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How to Make Your Own Delicious Homemade Lattes Without an Espresso Machine


Guest post by Anne at The Modern Mrs. Darcy

I love a good latté; my husband’s a cappuccino guy. He works in the coffee industry and recently he went to a trade show in Seattle and enjoyed one coffee shop so much he felt guilty about leaving me at home, so he brought me a bag of their espresso. In our house, that spells l-o-v-e.

As much as we both love espresso drinks, I can’t afford $4 lattes everyday (even if he gets his at work). So we make it at home.

Believe it or not, we don’t own a traditional espresso machine, though (mostly because a good one costs at least $400). Instead, we found an altogether different type of espresso machine: the Aerobie Aeropress. This little machine has only been on the market since 2006, but it’s quickly gained a cult following. I totally get why: it’s simple, portable, it makes amazing coffee–and it’s only 24 dollars!

We own a coffeeshop’s worth of brewing equipment, but it’s the Aeropress that’s the real workhorse in our kitchen. I use it twice a day (more when my husband isn’t working). It only takes three minutes and it’s so easy I often do it with a baby on my hip.

Here’s how to make a latté at home that’s as good as going out.

Items Needed:

1. Finely ground coffee
2. Milk
3. Aerobie Aeropress (comes with the press, filters, coffee scoop, and stirrer)
4. Coffee mug
5. Small cup for brewing
6. Frothing tool (whisk or aerolatte)

How to make a latte using the Aeropress:

1. Set up the aeropress by putting a paper filter into the cap and screwing it on to the chamber, then stand the chamber on a sturdy mug.

2. Put two aeropress scoops of coffee into the chamber.

3. Heat 4 oz water to 175 degrees. (This takes 45 seconds in my microwave.)

4. Pour hot water over coffee and stir for 10 seconds.

5. Wet the seal on the plunger and place plunger in chamber. Press down gently, and continue to press steadily until plunger is fully depressed. (Don’t worry if the plunger doesn’t budge for the first 20 seconds. It will depress.)

6. Heat 10 ounces of milk to 150 degrees. (This takes 60 seconds in my microwave.)

7. Froth milk. I use an aerolatte ($10.42 at amazon). It’s a mini-immersion blender that creates generous foam in about 10 seconds. (You can froth your milk manually by holding a small whisk tightly between your palms and twirl back and forth for about 30 seconds.)

8. Gently pour your espresso into your frothed milk. Add syrup if desired.

Those two lattés I said I make every day–they cost me $0.69 each. If I paid $4 for each one it would cost me $2934 a year. Of course, I could never afford to spend that much on coffee, but I can enjoy top-notch lattés at home every single day and still only spend a fraction of that amount.

I really enjoy my coffee–and when I stop to think about it, I really enjoy saving $3000, too!

Anne blogs about all things feminine at The Modern Mrs. Darcy, a different kind of blog for women. As the mother of four, a part-time employee, and a voracious reader she’s working to redefine what success looks like for the modern woman.

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  • Cha says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! That little machine is worth every last penny, especially when it comes to making lattes. I bought mine on Amazon last year and it’s fantastic. It has been swept aside for a little bit due to my new love affair with my Keurig (which I use the Solofill for instead of buying k-cups) but it’s still there for me when I want/need a nice latte. : )

    • Solofill says:

      What is the secret to mastering the Solofill for your Keurig. I also own a Keurig and have tried the Solofill but was not able to master how much coffee to use or even which one to use. The frustration has led me to only use K cups in my machine. What is your advice so I can start using the Solofill? Thank you.

      • Nikki Hitze says:

        How much coffee or espresso you use is really up to your taste standards. If you’re using just a regular medium roast coffee, or even espresso, I usually fill the solofill 3/4 the way full. When you use espresso, just make sure you press the espresso into the solofill before putting it into the Keurig, and choose the smallest cup option.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I know what I’m putting on my Amazon wish list for Christmas! Thanks for this!

  • Nicole says:

    This is so cute. Love it!

  • Julie in IN says:

    We love our Bunn coffee maker for the best coffee we’ve ever tasted; I do second the Aerolattte. I picked ours up at Bed Bat & Beyond with a coupon and it changes a simple cup of coffee to a real treat!!! Now I’m really wishing I had bought some Starbucks Espresso grounds this week.

  • Melissa Gibbs says:

    I use the vanilla syrup to sweeten mine and then drizzle a little bit of caramel topping over the froth. It makes an awesome caramel macchiato.

  • Tania says:

    You really don’t save $3000 a year if they cost .69 each. And your math is a little off. If you pay $4 a latte and have 2 a day that is $2920 a year (365 days) with out any tax. So making your own at .69, you spend $503.70 a year on latte’s. Your total savings would be $2416.30 a year, which is a lot! I am wondering how you came to .69 a latte?

