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.
(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.
(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.
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.
Here’s how to make a latté at home:
This recipe makes a 12 ounce latté.
- Aerobie Aeropress (the package comes with the press, filters, scoop, and stirrer)
- Finely ground coffee.
- Milk or half-and-half (for a brevé)
- Coffee mug
- Small cup for brewing espresso
- 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.
• 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.
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.