How to Make the Perfect Latte at Home

The King and Queens of Caffeine

For coffee addicts and latte lovers alike, people turn to this beverage for its abundance of flavors, Instagram-worthiness, and most importantly for its effects. But for coffee enthusiast Noelia Morillo, 19, of Baldwin, NY, coffee is not just a beverage… it is a lifestyle.

Morillo, who drinks approximately one to three cups of coffee a day, admits her tight-knit relationship with caffeine.“My relationship with coffee I would say is very strong. I really enjoy it and it gives me the energy I need when going through exam reviews, working, or anything really. It is essential for my everyday life.”

Gerard Boniello, 21, a student at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, drinks coffee Monday through Friday but limits himself to one cup a day.“I give myself a break over the weekend,” he says. Between classes and a job, coffee helps Boniello get through the day. “There is always coffee you can get on campus and we always have a pot of coffee brewed at work.”

When it comes to lattes, Morillo prefers the crème brûlée latte from Starbucks. But her idea of a perfect latte is simply a vanilla latte that is really light and sweet. “I haven’t found the perfect latte yet, but hopefully one day,” she says, “I would be beyond excited to learn how to make one at home. It would be life changing for me.”

Meghan Walia, 20, of Binghamton New York, feels just as excited about learning how to make a latte with just the right amount of espresso at home. “My idea of a perfect latte is one where I can still taste the espresso. Some lattes tend to be a little too milky, and taste like warm milk rather than a caffeinated beverage.”

So, who wouldn't want to spice up their morning routine with the perfect latte? Lattes are far from your average cup of joe, hence why it is much pricier. Not only are lattes delicious, but artsy as well. Therefore, having the steps and tips to make the perfect latte in the comfort of your own home from expert baristas will allow for students like Boniello, Morillo, and Walia to save their pocket cash and enjoy a fancy beverage just as good or even better than their local coffee shop.


What is a Latte?

According to *Barista Betty, of the coffeehouse Witch’s Brew, located in West Hempstead, NY, a latte consists of two-thirds of espresso and one-third of steamed milk with a layer of foam on the top. Basically, it is a fancier version of coffee.

Barista Betty, who choose to use a pseudonym as to not offend other baristas with her personal tips and tricks, says, “Hazelnut complements espresso very well. Just about any nut flavor will complement espresso.”

However, while lattes are quite popular, they are not for everyone. Boniello says, “I’m not a latte fan usually, but like once a year I’ll grab a caramel latte.” Barista Betty encourages people to be experimental with other coffee beverages such as “cappuccinos, and a variety of macchiatos.”


How to Make the Perfect Latte

Gabriela Bernabe, 21, a Starbucks Barista from Staten Island, NY, weighs in on the steps it takes to make the “perfect” latte. She says a latte doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. You’ll need milk, espresso and any syrup of your choice to add flavor.The key to making the “perfect” latte however is the ability to steam the milk just right. Bernabe says if you do not have a machine to do the work for you, you can steam the milk over the stove at about “medium heat until the milk bubbles just a bit but for no more than 10 minutes. If you steam the milk for more than that, there will be an excess amount of foam and instead of a latte, the finished product will look more like a cappuccino.” She also recommends to blend both the shots of espresso and the syrup together, while adding a small amount of the steamed milk to the mix so the syrup doesn’t collect at the bottom of the cup. No one wants a mouthful of syrup when you take your first sip, especially since it’s mostly sugar.

When it comes to making the “perfect” latte for her friends, Barista Betty suggests to cup the steamer with your hands to feel its temperature before serving. “Make sure the steamer feels hot enough in your hands, but not hot enough to burn you,” she says, “if the steamer is not burning your hands, it will not burn your tongue.” It all comes down to the ratio between the espresso and the milk when it comes to making the perfect latte. “Sometimes people feel that more espresso is better, but this is not necessarily so,” she says. At the Witches Brew, Barista Betty says one shot of espresso is used within their lattes while Starbucks uses two shots with more milk.


Latte Art

Bernabe also gives her insight about the importance of a beverage and its appearance to the customers. “No one wants a drink that looks ugly… appearance is everything.” Latte art is just one of the ways to enhance the appearance of your drink. There are three types of latte art: the heart, the flat white, and the rosetta. Bernabe suggests that once you master the art of making a simple latte, get creative with your beverage. “It is all about the steaming of the milk and making sure the shots of espresso do not expire,” Bernabe says. The key to making successful latte art is that the milk has to be steamed to the point where there is little to no foam at the top. “It’s all about how you pour the steamed milk. Tilt your cup at less than a 45-degree angle and pour gradually.” When it comes to making a flat white design, you have to pour very slowly and start pouring the steamed milk from up high. Bernabe says, “Pour straight up since the stream of milk has to be thin as a pencil and once the middle of the cup becomes full, slowly start to bring it down to make the dot of the flat white.” Helpful tip: Latte art is harder to do with a bigger cup or mug so opt for a smaller cup or mug instead.  

Now that the secret of how to make the “perfect” latte at home has been revealed, students like Boniello, Morillo, and Walia, the king and queens of caffeine, can impress their friends with delicious lattes while saving their dough at the same time. So be creative with your latte beverage and most importantly get your caffeine kick on… you are going to need it.