How to Make Cafe Latte Barista Style at Home

Cafe latte isn’t just a café exclusive treat to get from a fancy coffee shop. You can whip it up in the comfort of your kitchen and make it according to how you like. Creamier, frothier, or tastier? No problem at all. The best thing is it comes at a fraction of the price of what you’d normally pay to your favorite barista. 

Two tall mugs of cafe lattes with whipped cream and a yellow orchid at the bottom of the glasses.

The Delightful Cafe Latte

Among coffee drink varieties, the cafe latte, a blend of espresso and milk, is one of the most popular. It has the mildest coffee flavor with more milk in it, making it a delicious creamy drink with a hint of espresso. 

A typical latte comprises one or two shots of espresso, and mixed with steamed milk and topped with a silky foam layer. You can have it as a hot or cold brew. So, it’s an all-year-round type of coffee drink you can enjoy regardless of the season of the year.

Two glasses of cafe latte topped with whipped cream and an orchid.
Photo Credit: Belchonock – Deposit Photos.

While your favorite barista often adds artistic flair, my focus here is on simplicity and taste.

After testing many different brands available in the groceries where I live, I find that the quality of your cafe latte depends on your chosen ingredients. The better coffee beans or ground coffee and milk you use, the better the taste of your latte. 

Once you find the one you like, I suggest you stick with it. I won’t be surprised if your homemade cafe latte is way better than the one you get from the coffee shop. 

The World of Coffee

Before you start brewing, first, get to know what type of coffee you like, and will like to explore. Because each type offers different deliciousness to our caffeine drink.

There are three main types of coffee beans in the world: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. With the first two are the most well-known coffee beans with the highest consumption rate in the world, leaving Liberica about 2% market only. 

When it comes to taste, Arabica which reigns supreme in popularity, has a milder, sweeter, and fruitier taste compared to Robusta. Originating in 15th-century Ethiopia, this coffee bean has stood the test of time. 

As for the runner-up, Robusta, the bean has a sharper, bitter, strong, and woody taste with the most caffeine content. This bean is also the cheapest of all, so don’t be surprised that it is the most used type of coffee bean in most commercial cafés or coffee shops.

Lastly, Liberica has a mix of floral, nutty, and woody smooth taste with a hint of dark chocolate in it. This bean is the most expensive bean and rarest than the other two.

>>> Fun Fact: The most expensive coffee beans in the world involve animal digestive systems. Black Ivory coffee from northern Thailand comes from the poo of high-altitude Arabica cherries eating elephants, and its price tag is around $2,500 per kg. The second place is Kopi Luwak from western Indonesia at the price of $1,300 per kg; these coffee beans are yielded from the digestive tract of tropical civet cats. <<<

Coffee’s appeal doesn’t stop at taste; it’s also packed with health benefits. With over 400 billion cups consumed globally each year, coffee’s popularity is undeniable. So, are you among them?

Why Home-Brewed Latte is Way Better

  • Economical:  You will get more for your money by making your favorite drink at home. Though you may have to pay more when you buy the ingredients, you can make lots of cups of lattes from them. Saving your money in the end. 
  • Make it your way: The best thing about latte made at home is that you can make it suit you—everything from the coffee bean you prefer to the milk and any added extras you want to add.
  • Get fussy, get fancy: You can get creative with your recipes and experiment quickly. You know how you like your coffee, so it will always be yours.
  • Stay cozy: A steaming cuppa can be available anytime you want. Are you just rolling out of bed? No problem, head straight to the kitchen and get brewing.
Two glasses of cafe lattes garnished with whipped cream with a yellow orchid at the bottom of the glasses.
Photo Credit: Belchonock – Deposit Photos.

Essential Ingredients for a Coffee Latte

  • Ground Coffee or Coffee Beans: Choose medium grind for cafetiere or drip coffee, and fine grind for espresso machines. You can also use instant coffee.
  • Milk: Whole milk is a classic choice, but you can always use semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk. If you prefer plant-based milk, oat or almond milk are favorite choices.
  • Ice: Necessary if you’re making an iced latte.
  • Optional Syrup/ Flavoring /Whipped Cream: – Some popular extras include vanilla, salted caramel, hazelnut, etc.

