If you love the creamy taste and the smooth, foamy texture of steamed milk in your coffee in the morning, then you’re certainly not alone, with the latte being the most popular coffee drink in America. The good news is that if your liking for a latte is setting you back far too much going to your local coffee shop to buy one on a daily basis, it’s easier to make at home than you might think when you invest in a latte machine.
Whether you want a quick and easy way to make your latte in the morning by simply pressing a button or feel like putting your barista skills to the test by frothing the milk to add to your espresso yourself, today there are more options than ever before available when it comes to finding the perfect latte machine for your home. Here’s everything you need to know about using an espresso machine as the best latte machine.
How to Use an Espresso Machine
To make a latte at home, you’re going to need an espresso machine, since an espresso shot makes up the base of this milky coffee drink. An espresso machine is a coffee machine that makes lattes. If you have never made an espresso before, putting the perfect shot can seem more complicated than it actually is, but the good news is that making a smooth, rich espresso for your latte at home is actually a lot simpler than you might realize. For most espresso machines, all you will need to do is fill up the water reservoir to the fill line and turn the machine on to pre-heat. Then, take the portafilter and add the required amount of finely ground espresso coffee to the shot basket. Tamp it down using a tamper; this is a small device that is used to push the coffee grounds down so that they are packed into the shot basket evenly.
You use the tamper to squeeze the coffee grounds together, which results in an espresso shot that is perfectly extracted and well-balanced. Once you have done this, put the portafilter with the tamped coffee grounds back by locking it into the group head of the machine. You’ll usually need to turn or twist it slightly to lock it in. Then place your cup underneath the spout and press the button. If you’re using a semi-automatic machine, you’ll need to time the water dosage to get it right, while a fully automatic machine will do this for you.
The Main Benefits of Getting an Espresso Machine to Make Lattes
If you love lattes, then there are many different great reasons to consider investing in the best home latte machine for your home. Some of these include:
Better Lattes: While you can make espresso-like shots using different coffee maker methods like the Moka Pot, these are simply not as authentic in comparison to the shots that you will pull using a real espresso machine. When you have an espresso machine, this will enable you to make latte drinks that taste better, as the espresso will be exact.
Save Time and Enjoy More Convenience: Unlike other popular home coffee brewing methods like drip coffee, using the best latte maker is much faster and much more convenient. You can have your cup of coffee ready within seconds in the morning and serve your guests a cup of coffee much more quickly.
Save Money: While an espresso machine can be an expensive investment when you first buy it, if you think about all the lattes that you won’t buy from your favorite expensive coffee shop when you can make your own at home, it becomes clear that this can be a great way to save quite a lot of money over time.
More Variety: Compared to other popular at-home coffee making methods like drip coffee, an espresso machine offers much more variety. Unlike drip coffee which does not offer a lot of different things that you can do with it aside from adding milk or cream, espresso is the base of many different popular coffee drinks including Americanos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, mochas and more giving you the chance to easily practice making a large number of different drinks from the comfort of your own home.
Getting the Milk Right When Making a Latte
If a latte is your favorite choice of coffee drink, then you will probably know why it’s so important to get the milk froth just right when brewing this drink. But while it might seem like something that you need to be a skilled barista to do, making latte-quality milk is actually not as hard as it looks. To achieve the best milk for your latte, you are going to need:
The Right Milk Type: Use fresh, cold, full-fat milk to get the creamiest, richest froth for the best latte. While you can use skim milk if you prefer to, bear in mind that this will have a lighter result that does not have the same kind of thickness as other milks.
The Right Temperature: Getting a creamy texture is the main aim when frothing the milk for a latte, which requires that you increase the sweetness of the milk. Milk will be sweetest when it is heated to between 135-150 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep to this temperature and avoid going any higher since this will risk burning the milk.
Wand Position: Figuring out how to use a steam wand to get the milk for your latte just right can be tricky at first, but you can get it right faster when you know where and how the wand should be positioned. For most coffee machines and milk steamers, you should position the tip of the steam wand into the milk’s surface, just below it. If you go any lower, the milk will not get enough air to get the creamy, foamy texture that you need. Any higher, and there’ll be too much air causing your milk to go everywhere.
How to Make a Latte at Home
A latte is a coffee drink that is made using 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, with a smooth and velvety froth on the top. Filling one third of your cup with espresso coffee is the first step towards making the perfect latte. Then, have your steamed milk ready to pour over the coffee. To do this, fill a milk pitcher with a little more milk than you need to pour over the coffee, and place the steam wand just below the surface. You can use a thermometer to help you determine when the milk has reached the ideal temperature, although some fully automatic espresso machines will automatically shut off when this is reached. You need to make sure that all air bubbles are removed to get the perfect texture for your latte. You can do this by using quick, circular motions to spin the milk foam before tapping your pitcher gently but firmly a couple of times on a flat surface.
Can You Make a Latte without an Espresso Machine?
While it’s always best to use one of the top-rated latte machines to make the base for your latte if you want a rich, creamy drink, it is possible to make a latte at home without an espresso machine. All you need is a microwave, a mason jar, and some brewed coffee. Fill one third of your mason jar with milk and seal it tightly, before shaking it up and down to froth the milk until it has doubled in size. Then, take the lid off and place the mason jar in your microwave to heat it for around 35-40 seconds. The foam should rise to near the top, but don’t allow it to bubble over. Then, pour your brewed coffee into one third of your cup, and pour your frothy, warm milk over the top.
Maintaining and Cleaning Your Latte Espresso Machine
If you decide to invest in an espresso machine that is the best latte macchiato machine to make latte drinks at home, then it’s important to keep up with cleaning and maintenance to make sure that not only does your espresso machine stay in great condition, but every coffee you make with it is good quality. Even when you’re using the best-quality beans, gunk from a dirty espresso machine can seriously impact the taste of your coffee. The path of coffee extraction needs to be perfectly clean to achieve a rich, flavorful taste for your espresso, which usually means daily cleaning. To keep up with espresso machine maintenance, do the following after using your machine every day:
- Remove the portafilter and basket from the machine and scrub them using a nylon brush to clean away any leftover coffee. Rinse the parts with hot water and pat them dry.
- Using your nylon brush, clean the gasket. Rinse away any leftover coffee grounds by running water through the machine. Use a dry towel to wipe dry.
- Check the underside of the group head and remove the screen if possible. Wash it thoroughly and clean the interior.
- Cover the steam wand with a damp towel and turn it on carefully for a few seconds to sanitize it.
If you like making lattes at home, there are tons of options available when it comes to machines that will do this. Your best option is an espresso machine with a steam wand for making the perfect milk.