My Favorite Latte recipe!
Ok, let’s keep it real. Lattes don’t exactly require a “recipe”…they are just a mix of brewed espresso and milk. Pretty easy, I know. But the thing is, I’d never really made them before our recent trip to Italy. Espresso, lattes, cappuccinos…these were just fancy, overpriced drinks I got on occasion, almost exclusively through the drive-through at Starbucks. I never really considered making them at home, because HELLO…who wants to pay $1000+ for an espresso machine?! Not this chick. That’s the equivalent cost of roughly 100 days in a hostel in Northern Thailand….
But then something spectacular happened. My husband took me to Italy to celebrate my birthday. (The trip was totally “travel-hacked!” We paid LESS than $500 for round trip tickets. I’ll have to post about that another time!)
And I started enjoying these amazing drinks breakfast, noon, snack, and night. Seriously. We always try to join in with the customs and especially food traditions of the area we were visiting, and noticed that most Italians enjoyed these delicious drinks throughout their day.
The thing is, the average Italian doesn’t own a fancy-pants (EXPENSIVE) espresso maker. They own something MUCH better. A Moka pot! The Moka pot works by forcing boiling water through ground beans via pressurized steam. While technically not espresso, this process results in a brew that is rich, dark, and has that delightful crema. You can pick up one of these pots for less than $20 bucks on Amazon. Another great thing to invest in…a milk frother. They are fairly cheap and make frothing up milk for your drink essentially effortless.
In a pinch, you can also use a whisk (beware: this requires a fair bit of arm strength) or even a glass mason jar. If you’re using a mason jar, just pour a bit of milk in it, TAKE THE METAL LID & RING off, and stick in the microwave for a 1 minute to heat the milk. Once it’s hot, put the metal ring/ lid back on, and just shake vigorously for a couple minutes, and voila! Frothy milk.
Moka pot tips:
In Italy, I learned that leaving the lid open doesn’t affect the cooking or the taste of the coffee, but shows you easily when it’s brewed. I also learned that you are never supposed to use soap or a harsh detergent to wash the pot, and just to rinse it with warm water when you’re finished. This keeps the coating of oil from the coffee beans on the pot and enhances the flavor. (Kind of like a cast iron pan)
Here is my super simple recipe for a homemade vanilla latte. Better than Starbucks. Adjust the milk to make it into the your beverage of choice (a cappuccino is equal parts espresso, milk, and foam).
Fill the bottom of your Moka pot with water. Loosely fill the metal filter with an espresso ground coffee. Screw them together, and set on your stove top.
While the coffee is brewing, fill a glass measuring cup with milk, and a few drops of vanilla. (I prefer Bourbon vanilla or really anything that is NOT imitation) I stick the glass cup in the microwave and heat the milk for 45 seconds- 1 minute.
Froth with frother (or a whisk, or mason jar).
Pour brewed coffee into cups, add vanilla milk and sugar if desired. Sit back and sip. Delicious!