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How to Make a Perfect Latte at Home - My Husband Shares His Secrets

Updated on March 28, 2015
RhondaAlbom profile image

Rhonda is an award-winning travel writer/photographer at AlbomAdventures. Based in New Zealand she has visited 54 countries on 6 continents.

Step by Step Photos Show You How to Make a Perfect Latte Every Time

Calling all coffee drinkers. It's time to share my hubby's secret to making the perfect latte at home, every time. No kidding. I am so lucky, I get to enjoy a spectacular, aromatic, perfect latte every morning, created for me by my hubby. Today he shares his secrets here. Two shots of espresso, steamed milk, foam what more could a girl want to start the day with a smile.

Hubby loves to read about making coffee and more specifically, any variety which uses an espresso machine. He does a bit of experimentation and now he has mastered his craft. I enjoyed being his guinea pig, especially now that the result is his perfect latte.


Always Start with Freshly Roasted Beans for the Best Tasting Coffee

Coffee Grinders Make a Big Difference

Some professionals say the coffee grinder is more important than the coffee maker. Most are either burr mill or blade grinders. Burr mill grinders are more consistent in grind size, but are more expensive. You can get good grind with a blade grinder as long as you keep a close eye on the grind time, and want a finer grind. For a coarse grind, burr mill makes a big difference.

Coffee grinders can be used to grind spices, however we recommend that you use a dedicated grinder for coffee. Otherwise your coffee will pick up the flavors of the spices or your spices will be coffee flavored.

Breville BCG450XL  Conical Burr Grinder
Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder

We love this burr mill coffee grinder! It does everything from coarse grind for plunger or filter coffee to extremely fine for a Turkish coffee. It is consistent, easy to use and easy to clean. Our favorite setting is "espresso grind."

KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, Black
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, Black

This is a blade grinder. We have one of these, but prefer to use our burr mill grinder for coffee. We now use this one for spices and nuts. However, if you want the cheaper blade grinder, this is a good choice.


Grind and Measure Coffee Beans Carefully to Get the Perfect Latte

It already smells yummy at this point

Grind coffee beans to an "espresso grind." If your grinder doesn't have this setting, grind until very fine. Some say this is the most important step.

For our perfect cup of coffee, we make each cup individually. We start with two tablespoons of ground coffee, which would give the equivalent of a double shot at a coffee house. The scoop that came with our machine is exactly one tablespoon, making our measuring quite simple.

Press the Ground Coffee into Your Filter Holder - I can almost taste my perfect latte!

Do Not Skip This Step!

Next you want to press the coffee down firmly and evenly with the tamper which came with your machine. See the pictures above to see what our filter holder looks like just prior to attaching to the machine.

Prepare Your Machine

Next you need to add the water into your machine's water reservoir. Our water reservoir is the clear strip on the right hand side of the machine. The trap door opens on top and the reservoir pulls out.

Be sure that the top of the filter holder is free of loose coffee grounds. Then, attach and lock the filter holder in place with a twist.

Now is a Good Time to Pre-Heat Your Mug

Another secret to the perfect latte

We like our coffee hot. Our secret is to pre-heat the cup. This simple task is accomplished by filling the cup with boiling water and leaving it sit until we are ready to fill it with our coffee. You could pre-heat the cup by putting it on the warming plate on top of the espresso machine, but that takes too long for us. Once we can smell the beans, we want our coffee!

Let's Make the Perfect Latte! - Or any espresso drink

Let the coffee continue to pump for 20 seconds

Start or activate your coffee pump. As soon as the coffee starts to drip out of the filter holder and into the cup, note the time. Let the coffee continue to pump for 20 seconds (using a 15 bar pump machine). Too much time will extract off-flavors and the coffee will not be as good. Too little time and you don't get enough coffee.Ideally 20 seconds will yield 80 - 100 ml (3-4 oz).

Steaming the Milk

Pour 8 ounces of cold milk into a stainless steel frothing pitcher. A traditional latte is three parts steamed milk to one part espresso coffee with froth milk optional on top. We like ours a bit stronger, so we use 8 oz milk. A cappuccino uses even less milk and is defined as one part espresso coffee, one part steamed milk and one part froth milk. Lift the frothing pitcher onto the frothing wand until the head of the frothing wand is completely submerged in milk. Activate the frothing switch and support the pitcher with your hand. We use our fingers to feel the temperature. We know the milk is done when the froth rises like in the photo and the pitcher is just reaching the "too hot for my fingers" stage.

Dump the Pre-heat Boiling Water and Add Your Sugar First (If You Use Sugar)

Add the Coffee (Stir until Sugar Dissolves)

Now It's Time to Add the Milk and the Froth

Use a spoon to hold the froth back while you pour the milk. Then use the spoon to push the froth on top.

