How to make a latté at home without an espresso machine.

How to make a latté at home without an espresso machine.

As of today, there are 987 posts in the MMD archives. According to my highly unscientific calculations, this is the #1 post that I hear “it changed my life!” about.

It’s about coffee.

I completely understand, because it happened to me.

Years ago—maybe five or six—I gave Will an Aeropress for Christmas: a new-to-market espresso machine that only cost $25 and Cooks Illustrated heartily endorsed. I was skeptical, but it was $25. I gave it a shot.

From the first lattés we made on Christmas morning, we were hooked. It changed the way we made coffee, and we make coffee every single day.

aeropress

(Lucy in the car yesterday: “Mom, when I grow up I’m going to homeschool my kids, read big books, and drink coffee. Just like you.“)

I didn’t do many lattés for a couple of years (Whole 30 and aftermath), and I still do a simple pour over for my first cup of the day. But lately I’ve gotten back in the habit of homemade afternoon lattés. When I posted this on instagram recently, you all asked what kind of espresso machine I used.

I’m still using our original Aeropress, and it’s still going strong after thousands of uses. That just might be the best twenty five bucks I’ve ever spent.

homemade latte

(When I first wrote about making lattés at home for Money Saving Mom, we didn’t have a conventional espresso machine. Now we do—it’s a hand-me-down Breville Roma—but we don’t use it. It makes great espresso, but it’s heavy and loud and takes up a ton of counter space. But the Aeropress’s footprint is tiny: it’s so small we travel with it.)

I wanted to sing Aeropress’s praises once again, especially since Christmas is coming. It’s such a terrific and affordable gift. But we’ve also changed a few things about how we make coffee in the last few years, and I wanted to update you on everything I’ve learned since that post was published over three years ago.

First, we’ve become scale people in the kitchen, and now measure our coffee by weight, not volume. (This is the scale we use.) I’ve provided both measurements here.

homemade latte 4

One morning I accidentally frothed my milk before I heated it up, and was surprised at how much better the milk frothed. I now froth my cold milk while I grind my coffee, and then heat it in the microwave while I make the espresso.

(If you don’t use a microwave, your latté will still be terrific. Just heat the milk before frothing.)

And finally, we now keep a high-powered blender on the counter. Many of you have asked if the blender does a satisfactory job of frothing the milk. The answer is a resounding YES: a high-powered blender does an excellent job. 

homemade latte 2

Here’s how to make a latté at home: 

This recipe makes a 12 ounce latté.

  1. Aerobie Aeropress (the package comes with the press, filters, scoop, and stirrer)
  2. Finely ground coffee.
  3. Milk or half-and-half (for a brevé)
  4. Coffee mug
  5. Small cup for brewing espresso
  6. Frothing tool (whisk, aerolatte, or blender)

1. Set up the Aeropress according to directions. (Easy.)

2. Put 2 scoops (30 grams) of coffee into the chamber.

3. Froth the milk. I use an aerolatte to froth the milk right in my mug. You can froth the milk in your blender (30 seconds or so on high) and pour gently into the mug, using a spoon to hold back the foam. Then carefully spoon the foam onto the top of the milk’s surface.

There are 2 manual ways to froth the milk: hold a small whisk tightly between your palms and twirl it back and forth for 30 seconds, OR pour the milk into a jar with a tight seal and shake vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Heat milk to desired temperature. (I aim for 140°, which takes 60 seconds in my microwave.)

5. Heat 4 ounces of water to 175 degrees (just off the boil). (This takes 45 seconds in my microwave. These days, I use this kettle, which was my self-serving gift to Will for Christmas last year.)

6. Pour hot water over coffee and stir for ten seconds.

7. Wet the seal on the plunger and insert it into chamber. Press down gently, and press steadily until fully depressed. (My plunger usually doesn’t budge for the first 20 seconds. That’s normal.)

8. Gently pour your espresso into your hot frothed milk.

Hints:

• you aren’t going to get any beautiful latté art with this homemade version, fabulous as it may taste. A sprinkle of cinnamon will make your coffee look prettier.

• wash off your Aeropress filter and reuse it. I use mine twice, then discard.

homemade latte 3

To make an americano: Brew espresso as directed above. Add 8 ounces hot water (or as desired).

To make a long black: This is my favorite strong coffee drink for Whole 30 season. Brew espresso as directed. Add an equal amount of hot water. (I love this with a little bit of heavy cream. Not Whole 30-approved, obviously)

I’d love to hear your favorite home coffee tips and tricks in comments. And if you have any experience with the Aeropress, please tell us all about it. 

How to make a latte at home without an espresso machine | Modern Mrs Darcy

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41 comments

  1. Susan says:

    A friend gave me her Nespresso machine (very basic) when she left Zurich to return to the States. It changed my life.

    Before that I used a Bialleti (pretty sure I’m spelling that incorrectly). It’s been that long since I’ve gazed upon it.

