How to Make A Latte at Home Without an Espresso Machine

I typically only drink my coffee one of two ways – hot or cold. No sweetener, no cream; that stuff just detracts from all the dark, coffee goodness. But come fall, I will occasionally get the craving for a simple, vanilla latte – made with soy milk and an extra shot of espresso, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, the soy, vanilla, and extra shot of express make just a small latte at Starbucks over $5, which I refuse to pay out of principle. I think I will know that I’ve finally “arrived” when I order a coffee beverage that costs more than I spend on organic kale and I don’t even blink an eye. As of yet, I still feel like I’m being asked to hand over my firstborn. So, no matter how good they might sound, I tend to not order lattes.

However, this past weekend fall was in the air and I was sitting at home with the windows open and the sound of a gentle rain making everything feeling so dang perfect and I just had to have a vanilla latte. We do not own an espresso machine, but we do have a stovetop espresso maker that works wonderfully. The boys and I decided to experiment and I’m happy to say we came up with some pleasant results. I’ve detailed our process below with step by step instructions. You can decided how closely to follow these instructions. For example, Theo did not wear any pants as he swears that pants restrict his creative flow in the kitchen. I leave the pants or no pants debate up to your own discretion.

-First we got the espresso going on the stove top. (You could also just make super strong coffee, if you don’t have any form of espresso maker.)
-Then I warmed some soy milk and vanilla on the stove for my drink.
-When my milk was warm, I added it to a jar and shook it until the milk had doubled in volume and had a nice frothy top.
-For the boys, I tried a different method. I simply warmed their milk and vanilla on the stove and when it was heated through, I whisked it until frothy. This method was a little easier, but didn’t yield quite as much foam.
-We poured the espresso into our cups and topped with the milk. The results were delicious, homemade, and free!

*Note* If you like your lattes sweet, keep in mind that there is a difference between vanilla syrup like you get at Starbucks, and regular old vanilla. I happen to like mine unsweetened, but if you have a sweet tooth, I would add the sugar at the same time you add the vanilla and stir it in the saucepan so that it fully melts and incorporates.

How to Make A Latte at Home Without an Espresso Machine
The pants-less chef, coming soon to NBC.
Adding coffee to the espresso maker.
Adding coffee to the espresso maker.
Our stovetop espresso maker works like a percolator.
Our stovetop espresso maker works like a percolator.
Warming the milk and vanilla in a saucepan (on low heat, don't let the milk scorch!)
Warming the milk and vanilla in a saucepan (on low heat, don’t let the milk scorch!).
Pouring the warmed milk into a jar (use one that is at least double the size of the amount of milk you used.)
Pouring the warmed milk into a jar. (Use one that is at least double the size of the amount of milk you used.)
Shake the jar for at least 60 seconds, or until the milk has doubled in volume and has a nice, frothy top.
Shake the jar for at least 60 seconds, or until the milk has doubled in volume and has a nice, frothy top.
Add the espresso to your mugs.
Add the espresso to your mugs.
Top with milk.
Top with milk.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

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