Finally, Sit Back and Enjoy the Perfect Latte

Home or Coffee Shop - Who Does It Better?

Can a great cup of coffee at home be better than the coffee shop experience. I think so, what about you?

Where do you have your best cup of coffee?

A perfect homemade latte is best (like the one on this page)

A perfect homemade latte is best (like the one on this page)

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    • Mark C 14 months ago

      I make a quadruple snickers latte to jump start my day, making your own at home is the best! My wife says I should venture out to try more varieties of lattes because even if we go to a coffee shop, I end up explaining to the barista how to make my snickers.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      home :) and gloria jeans and costa r good!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I like hot chocate

    • pinkhoodie 4 years ago

      I've had good coffee at both but homemade puts me in a more comfortable place.

    • Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh yeah I think you can do a better job at home, and it certainly costs less in the long run.

    • sebo246 4 years ago

      I think so! Although I used to be a barista so it kinda helps that I know how to make them :)

    • TheCoffeeConnoisseur 4 years ago

      Cool lens. I like to make my own coffee in the morning. I think of it as a challenge to make the perfect cup of gourmet coffee. I still stop at the local Starbucks on my way to work often, but making my own is my preference.

    • spikeyflower 4 years ago

      I prefer my own homemade coffee, but I like to go to the coffee shop for fun and to learn about new types of drinks to try out making at home.

    • CostaShop 5 years ago

      That's a great visual guide!

      I see you are holding the milk frothing jug without using the handle, I assume this is to get a better 'feel' of the temperature?

      I have to do this now as the handle has come off my frothing jug! I must buy a new one, I've seen some with a central 'column' which is supposed to help the milk spin and avoid large bubbles, not sure how well they work but might get one.

      One thing I would add, is that it's probably better to ditch the cheap plastic tamper that comes with the espresso machine and get a decent one.

      I only spent around £25 on mine, but find that it's much easier to get a good tamp with a better quality tamper.

    • BlountyBoy 5 years ago

      I prefer at home, that way i can change how strong it is.. preferstrong coffee!

    • lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      I have the $400 Breville, but never seem to get as good a latte as in my old $50 Krups.

    • KokoTravel 6 years ago

      I enjoy my coffee at home most, so that I can simply relax and savor the flavor.

    • CR2000 6 years ago

      coffee is my favorite topic and drink :)

    • Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      The coffee shop doesn't always know how to make it just right.

    • callinsky lm 7 years ago

      I used to buy espressos and lattes a lot because I grew up in the Seattle area. Since moving to the middle of nowhere I make my own. I have switched to organic milk and sugar, and itâs made a world of difference in the taste. I make four shotters and occasionally drink two a day when I do not work. I would prefer a homemade one to even a Starbucks. Thereâs still something about the Starbucks experience every so often. (O;

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      At home, good and the way I like it.

    • DAnnieB LM 7 years ago

      I make homemade chai tea -- homemade is just as good...

    Nothing beats a good coffee shop

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        cafe botero maclean true coffee

      • theallin1writer 4 years ago

        I make the worst coffee ever - coffee shop for me thanks!

      • victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

        It depends where I am. I'm living in the Netherlands right now and, like many European countries, the locals like their coffee super-strong which isn't to my taste. I'm English originally so if I'm at home visiting I like to go to Starbucks, Costa, Nero or another coffee shop. If I'm here I tend to make my own. I have a caffetiere and a package of freshly ground Jamaica Blue Mountain but I don't have coffee daily.

      • Steve Martaindale 4 years ago

        Homemade may be best, but not if it's from my home. It's just plain ol' brewed coffee at home and an occasional special drink from a coffee shop.

      • Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

        Since my church office is inside a coffee shop that serves amazing fair-trade coffee drinks, I have nearly stopped making coffee for myself at home and just wait to get the good stuff at Cuppa Life.

      • Paula Morgan 4 years ago from Sydney Australia

        It has to be the right beans and the right barista for the perfect cup. Can I buy your husband lol

      • SLHamilton LM 5 years ago

        I have never been able to get the same sweet, frothy foam that Starbucks puts on my Misto :-(

      • Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

        I have yet to achieve the delicious flavor of a good coffee shop. But I keep trying, and your lens gives me hope and inspiration!

      • pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

        I have never had a homemade latte, so coffee shop for me! I have a favorite little coffee shop that makes such a delicious coffee....

