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 other than lightly sweetened black coffee. That’s what I normally drink.
The “latte”, without a diacritical mark, is a shortened American form of the Italian caffè-latte, which means “coffee with milk”. 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 never paid attention to them, but she wanted to know how to make coffee like Starbucks to surprise me later on.
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 and heated it in our microwave oven for three minutes. Then she added two spoons of coffee powder. I don’t think coffee crystals (Folgers) or freeze-dried coffee (Taster’s Choice) will work as well as powder. She then added 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.
If it’s so easy to make coffee like Starbucks at home, then why don’t people do that? I could never afford to stop at a Starbucks regularly while I was living in the United States. I probably wouldn’t have made it a point to do so even if someone else offered to pay for my drinks.
On a previous stay in the United States, a couple of people gave me Starbucks gift cards, as gifts naturally. I ended up giving them to my older son and his wife just before I left the country.
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 when I feel like doing so, thank you very much.
Originally published in June of 2013. Updated to correct some minor errors.
Previous and Next Articles (if any):