After watching the employees at one of the Starbucks locations a few years ago, my wife (Josie) decided to experiment to see if she could make coffee like Starbucks, coffee that tasted as good as theirs. More specifically, she wanted to reproduce the taste of their lattes. To this day, I basically do what she did when I want to drink coffee that isn’t what I drink regularly, lightly sweetened black coffee. I’ll get to that routine in a moment.
Latte is Italian for Milk
The “latte”, without a diacritical mark, is a shortened American form of the Italian caffè-latte, which means “milk coffee”. Years ago, before the American version made it well-known, ordering a latte in Italy would have fetched you a glass or a mug of milk. It’s probably okay to order it in Italian restaurants now, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
An American latte is quite simply a cup of coffee made with milk instead of water. Starbucks, however, starts every coffee drink with espresso and they have the machines to produce it. Espresso, invented in Italy, is the base ingredient of all American lattes, cappuccinos and mochas.
Josie noticed the baristas use two shots of espresso for the large drinks at Starbucks, while they add only one shot to the smaller drinks. I’ve never paid attention to them, but she wanted to know how to make coffee like Starbucks to surprise me later on.
Coffee Like Starbucks – How to Mimic a Latte
It’s easy to do if you have your own personal espresso machine. What if you don’t? Here’s how Josie did it:
She filled a large coffee mug with milk (whole milk, not 2 percent or less), heated it in our microwave oven for three minutes, added two spoons of coffee powder, two spoons of sugar and stirred. I’m talking about the spoons you eat with, not teaspoons for measuring. Boiled milk will work if you don’t like using a microwave oven.
What you end up is a strong cup of coffee, which is a simple latte. If you want to turn it into a cappuccino, add whipped cream to the top. If you want to turn it into a mocha, add a spoonful of powdered chocolate.
Why go to Starbucks instead of Drinking Coffee at Home?
If it’s so easy to make coffee like Starbucks at home, then why don’t people spend more time at home instead of going to coffee shops? I could never afford to stop at a Starbucks regularly while living in the United States (and definitely can’t while living in the Philippines) and probably wouldn’t make it a point to do so even if someone gave me a Starbucks gift card. Actually, on a previous stay in the United States, I received two gift cards and I ended up giving them to my older son and his wife just before I left.
It seems that people are always “on the go” and don’t take the time to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Perhaps it’s a social thing to stop at a coffee shop on the way to work or on the way home, even when it’s out-of-the-way. Perhaps it’s just laziness.
All I know is that I’m glad I’m no longer part of the rat race and living in a fast-paced society. The fast pace is what keeps companies like Starbucks in business. I’ll have none of that and drink coffee like Starbucks at home, thank you very much.
[Photo Attribution: By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]