      • Bella Stella 6 years ago

        Actually I have not a coffee machine at home so I buy it every morning from specific coffee shops. I do not risk buying a bad coffee from a place I have never been before. My mornig coffee has to be perfect... What is more, I am not sure If I would make it similar to the one a professional would do...

      • sagebrushmama 6 years ago

        Coffee at a shop is a treat!

      • kohuether lm 6 years ago

        In Europe! I didn't even like coffee until I moved to Germany. When I moved back to the states I wandered around like a lost puppy looking for coffee that compared. I found it a handful of times in random mom and pop coffee shops, usually owned up Italians. But I love the European coffee culture more.

      • Cheryl Kohan 7 years ago from Minnesota

        I haven't an espresso machine so I'm going to have to choose the coffee shop latte. Besides, it's a treat for me. I might change my mind if/when I get an espresso maker, though :-)

      This is the Espresso Machine at the Top of Our Wish List

      This Breville Barista Express machine is at the top of my wish list. It has a 15 Bar pump (which my hubby says makes the best coffee). Plus has the grinder build in. The best part is it is programmable, so I can have a hot espresso waiting for me when I get out of the shower.

      Buy Breville Barista Express machine with grinder

      Latte or Espresso, Which Do You Prefer?

      Latte (expresso with steamed milk) or Espresso (black)?

      See results

      © 2009 Rhonda Albom

      So, How Do You Like Your Coffee? - All comments welcome

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        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

          @VioletteRose LM: Give it a try one morning and let me know what you think.

        • VioletteRose LM profile image

          VioletteRose LM 2 years ago

          That looks delicious, I too enjoy a cup of either coffee or tea (with added milk) on most mornings from my husband but never thought about a latte :) thanks so much for sharing.

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

          @Elyn MacInnis: Yes, you drink latte just like I do. yummy.

        • Elyn MacInnis profile image

          Elyn MacInnis 2 years ago from Shanghai, China

          Lots of milk and lots of foam. In a super big cup. Yum!

        • Seasons Greetings profile image

          Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          I don't have the patience to follow all of those steps. I just use a French press.

        • David Stone1 profile image

          David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

          The old fashion way. But this is a beautifully well-constructed lens, and if I wanted to change, this is where I'd look for help.

        • evelynsaenz1 profile image

          Evelyn Saenz 3 years ago from Royalton

          Congratulations on your well deserved Purple Star. I have just begun to appreciate coffee. Latte looks delicious.

        • Gypzeerose profile image

          Rose Jones 3 years ago

          Had to come back here and salivate a bit - I do love my latte! Although I guess it is cheating a bit because I make it with coffee made with a Melita. But I always froth my milk and grind the beans!

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          othellos 3 years ago

          Excellent lense. You are very expert on the subject and you are like a barrista. Thanks for sharing all this valuable information:)

        • PinkstonePictures profile image

          PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

          My husband will love this - thanks for sharing

        • Aibrean82 profile image

          Aibrean82 4 years ago

          I just did a barista day course, and this lens described making latte in a way that supplements what I learned there. I would love a proper coffee machine with a milk frother. Add a little hazelnut syrup to the latte and I'm in heaven!

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          pinkhoodie 4 years ago

          I like almost any Good coffee but long macchiato is my favourite.

        • Nancy Hardin profile image

          Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

          I like my coffee black, no sugar first thing in the morning. I need that quick jolt! But later in the day I love lattes, with the sugar, milk and foam. YUM!

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

          @gottaloveit2: You could try some of hubby's timing tricks and see if your latte is even better.

        • gottaloveit2 profile image

          gottaloveit2 4 years ago

          I have an incredible coffee machine - made by Saeco. It was expensive and so worth it.

        • Steve Martaindale profile image

          Steve Martaindale 4 years ago

          It may be an insight into my character, but the wonderfully described steps above are more work than I'm willing to put into my morning coffee -- black, by the way. I'll help a hard-working barista keep a job!

        • ClassyGals profile image

          Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

          I like at least 2 cups of coffee every morning and if I don't get them the cat even knows to run. Wonderful tutorial on how to make the perfect latte. Angel Blessings**

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          TheCoffeeConnoisseur 4 years ago

          Great instructions for a latte. I love trying to make a better drink than the expert coffee shops. I'll give this a try. I have invested in a nice new machine that does it all.

        • spikeyflower profile image

          spikeyflower 4 years ago

          Great tutorial. There is nothing like a fancy cup of coffee at home to make your day feel special.

        • ChrisShaefer profile image

          ChrisShaefer 5 years ago

          This is an excellent lens, thank you for the hard work and effort you put into this.

          I always love an informative publication that has some substance.

          I have a few coffee articles of my own. Please stop by and share a little love.