Equipment Needed

  • Cafetiere or Espresso Machine: The cafetiere, or French press is the most affordable, accessible, and simple to use. But if you have an espresso machine, you’re lucky as most have added features such as frother. 

I used to have an entry-level of coffee machine, but when it gave up on me, I didn’t buy a replacement because I could not decide which one to get. So, I’ve been using my French press and an electric frother since instead. It has been fine, and I still have my delightful latte or delicious cappuccino every day. 

If you’re in the same boat, having no fancy espresso maker, just use a French press to brew your coffee like this one I have. 

  • Milk Pan: Works great on the stovetop to heat the milk gently.
  • Frother: You can use the wand-like frother with a battery in it, or you can use an electric frother to get that perfect froth. But, if you have an espresso machine, sometimes a frothing attachment comes as a set. 

If you don’t have a coffee machine and use a cafetiere, I recommend you get a frother. I have this simple battery-operated frother, and this electric frother. The latter works as a milk warmer too. It’s so easy to use, and it’s not pricey. 

  • Favorite Mug and Spoon. 

How to Make This Cafe Latte Recipe

Making a cafe latte at home is simple. Just remember the basic rule is you use 1-2 shots of espresso which is about 1-2 fl. oz. and add 2-3 times as much steamed milk.

For a more milkier latte, use 1 shot of espresso with 3 shots of milk. For a stronger coffee taste, put 2 shots of espresso with 3 shots of milk. 

If you have a coffee machine, you can follow its instructions on how to make one or two shots of espresso. Then, if it has the frothing feature, you can prepare your milk about 2-3 shots.  

For making a cafe latte using a French press, you start with boiling water, add a scoop of your favorite coffee in your cafetier, and pour in the boiled water. Put the lid on, but DO NOT push the plunger down. We must let the coffee brew for approximately 4 minutes for the best taste. Any longer, and it may become too bitter. If you do any less, you may have a weak cup.  

While brewing, heat your milk using a stove or electric frother. If you warm your milk in a saucepan over the stove, use the battery-operated frothing wand to stir the warm milk until it frothed.

Once your coffee has brewed for the right amount of time, press the plunger down gently to gather all the coffee grounds to the bottom of your cafetiere. Do this slowly to stop the coffee from getting into your cafetiere cup. 

Pour the coffee into your mug, and add the milk slowly as you push the foam back with a spoon. Then, scoop the foam to top your latte. There you have it—a pro coffee latte. 

Personalization and Variations

  • Milk Choices: Go dairy-free with plant-based milk like almond, oat, soy, or coconut.
  • Coffee Selection: Choose between grinding your beans or using pre-ground coffee infused with various flavors like vanilla, caramel, chocolate, berries, etc.
  • Extra Indulgences: Add whipped cream or syrups for a sweeter, more luxurious treat. This is an excellent option for enjoying a cup with friends and family. 

The Joy of Home-Brewed Cafe Latte

Your bank account will thank you once you start making delicious cafe lattes at home. Keep it simple with this easy-to-follow recipe, or add your spin on it with yummy, sweet extras. No matter how you like your latte, you are guaranteed to say goodbye to your local barista.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much coffee to milk ratio should you use?

Latte is typically a milky coffee, so the ratio of espresso to coffee is usually 1:4 or 1:3. 

What is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

Mainly the amount of milk. In a latte, there tends to be more steamed milk with a little froth. As for Cappucino, the coffee, milk, and foam have an equal ratio of 1:1. So, it will be one shot of coffee with two shots of steamed milk in which half of it is froth. 

Can you use instant coffee to make a latte?

Absolutely! Make your instant coffee as usual to make the espresso shot, and add your heated milk and froth as described above.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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