To start the day with a little Italian finesse, you can easily prepare caffe latte at home, and you don’t need specialist brewing or foaming equipment to release your inner barista. You can produce the all-important foam for a fraction of the cost of a coffee-shop take-out.
Brew a pot of fine-ground espresso coffee in either a French press, which uses a plunger to compress grounds steeped in boiling water, or on a stovetop moka pot, which forces the boiling water through tightly packed coffee.
Heat 2 to 3 cups of milk on the stove in a pan, whisking continually to prevent burning and to build a respectable foam.
Pour the espresso into a tall coffee cup, and add the milk. The classic ratio for an authentic latte is 1/3 espresso to 2/3 milk.
Spoon the foam onto the top of the cup and smooth it out. Dust with powdered cinnamon for decoration or add sugar according to taste.
Pour the cold milk into a jar with a plastic lid, filling it halfway at most, so as to leave plenty of room.
Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for up to a minute to create a foam.
Microwave the jar with the lid on for 30 seconds on full power. Remove the lid and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. The milk will heat up, and the steam will stabilize the foam and stop it from collapsing.
Pour the milk into a cup filled a third of the way with freshly brewed espresso and top it off with foam.
Two-percent or non-fat milk gives the best results, since it typically contains more whey proteins, which create a more stable foam.
Transfer the hot, whisked milk from the pan into a blender or food processor, attach the lid, and pulse gently until the foam volume increases, taking care not to overfill the blender beyond halfway to avoid an escape of hot milk.
Perk up a latte by adding flavored syrups, such as hazelnut or caramel, to the milk before heating.
Do not place a jar with a metal lid in the microwave, and be careful when handling the jar from the microwave as it will be very hot; steam will escape when you remove the lid.
Take care to hold the pan handle when whisking the hot milk in case you accidentally knock it off the stovetop.