    • You’re right, but we come pretty darn close!

      I make two lattes every day, and my husband usually makes one at home. So that’s 3 a day. We do have to pay tax. And, unlike most Money Saving Mom readers, we don’t have to pay for coffee. So our savings are well over $3000. (Especially because we are lucky to get free whole-bean coffee!)

      But we could never justify spending $3000 on coffee! We get to enjoy a lot more coffee making it at home than we would if we ran to Starbucks for our caffeine fix. I love that our little aeropress lets us enjoy excellent coffee far more often.

      Here’s the breakdown, based on my local Kroger’s prices at the time I wrote this post:

      10 ounces of milk at $2.49/gallon: .38
      24g of 8’oclock coffee at $6/pound: .31

      We do have to buy filters, but we re-use each one at least 4 times so they cost well under a penny each.

      Hope that helps!

  • Heather says:

    Another great gadget for home-lattes is the Aerolatte. It aerates (sp?… whatever) the milk. I think I paid 10 or 15 for mine at Bed Bath & Beyond. It makes GREAT foam!!

  • Tammy L says:

    I got an AeroPress for my birthday last winter and I love it! I did a review/video for my website because I was just so excited about it (it is pretty cool). 🙂

    I think it makes great coffee… the only snag to having just that (and no coffee maker, etc.) was that when we had overnight guests who are used to drinking (a combined amount of) 8 or more cups of coffee within a couple hours of waking, I was kept *quite* busy cooking a big breakfast, caring for children, and making what felt like cup after cup after cup of coffee! 😉

    I did get compliments on the yummy freshly-roasted and freshly-ground coffee beans we had purchased from Costco and the delicious coffee that the AeroPress made though! 😉

  • Emily says:

    Wow, this looks awesome! I used to spend a small fortune on lattes, so this would be a great at home alternative. Does anyone know how well the aerolatte, or similar devices, work on coconut (or other non-diary) milks?

    • Some milks, dairy or otherwise, froth better than others–regardless of which tool you use. The espresso geeks say the aerolatte is better than a steam wand at frothing rice and almond milks, but because of the protein structure, you’re not going to get much foam no matter which device you use. The liquids are just too thin.

      Coconut milk froths great, and soy milk froths almost (but not quite) as well as dairy. Silk and SoyDream brands are known to froth most reliably.

      Also….not all brands of cow’s milk froth, and even though we get Dean’s milk where I live, occasionally we’ll get a gallon that won’t generate foam. I know this to be the case, but I have no idea what the reason is!

  • Jen says:

    Another great way to make espresso is in a Bialetti Moka Express ($25 on Amazon). It is a stove top espresso maker. I’ve had mine for over a year and love it!

    Ikea has a milk frother like the Aerolatte, but only $2!

    • amy says:

      I got a similar model last year for my birthday and we love it….the nice thing is you can buy different sizes so you can still have espresso based drinks, but don’t have the waste. My mom has a large one she brings to family parties and ours we use every morning. This is what may Europeans use.

      • Another reason to wish I had an ikea nearby! I’m putting this on my running ikea shopping list…. it can’t hurt to have a spare frother around, especially if it’s just two bucks!

        • Julie in IN says:

          Our first aerolatte was from Ikea but it broke in a short amount of time; I love the happiness return guarantee Bed Bath & Beyond has!

          • Oh, that’s good to know! We’re on our second aerolatte; our first one died after 3 years of hard use. Well worth the $11, I think!

            About BBY: Bed Bath & Beyond stood by the Cuisinart burr grinder I got there that broke within the warranty time frame. I just took in the broken one and swapped it for brand new. It could not have been easier.

  • Cort says:

    You can get one of those frothers which seems the same to me as the aerolatte for $1 at ikea! Thats it a buck and it works great. Mine was working great until my little guys ran off with it and I have yet to find it 🙂 At least it was only a dollar! I use a whisk attachment now for my chai tea lattes and do it stovetop for me and the hubby. I will def. be picking up another little ikea frother next time I am in the area!

  • Claudia says:

    Ok so I think the price of those two gadgets are totally worth it for a good latte and I also dont have a good express machine because I can’t justify spending that much money on a machine. I’m going to print your directions just so I make sure I can do it properly 🙂 thanks

  • Its just a French press with a finer strainer – those have been around forever 🙂

  • sarah beals says:

    Loved this post and of course, love coffee. I have a french press. Is this little machine similar? What are the differences? And I have always frothed my milk by swirling my wisk between the palms of my hands….but I may invest in the milk frother! 🙂

    • Melissa Z says:

      That’s what I was wondering too! I hope it’s the same as a french press b/c I don’t think I can justify have a third coffee maker in the house (already have a percolator & french press).

