After watching the employees at one of the Starbucks locations a few years ago, my wife decided to experiment to see if she could make coffee that tasted as good as Starbucks coffee. More specifically, she wanted to reproduce the taste of their lattes. To this day, I basically do what she did when I want something other than lightly sweetened black coffee. I’ll get to the routine in a minute.
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 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 for all American lattes, cappuccinos and mochas.
My wife 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.
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 my wife did it:
She filled a large coffee mug with milk (whole milk, not 2 percent or less), heated it in the microwave oven for three minutes, added two spoons of coffee powder and stirred. I’m talking about the spoons you eat with, not teaspoons for measuring.
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 sweetened, powdered chocolate.
Why go to Starbucks instead of Drinking Coffee at Home?
If it’s so easy to make coffee that tastes like Starbucks coffee at home, then why don’t people spend more time at home instead of going to coffee shops? I could never afford to regularly stop at Starbucks when I lived in the US (and definitely can’t now) and probably wouldn’t make it a point to do so even if someone gave me a Starbucks gift card. Actually, the last time I was in the US, I received two gift cards and I ended up giving them to my older son and his wife.
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.
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 my lattes at home, thank you very much.