The Coffee Tip For Making Lattes At Home Without An Espresso Machine

Almost everyone loves a latte, yet not everyone has an espresso machine at home; however, the nature of espresso means it is possible to bridge that gap at home. Lattes depend on the strong flavor of espresso to balance out the higher proportion of milk in the drink, and espresso gets its distinct flavor from how concentrated it is when it's brewed. A typical shot of espresso uses a 2:1 ratio of water to coffee, which is 28 grams of water to 14 grams of grounds for a 1-ounce shot. Other methods of brewing coffee vary anywhere from 15:1 to 20:1 in their ratios, so espresso really stands out for its intense amount of coffee.

The solution if you want a latte at home is inelegant but effective: Brew a much stronger cup of coffee. You can't really make a proper espresso at home without a machine or other tool like an AeroPress, but an extra-strong brew of your traditional method will get the job done and approximate espresso pretty well. 

This is especially true when you are making a drink with milk, like a latte, where the coffee flavor isn't as clear and pronounced. Because brewing instruments like a French Press use different grinds and brewing times than espresso, there are adjustments you'll need to make to get close to espresso, but you also have a few options on how to get the results you want.

Make an extra-strong brew of coffee to make your latte

The thing about espresso is that it's just coffee. While espresso beans are typically dark roasted, they are still the same ones used to make American-style coffee like drips and pour-overs. The only difference is preparation. Beyond the high ratio, espresso is made using high pressure to force water through packed, finely-ground beans. 

You won't be able to recreate the pressure of a machine, which helps give espresso its syrupy body, but you can get close to its flavor. To start, stick with a coarse to medium-coarse dark roast. Finely ground coffee will not be filtered out by your press, while water may have trouble passing through your coffee in a pour-over.

From there, you just need to experiment with ratios. You can go right for a 2:1 or 3:1 water-to-coffee ratio, but it may be too bitter. The other way is to start at a normal-to-strong ratio of 15:1 and work your way down until you find your personal preferred version of coffee "espresso." 

The other option for extra-strong coffee is to double brew. For either pour-over or French press, make a cup like you normally would, but then make a second cup using fresh grounds and the coffee you just brewed instead of water. This will give you double-concentrated coffee that hits close to espresso. Now you're just some frothed, steamed milk away from a latte without shelling out any extra dollar for an expensive machine.