          Thanks again, 2 thumbs up and a LIKE for you!


        • Blackspaniel1 profile image

          Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

          Nice lens.

        • Scarlettohairy profile image

          Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

          Very interesting all the steps in making a latte! I prefer black coffee, Italian Roast. Yum!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Great Tutorial! Very simple instructions and exactly what i was looking for! Thanks for your time in making this page for viewers to learn about the process of espresso and latte's.

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          Yourpersonalcon 5 years ago

          You've inspired me

        • profile image

          Martichoke 5 years ago


        • profile image

          BlountyBoy 5 years ago

          I love reading all these different lenses on coffee and late stuff! Thanks for the lens!

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

          LOL! It always seems like a lot of work for one little cup of coffee, but my husband and our daughter really enjoy their Lattes. They are so cute with their heads together over the machine and the giggles always make me laugh. He says he has his own personal barista and I always enjoy seeing their new mustaches!

        • raegal75 profile image

          raegal75 5 years ago

          Great lens! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

        • TreasuresBrenda profile image

          Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

          Sounds like a great way to start your day.

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

          @Johanna Eisler: Sorry, we are pretty much at the end of the earth, so unless you are close by . . .

        • Johanna Eisler profile image

          Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

          This sounds so delicious - does your husband make latte deliveries? Maybe he'd like to work in my online Coffee House! LOL! Thanks so much for the lesson!

        • pheonix76 profile image

          pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

          Another yummy lens!! I really enjoyed learning all about how to make a latte at home, thanks for this excellent tutorial. :):):)

        • profile image

          NYThroughTheLens 5 years ago

          I usually mix a bold, dark roast with a flavored coffee and add a touch of cinnamon on top with some milk (I have been on a K-cup kick lately). However, when I go out for coffee, I love a latte with some cinnamon and I always wanted to try to make my own but I never have. Bookmarking this lens.

        • Bella Stella profile image

          Bella Stella 6 years ago

          I like it latte with no sugar, just some cinnamon on the top. I have no time in the morning to drink a coffee at home so I take it away from a cafe near my work. I wish I had time to drink it there but I cannot help waking up late...

        • Bella Stella profile image

          Bella Stella 6 years ago

          @Gypzeerose: Getting up at 4:45 sounds terrific! I find it hard to get up at 8:30... :) The fact that you take time for preparing a coffee is really cool because it helps your brain to wake up smoothly.

        • Gypzeerose profile image

          Rose Jones 6 years ago

          You are a woman after my own mind! My new job has me getting up before the neighbor's rooster -at 4:45 - yet I still take time to make my own cup of latte. I also drink it out however, I love that and I have not yet learned how to do latte art.

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          encouragingwords 6 years ago

          I feel like you invited us into your kitchen and I'm leaving a big blessing! Great job.

        • shellys-space profile image

          Shelly Sellers 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

 have a terrific Hubby :) Yummy!!

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          WriterBuzz 6 years ago

          I just found your lens. I like it a lot. Thanks for building it. Gave you a thumbs up.

        • SandyMertens profile image

          Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

          Thanks for adding this to Recipes, Reviews and Food Collection. Yummy drink lens.

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          John Parr 6 years ago from Montreal

          Excellent lens, lenrolled to my Espresso lens. Cheers!

        • Gypzeerose profile image

          Rose Jones 6 years ago

          Can't choose which is better home or the coffeeshop, I have beautiful memories of both!

          Plus there is Italy.................... Still I am so glad to have met some body else who cares.

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          VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

          Nicely done. Great photos too. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

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          anonymous 7 years ago

          Great advice on making coffee

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          Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

          I make these at home too. Saves a lot of money, and they usually come out better, too!

        • puzzlerpaige profile image

          puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

          Thanks for featuring my Caffeine Molecule lens! You must have been reading my mind...I just saw this latte article featured on another article, but got interrupted before I clicked on it. Then I remembered yesterday I hadn't read it just about the time I got your message. Too good!

          Would you believe I have an espresso machine a friend gave me and I have NEVER used it? Shame on me! I thought about giving it away, but now I'm going to give it a try. Thanks Rhonda!

        • CherylK profile image

          Cheryl Kohan 7 years ago from Minnesota

          Great step-by-step instructions and the pictures really make it a good guide. Definitely a good lens to feature on Cabaret Squidoo!

        • AppalachianCoun profile image

          AppalachianCoun 7 years ago

          Wonderful lens. Thank-you for the step by step and all the tips. We will try them. 5 stars*****

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          anonymous 7 years ago

          You're a regular Barista! Starbucks will be sending you an employment application in the mail...he he Great "how to" lens! Go Rocket Mom!

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