But if you want to be more old school about it, you’ll need a metal milk-frothing pitcher (basically a very tiny pot) and either a normal whisk or a handheld electric milk frother, which is basically a metal stick with a tiny whisk at the end that wiggles really quickly back and forth. If you’re using a normal whisk, it has to be small enough to fit inside the metal pitcher. I go over frothing the milk in the recipe below, but ideally you shouldn’t foam the milk too much, there should just be a nice thin layer of foam on top, about 1/4 inch or so depending on personal preference.
That being said, a lot of the above has to do with personal preference, so if you love loads of froth feel free to add more to your latte. If you prefer a 50/50 ratio of milk to espresso, that’s ok too. Just because the ideal latte of barista’s has a thin layer of foam, doesn’t mean you can’t slide on a few extra spoonfuls of foam on top if you want to. At the end of the day, you want to make the best latte for you 🙂 I hope this recipe + these tips help bring you many comforting and delicious lattes throughout the rest of the winter + beyond!
How to Make the Best Latte at Home
Everything you need to make the perfect latte at home is below! Just make sure to read through the list of tools before you get started, to ensure that you have everything on hand.
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2-4 teaspoons granulated sugar or other sweetener depending on your sweetness preference
- 2 double-espresso-style Nespresso capsules, or 4 espresso-style Nespresso capsules, or 2/3 cup espresso
- Begin by steaming and frothing the milk. If you're using a milk frothing machine like Nespresso's aeroccino, just add the milk and sugar to it and push the button.
- To do it manually with a metal milk-frothing pitcher (basically a very tiny pot) and a normal whisk or handheld electric milk frother, pour the milk and sugar into the metal milk pitcher and place the pitcher on the stovetop over medium heat until it teaches 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring it every 30 seconds or so. Remove the pitcher from the heat. If you're using a normal whisk, it has to be small enough to fit inside the metal pitcher.
- Place the whisk in the pitcher and clap your hands flat together on either side of the handle. Rub them back and forth (like you would if you're warming your hands) to spin the whisk around. Slowly, foam will form on the top. If you're using a hand-held electric frother, submerge the whisk end of the frother into the milk, and turn it on. Froth until a layer of foam forms on top that's about 1/2-inch thick. (Hot tip, make sure to turn your frother off before removing it from the milk, otherwise it will flick drops of milk everywhere).
- Evenly distribute your milk and foam between 2 heat-safe serving glasses. Place one glass on your Nespresso machine's platform, and operate according to the machine's instructions with a double-espresso-style capsule. If you only have single-espresso-style capsules, run it twice with a new espresso capsule each time so that you end up with a double espresso in the latte. Repeat with the second cup. Serve and enjoy immediately.