Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cafe Latte- no expensive machine required.

So I was looking to get an espresso machine since Peter and I love coffee and love going out to get a latte or a mocha as a treat once in awhile. I was so excited about getting an espresso machine that I started researching recipes and techniques before we even got the thing! 
While I was searching the web, I came across a 'how to' page with step by step instructions on how to make homemade specialty drinks without an espresso machine! This led to more research and even YouTube videos teaching me how to do this. All I needed was a french press and a stovetop espresso brewer (both of which we already had!). If you don't have those, you can find them anywhere for around $10-20... a fraction of what an espresso machine would cost, plus a lot less storage space required (added value in our tiny little cottage).
I saved money and kitchen space and still have fresh, handmade specialty drinks in less than 5 minutes :)

I already love these drinks to begin with, but I love even more the rustic, 'pioneer' feeling of getting to make them by hand (well, plus the help of a couple gadgets- but even those pieces are classic, old fashioned tools that have been around since back in the day.)

Finely Ground Espresso Beans
Milk (I used nonfat, you can use any milk or cream that you desire)

Fun Flavored Options: 

  • Some vanilla extract & a little powdered sugar dissolved into the milk to make a vanilla latte
  • A couple tablespoons of French Vanilla flavored coffee creamer mixed into the milk to make a vanilla latte
  • Chocolate powder or syrup to make a mocha latte. 
  • Be creative! ...the possibilities are endless :)

First start your espresso on the stovetop, and set a timer to 5 minutes:

Then, fill your french press with desired amount of milk (I use about 1 cup milk for the 2 of us).
Microwave about 45 seconds to 1 minute until it is steaming and starts to froth slightly:

Load glass cylinder of steamed milk back into its french press handle. Place french press top into place. (I tilt my french press to increase the surface area of the milk while I pump it):

 Pump for about 15 seconds. This action forces air in between the protein molecules of the milk/cream, creating frothed milk. You can see how the original milk in this french press tripled in volume once I frothed it.
Steamed milk still remains in the bottom of the press, while the frothed milk sits on top:

By the time your milk is steamed and frothed, your espresso should be just about ready: 

 Fill glass half way with espresso. Then pour the steamed milk from the bottom of the french press into the espresso, and finish by pouring the frothed milk on top:
Look at that beautiful froth. So thick you can almost eat it! 
These Saturday morning lattes were enjoyed with these warm muffins made from my same banana bread recipe, and they were topped with some extra streusel topping from our crumble dessert the night before :)

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