    • Jennifer says:

      You can get from Ikea for about $2 — it’s so great! I use a press too, but might try to make “espresso” type coffee with it

    • Tammy L says:

      It is different from a French press in several ways… a French press uses coarsely ground coffee, the AeroPress uses very finely ground coffee. The AreoPress brews quickly (20-30 seconds) and the coffee (espresso, actually) is pressed with pressure through the paper filter. I think it’s about as different as it could be from a French press! However, done properly, both the AeroPress and a French press can make very good coffee. 🙂

    • Sarah, come on down to Kentucky, and you can try mine 🙂

      • sarah beals says:

        You totally know that I would come down if I were nearby, don’t you? I am totally a sit and chat and drink coffee kinda girl. 🙂
        I am going to Ikea pronto to get one of those mini frothers. I had friends over last week and made them all spiced Chi teas with frothed milk, that I frothed with my wisk and they just kinda looked at me like “What are you doing?” :0)

  • Susie B says:

    This is an awesome post! Can’t wait to try this.

  • KImberly says:

    LOVE MY AEROPRESS!! Used it for years now. EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    Just found out they have a permanant filter for it. Thought the OP might want to know about that. 🙂

    • Tammy L says:

      I didn’t know that about the permanent filter, but I do re-use the paper filters. (Just rinse and lay out to dry with the rest of the parts after using.) I read a post somewhere from the inventor of the AeroPress who said he re-uses the paper filters something like 20 times each! 🙂 At that rate, the pack that comes with the AeroPress is going to last me about forever!! 🙂

      • 20 times! I only reuse mine about 4! (And it took me YEARS to figure out they could be reused at all!) I’m definitely going to stretch that out now and see how it works.

        I find that I get the best results reusing my filters if I rinse out the used one and immediately insert it back in the aeropress so that it dries flat.

    • carin says:

      thanks!! I didn’t know that, I just ordered one!

  • Heather C says:

    You just made my day. I’ve been dying to get an espresso machine ever since I left my job to become a stay at home mom because I miss my lattes so much but we just couldn’t afford it and I can’t go out and buy a latte everyday! I’m soooooooo getting one of these!

    • Heather H says:

      Heather your comment made my day! 🙂 I could have written this comment as its *exactly* my situation too! Plus, somedays I doubt that starbucks would really appreicate me with my no-wash hair piled high, my very worn yoga pants with slippers and my sweatshirt littered with whatever was the specialty lunch of the day for the little one! Sipping a latte at home would make it all better for sure! lol

  • I just had a thought–Starbucks lattes contain one shot of espresso for a tall and 2 for a grande. My instructions are for 2 shots. You could save even MORE money by doing single-shot lattes.

    But personally, I like them with 2 shots 🙂

  • Candy says:

    Do you need to use espresso beans? I see a couple of brands mentioned – just wondering what to buy for sure.

    • No, you can use any kind of coffee. The important thing is that it’s ground very fine. It’s purely personal preference.

      • Robin says:

        Can you use pre-ground coffee like Folgers? Or is it better to grind it yourself at home (or in the machine at the store)?

        • The important thing is the grind, which is very fine (and frequently called “espresso grind). This can be found in the store, sometimes, but your options will be pretty limited. You’re much better off grinding it at home, or doing it in the store–but make sure the setting is fine.

          (As a point of reference, regular brewed coffee generally uses a “medium” grind; french presses use a coarse grind.)

  • Rachel M. says:

    I’ve been using a little percolator to make home lattes but this sounds so much better! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

  • I love lattes and saving $. What a great share! Thank you

  • Candy says:

    Just ordered one – can’t wait!

  • Julie Turner says:

    Just ordered mine! Great way to spend the rest of my Amazon giftcard earned from Swagbucks! Thank you for this informative post 🙂

  • carin says:

    thank you! I have had an aeropress for about a year, and I love it… I just followed your directions and I think it’s better than starbucks!!

  • Esther says:

    Love my Aeropress! Per the instructions, you can make up to four shots of espresso at a time. Lattes are great but so are americanos -just add some hot water to the shots of espresso. You can also refrigerate the shots in a glass container and they keep well for a few days, provided they last that long in your household!

  • chris says:

    I am super intrigued with the Aeropress. I live 20 round trip for any coffee shop that is decent (the one 10 miles away is another small town I have almost no occassion to go to either). I am close to 80 miles away from my favorite coffee shop. DH told me that if we moved to the boonies we would get an expresso maker a year later we still haven’t done it. I also think it would be great for making coffee while camping/backpacking.

    Now if you just come up with fraction of the cost substitute for DH and I favorite beer ($8 a six pack) you should be nominated for sainthood Anne.

  • wow, awesome post, it useful for me :))

  • its seems awesome! as a coffee lover i cant wait to try it … i will let you know how was my one’s test. 🙂

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