    I make lattes on weekends, warming the milk on the stove, then frothing with my Bodum frother. We are old school – no microwave in our Munich flat.

    I’m sure your gizmo is great – but don’t underestimate the fabulous espresso that is produced by a Nespresso machine. Even the no-frills machines run for years and make quick work of a morning fix.

  2. Melodee says:

    I don’t drink coffee any more (mostly thanks to your “discover your caffeine personality” post. Once I started paying attention, I realized how awful it made me feel). But I used to love my aeropress, and now I’ve gotten my husband hooked. He works on a ship for a couple months at a time, and I gave him both an aeropress and an electric kettle for the ship and he says it has greatly improved his quality of life on board!

  3. Kristin says:

    I got one of these (thanks to you) for Christmas last year. I love my lattes and don’t have the money or the counter space for a big machine. I couldn’t be happier with the Aeropress. My mid-morning latte has become a much loved ritual. I have found that I like my milk hotter than they/you recommend–about 2 min in the microwave. I will try foaming before heating it today. Thanks for the tip.

    • Shannon says:

      One question though – what kind of grinder do you use for the beans? I have one that dates from way back in college and might upgrade that in this morning coffee gift set.

    • Anne says:

      That’s exactly how I ended up buying one for Will. He’s so hard to shop for, and I was happy to find anything that sounded up his alley! It definitely ended up being self-serving, but we were both okay with that. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      You don’t have to be sorry! With coffee I think it’s important to find what YOU like (and what your system can handle!) Thanks for sharing your method. 🙂

  4. Patricia says:

    The Aeropress and Aerolatte were Christmas presents to myself last year based on your post. Thank you SO much. I absolutely love making my own lattes and would definitely recommend these products.

  5. Cathy says:

    Anne, because of your post, I asked for (and received) the AeroPress and frother last year for Mother’s Day…best gift I’ve gotten since Santa brought me a much-coveted Barbie camper in 1971! Even though we haven’t actually met, I think of you every morning when I’m making myself a fabulous latte!

  6. Karlyne says:

    So, is the Aeropress basically a French Press with a filter? And, by the way, have you ever made Turkish coffee? I do that once in awhile in the afternoon, but not often, because I do put raw, organic sugar in it, and I rarely use sugar! But if you’re looking for an amazing taste…

    • Anne says:

      I’ve never made Turkish coffee, but I’d love to try it!

      As for the Aeropress, it differs from the French Press because it relies on a vacuum seal to make the espresso. It’s pretty nifty. 🙂

  7. Emily says:

    This is not for coffee purists out there, but I like adding cinnamon to my grounds and then pouring on my hot water. There is a lovely warmth to the brew, and it is not bitter at all (which is what I find happens when I add cinnamon afterwards).

    • Anne says:

      I just use a small teacup for mine. It’s part of a normal place setting. If I didn’t have a small teacup, I could use my regular coffee mug with no problem.

    • Amanda says:

      I just noticed that my Starbucks has tiny, 3 oz. espresso mugs. $7, I think. I think they’re just for the holidays, but it might be a place for you to look.

  8. Jamie says:

    Thanks for these tips! We love our Aeropress…some friends gave it to us as a going away present when THEY moved away (which is backwards, but we adore them for it). There’s no bitter aftertaste with it. (I’m drinking decaf pressed from it right now.) I have no tips, but wanted to help you sing its praises.

  9. Ashley says:

    What’s your favorite brand(s) of coffee? I don’t mind if it isn’t something you can find in a store – we’re always looking for a new favorite, so I love to hear what other people like. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      I have a favorite local roaster in Louisville (Sunergos!) but when it’s not farmers’ market season I usually make do with what I find at the grocery store. Right now it’s Counter Culture’s farmhouse decaf because it was on sale. 🙂

  10. Kara says:

    I bought my aeropress about three years ago when my second child was a baby and I finally gave into realizing I was drinking coffee way too often to be buying it from coffee shops. I have started making mine using the aeropress inverted – have you tried that? It really improves the crema and taste I think.

  11. Angela says:

    I have never heard of the Aeropress until I read this post earlier this week and now I want it. Then, I see it on last night’s episode of Covert Affairs! It’s a sign, I tell you!

  12. Hannah Scott says:

    I’ve got a birthday coming up, and now I know what to ask for! I love espresso, but I just can’t stomach the cost of fancy coffee shops these days. This looks like a major budget saver!

  13. Danielle says:

    Because of your post I received an Aeropress for Christmas! Just made my first latte–yummy! Wondering how much milk you froth and heat for your lattes, though. Is it 8oz of milk + 4oz of espresso? Also, do you ever use flavors and when would you add them?

    • Anne says:

      I usually use 6 ounces milk, but I like mine strong. 🙂 8 oz milk is standard for a 12 ounce latté (a Starbucks grandé), plus two shots of espresso (1.5 ounces per shot, so 3 ounces). For a latté add the flavor into the milk before frothing.

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