How To Make A Latte Without An Espresso Machine (Quick Guide)

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Barry Gray

I am a believer that knowledge is power, and this applies to lattes as well!

But I know people often link a latte with a coffee shop. They look at their equipment at home and believe they simply cannot make one. Well, that’s not always the case.

Instead, you can make a latte at home, but it’s best if you have at least a French press to make a form of espresso. Then, you need to either have a hand-frother to foam up the milk, or shake it in a jar to get the foam.

Basically, it’s easier to make a latte at home than you had perhaps initially expected. So, there will be no excuse for you to not manage to make one, should the desire to sample a delicious latte come over you.

how to make a latte at home

From Coffee Shops To Home Made 

I loved a good latte from the local coffee shop in my early coffee-loving days. As I progressed along coffee road heaven, I tried other coffees and various lattes at different hang-outs, and I always thought you had to go to coffee shops to get a latte!

Probably, the coffee shop brainwashing media had done an excellent job on me. That was said a little tongue-in-cheek!

But I still remember when it dawned on me that making a latte should not be too difficult. Actually, all you needed were a few ingredients, and it would not be too difficult to get my hands on everything I needed.

All you need to make a decent latte is coffee, milk, a tall latte glass, sugar or no sugar, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. It’s that easy. 

I was a struggling student at the time, and let’s face it, lattes are costly; the other alternative was a fancy espresso machine with that milk ‘thingy’ that hissed and huffed and created scalded milk. In general, coffee was a mysterious thing that I certainly needed to learn more about. 

The good news is that lattes are easy to make. You can use a few handy objects that are not expensive or use the items you have at home already. 

As they say, making a latte at home is easy once you know how.

The First Rudementary Latte I Made Was Super Simple 

using a moka pot to make a latte at home

One day, I was at home kicking around doing nothing much and suddenly felt like a latte. It was raining, and I wasn’t in the mood to get into the car and run off to the local cafe. 

I put together a few choice ideas and had a good result. Well, it was a good result considering it was my first attempt. I’ve since refined my technique and got better at it, so don’t be put off if you are not that impressed with that starter latte.

The Easiest Home-Made Latte On The Planet

So, I think you have had enough of my chat and are ready to get to grips with making a latte. This is what you need:

  • Mason jar or something with a lid on it to heat and shake the milk 
  • Decent instant coffee (let’s face it, there is proper and indecent instant!). 
  • Sugar or sweetener (optional) 
  • Nutmeg or cocoa powder
  • Tall Latte Glass 

You can probably see why I felt I had the capabilities of getting everything I needed to make a latte, even as a student. Your local store should have pretty much everything.

Easiest Instructions Ever

use a microwave to warm milk for a latte

I warmed the glass beforehand and then heated the milk in the microwave in a mason jar. Once it was warm (not hot), I shook it like crazy; this created my scalded milk. I was careful not to overshake the milk but added bubbles to give a lovely bubbly consistency. 

I added water to my instant coffee and sugar, which smelled great, and hot water to around a quarter of the cup to dissolve the granules. I put this to one side. I added milk to my tall latte cup, leaving a small amount in the jar. 

Finally, I shook the leftover milk until it was a fine foam and poured it on top. I moved aside the foam and ran the ‘espresso’ mixture into the small hole I had made in the milk. Once I microwaved the mixture again for about 30 seconds, the foam became more robust and stayed in place. 

I finished off with a dash of nutmeg

Once you understand the basic structure of a latte and how easy it is, the adventures begin. 

How About A Flavor Busting Latte While Camping 

But here’s one thing I believe will happen to most people who love coffee and have just made their first latte: you want to experiment.

OK, so maybe that’s just me who does things like that!

I once made a latte when I was camping. I used what I had, a fire pot with hot water and a small saucepan, to warm the milk and coffee beans I had preground roughly beforehand. I stored this in my trusty, reusable plastic bag to maintain the flavors and aromas. 

I slowly heated the roughly chopped coffee grounds on the fire with water while heating milk in my small saucepan. Then, I put the milk in a plastic travel cup and shook it vigorously. This way, I could enjoy the rich, chocolatey flavor of the coffee beans that slipped through the foamy milk, creating an unforgettable taste.

There’s something special about how food and drinks taste when camping. While I often make cowboy coffee when I’m out in the great outdoors, making lattes is just as easy and satisfying.

You Will Find A Moka Pot Brews Great Coffee 

using a moka pot for a latte

I often make lattes with my Moka pot. If you have one, this gem can create so many different coffees that require a shot or two of espresso. 

A Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that uses steam pressure to brew strong coffee. It’s small and powerful yet easy to clean and store, as it only takes up a little space in your kitchen cupboard.

Strictly speaking, a Moka pot cannot make a pure espresso. It only produces one or two bars of pressure while an espresso requires around 9 bars of pressure.

The pressure impacts how the coffee is extracted, and a Moka pot just falls short in that respect. Sure, it still produces a strong coffee that is an excellent base for a latte, but it’s not an espresso per see.

But don’t let that put you off using it because I love my Moka pot and cannot imagine a coffee life without it.

Understanding the Moka 

The Moka pot is made up of three parts: the base, the boiler, and the top chamber. The base contains water, the boiler contains coffee grounds, and the top section collects the brewed coffee.

It is a simple method of brewing delicious coffee and takes little expertise. 

How To Make Your Espresso Shot For Your Latte 

To use a Moka pot, first fill the base with water up to the fill line. Then, add ground coffee to the boiler, filling it about halfway. Screw the boiler onto the base and then screw the top chamber onto the boiler.

Place the Moka pot on the stove over medium heat. If you have a gas stove, you need a Moka holder which covers the gas ring. My tiny Moka can lean sideways if I don’t use this gadget. 

The Boiled Water In The Chamber Vaporizers 

As the water in the base heats up, it will vaporize and rise into the boiler. The steam will then force the water through the coffee grounds, extracting the flavor, and the brewed coffee will then be collected in the top chamber.

Once the coffee brews, remove the Moka pot from the heat. Be careful, as the steam and hot coffee can be hot. 

Warm your milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds, shake well in a Mason jar, or use a hand whisk, then add your espresso from the Moka to the latte glass, pouring over the foamed milk.

The espresso shot made this way is as good as any fancy coffee machine, and the results are just the same. 

I usually choose fine-grained granules specially made for Moka pots, but you can also grind your beans if you want to. 

I’ve used my Dolce Gusto or Tassimo pods to create an espresso shot using their decent espresso shots. You can get an actual coffee shop taste with these inexpensive machines if you want to venture forward on your coffee journey but be warned, once you start, it is hard to stop!

I occasionally use a French press and add a more robust flavored coffee like a Brazilian blend with a bit heavier on the robusta beans to add punch. More robust coffee is essential when you use a lot of milk. 

Will a Home Latte Taste Just as Good?

I’ve spent time thinking about this question and how I would answer it, and this is what I’ve managed to come up with.

While the milk is not the exact same as you can get with a latte in a coffee shop, I feel it gets close enough for there to not be as big a difference as you would expect.

The key, as always with coffee, is in the beans. I would still opt for a dark roast, since you would be making an espresso, and the milk helps reduce the bitterness you would then get from the coffee.

Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way

Don’t be put off by the idea that you cannot make a latte at home; don’t feed into the notion that you need special machinery. Over time, I have collected some great coffee makers, a hand whisk, a French press, and a Moka pot, but you only need some or none of these products. 

All it takes is some determination on your part, and the ability to shake that jar like crazy to create your milk. Sure, it may involve you making some mistakes at first, but it should still taste pretty good and at least you get to drink even more coffee while you experiment.