If you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered at one point if your expensive latte habit is a little out of control and if you’d be better off making more of your coffee drinks at home instead of buying them at trendy coffee shops. You may even have gone as far as to look up a home espresso machine, only to be like, “nope!” once you saw the price tag. Fear not! We’ve got several ways you can make your own latte at home and for various prices, so you can find a method that fits your budget and needs! OK, first let’s talk about making your homemade espresso shots …
Home hack espresso: OK, so this method is pretty straightforward. Simply brew your coffee the “normal” way at home, either in your automatic drip coffee maker, or in a pour over method like a Chemex, but brew it double strong by increasing the coffee grind amount (or decreasing the water amount) so that you have a much stronger tasting coffee. You can also try a bolder flavor of coffee for this method as well if you usually buy a more mild flavor for your normal cup of joe—that will give your coffee “espresso” a more intense flavor. Since this method is a bit more experimental, you may need to play around a bit to find the right amount of grinds for your faux espresso. But start with doubling your grind amount and then back off or add more from there.
Basic method espresso: OK, so a great way to make espresso at home for a very reasonable price is by using a stovetop espresso maker like this Bialetti model. It comes in a variety of sizes so the advantage to this one is that, depending on the model, you can make between 1-12 servings of espresso at once. So the bigger sizes are great for larger families or gatherings. You basically add water to the bottom chamber, put coffee in the metal filter in the base, screw them onto the top and place onto a stovetop burner until the water boils. Once the water boils, your espresso comes flowing into the top chamber and voilà! Your espresso is ready! The only downside to this method is that you need to keep the lid open while the water is heating up and keep an eye on the pot until the espresso comes out, since you want to remove it from the heat immediately once it’s done. But, if you make the same amount on the same heat setting every day, you’ll know about how many minutes in it boils, so you’ll have an idea of when you need to be around to take it off.
Mini splurge espresso: So, did you know you can have a mini espresso machine that will travel with you as well as make your coffee at home? This MiniPresso machine will make you a single shot of espresso by adding boiling water into one end, your grinds into the other, and then you pump a button that pops out which forces the hot water through the grinds and out the other end (you can even use one of the caps as a cup on the go). While the travel feature of this machine is really cool, it’s also great for home because it’s so small and takes up way less room than an espresso machine would. In fact, you can just keep it in a drawer with your utensils and it takes up no counter space at all! I found this method makes the most “authentic” tasting espresso shot compared to a larger espresso machine of these three options. And while it’s a little more expensive, it’s still just over $50 and when you factor in your latte habit (plus tips) at your cool local coffee shop, well, it will pay for itself pretty quickly. The downside with this method is that it’s a one-at-a-time espresso shot, so it’s doable to make two in a row, but I wouldn’t suggest this if you want to have larger brunches and get everyone a latte efficiently …
Home hack frother: All you need for this hack method is a glass jar with a lid (like a mason jar). Warm the amount of milk you want to use on the stovetop or in the microwave and pour into the jar (you’ll want a size jar that’s no more than halfway full when you add your milk so you have room to create bubbles). Add the lid, and shake the jar for 30-60 seconds until you have warm milk on the bottom and a layer of foam on top! Pour your warm milk into your espresso shot, holding the foam back with a spoon as your pour and then scoop the foam on top of your latte. You’ll get some foam with this method, but not quite as much as the next methods and the foam will be larger bubbles visually.
Basic method frother: You’ll still have to warm the milk first in a different container for a handheld milk frother, but the milk will froth very quickly and you’ll get a tighter, more dense foam than with the jar-shaking method. It’s a pretty small device as well, so it would be easy to keep in a utensil drawer if you didn’t want it out on your counter on the stand.
Mini Splurge frother: If you want to handle all your milk needs in one step, try an handheld milk frother that will warm the milk for you and give you a thick, dense foam. It will also just steam the milk if you want to add it without much foam. Just press a button, no need to shake this one!
There’s definitely debate over which kind of beans are best for each coffee system and how coarse or fine the coffee should be ground, so I would do what the manufacturer recommends for each system and then experiment from there if you don’t like the results. So now that you know how to make your espresso and froth your milk, you may be wondering about the right way to put them together. If you want to make a latte, you use 1 part espresso and 3 parts milk, a cappuccino is 1 part espresso and 2 parts milk, and a macchiato is 2 parts espresso and 1 part milk. If you want to add some flavoring (like our homemade pumpkin spice syrup), add that to your espresso shot before pouring in your milk and scooping your foam on top.
Happy coffee making! xo. Laura