This homemade vegan latte recipe is what I use, but I’m just going to be real here and let you guys know that I’m not a coffee/espresso expert. I’ve made espresso a handful of times, and they all turned out well so that’s why I’m writing about it. I only recently started to drink coffee more regularly because for some reason, my energy levels are starting to wane (I’m getting lots of sleep, I don’t know what the problem is) and in order to stay awake past 4 pm, I’ve noticed I needed a little Starbucks pick me up. I’m a sucker for espresso-based drinks and I’ve spent far too much money on Starbucks in the past two months that I felt the need to invest in a $15 IKEA espresso maker (I actually wanted one of those really nice, matte steel Italian style ones that are actually the same price but the store that sells them is a subway-ride away and I was already at IKEA so whatever. I digress. As usual.)
Anyway, so I’ve talked about how I like to drink Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I LOVE the smell of coffee. It’s probably one of my favourite smells in the world. It smells like a new day, a fresh start, and productivity. THE AMERICAN DREAM. Sort of. I’m Canadian but we don’t have a similar idiom to match the mood.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a coffee drinker or a tea drinker. Not because I don’t like it, but because I just can never muster the effort to make hot beverages on a regular basis. You’ve got to boil the water, get out the loose leaf tea, put it in the little metal tea thing, get the water at the right temperature depending on the tea because black tea brews better in piping hot boiling water while white tea does better at 84ÂºC or something specific like that (it says something in the 80s on my tea package somewhere). Then you have to clean the little tea thing and that’s a nightmare in itself because the tea leaves always get caught in the mesh and they never want to get out.
And coffee is even worse! You can almost never just make one cup of coffee. It has to be like 4, or 6, or 12 depending on the coffee maker. Then you have to grind the beans, clean the grinder, get the coffee maker, put in a filter (provided I even HAVE filters), put out the right amount of coffee grounds, brew the coffee, drink it, then clean all the components. How do people do this on a regular basis? IT’S SO MUCH WORK FOR A DRINK. You know what I like drinking? Water. You pour it into your cup and you drink it. And it’s easy to clean BECAUSE IT’S WATER.
I’m getting a little carried away. Basically I’m describing a very lazy person who wants to enjoy coffee without the work but it’s a Catch-22 because I wouldn’t need the coffee if I wasn’t so tired and I’m too tired and lazy to clean the stuff to make it regularly. I need to get over it, I know, but hey. This is my blog. I can write what I want.
Anyway, if you get over the amount of effort that goes into making your own lattes at home, here’s how I did it. I’ve made frothy drinks with almond milk before and I love how thick and luxurious it can get. Coconut milk doesn’t really do the same but I recently found out that I’m allergic to almonds so there goes that option. Soy milk sometimes gives me a rash unless I heat it, and I’m not going to buy both coconut milk for cereal and soy milk for coffee because there’s no room in this food blogger’s fridge for that.
Do your own experiments with milk alternatives, figure out what you like best. The thing about the So Delicious coconut beverage is that it’s already sweetenedâ€”much to my chagrin for my already sweet cerealâ€”so you don’t really need to add any more sugar. Frothed coconut milk doesn’t have the same thickness to create beautiful latte art, but it tastes delicious. You’ve got to pick your battles, right?
Espresso and coffee are not the same.
I know, a “Duh” statement. I’ve actually had a very heated argument with a good friend about this so I’m going to explain it anyway. Coffee is typically brewed with more water than espresso. It’s kind of a top-down sort of filtration, where hot water drips through coffee and then filters out the brown liquid cocaine that almost everyone I know is addicted to. Meanwhile, espresso takes the opposite route: the water evaporates and filters UPWARD through the coarse-ground dark-roasted beansÂ (you can’t make fine-ground espresso because then you get hot water with coffee grounds in it). The pressure of the steam and the grounds make some sort of chemical magic that creates a concentrated, rich, smooth coffee flavour that’s not bitter, so you hardly need to add any sugar to make it taste delicious. I’m sure there’s a better explanation of it somewhere out there, but this is what I’ve figured out.
Coffee beans and espresso beans are not the same but they’re pretty similar.
Espresso beans have to be able to withstand the pressure from the espresso making process, and therefore need to be high-quality beans. I don’t know the specifics, but I mean, there’s a reason why espresso is aboutÂ double the price of coffee. The process, the beans, the result = $$. However, the espresso grounds that I bought are actually pretty cheap and I really liked the flavour, so who knows. I’m not enough of an expert to understand whyÂ illy beans are $30, while theseÂ Medaglia d’Oro CaffÃ¨ beans were $6. I just know that you need coarse-ground, dark roast beans to make a good espresso shot.
The difference between anÂ Americano,Â a cappuccino, a latte, and a macchiato.
This I learned from grade 9 Italian class (which I aced with a 98%. BOOM I belong in Italy.): An Americano is basically a watered down espresso shot so it tastes like espresso but has the same strength as coffee. AÂ cappuccinoÂ has about a 1:1 ratio of steamed milk to milk foam, whereas a latte is almost all steamed milk with a bit of foamed milk on top. And an espressoÂ macchiatoÂ translates to “a drop of milk” so it’s an espresso with a teeeny bit of milk.Â Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato is more like a latte macchiato: steamed milk with a teeny bit of espresso.
So what’s better? Coffee or Espresso?
The ball is in your court, folks. I asked on FB who was Team Coffee and Team Espresso, and for the most part people were mostly just Team Whatever-Keeps-Me-Awake but I think Team Espresso won.
WHERE DO YOU FALL?!
This recipe is based off of the 6-cup espresso maker from IKEA. Other espresso makers may have different instructions, other people may have these specific espresso ratios. You do you. I do me. This is me.
15 minPrep Time
15 minTotal Time
- 1/3 cup espresso, loose, not packed
- 1 1/4 cup water
- ~2 cups (500 mL) milk alternative (I used So Delicious organic coconut beverage so it's already slightly sweetened), if you need more, you can always heat up more milk.
- Optional: sugar to taste
- Using the IKEA 6-cup espresso maker (I assume that other 6-cup espresso makers would work well), fill the bottom half of the maker with 1 1/4 cups of water.
- Add the coffee filter and gently add 1/3 cup of espresso. When I measured out how much espresso I used, it turned out to be about 1/3 cup loosely piled on top, but when I rapped the measuring cup down, it settled to 1/4 cup. The most accurate way to gauge this is by weight but my scale is out of batteries and let's be real, who actually owns a kitchen scale other than gung-ho food bloggers?
- Anyway, level the filter with espresso, and tightly attach the top.
- Place on the stove over medium-low heat (I had it just under medium), ensuring the handle isn't over the element. Let the water bubble and evaporate through the filter until the bubbling noise has stopped. Remove from heat.
- To make the frothed milk, over medium heat, add the 2 cups of milk. Heat until the edges are slightly bubbly and there is steam coming from the top. Don't bring it to a boil. Use a milk frother until desired consistency. Remove from heat.
- To make the latte, use a ratio of 1:3 for espresso:milk.