Nailing the perfect latte sounds like a fine art, but it all starts with the right machine. Much like anything, careful preparation and the right tools are key.
Despite what your corner barista might tell you, the recipe for a latte really isn’t that complicated. Essentially it’s just two ingredients: an espresso coffee and some steamed milk.
Don’t be fooled, though. The preparation and delivery of that latte is something of an art form.
Like any art form, having the proper tools and supplies can make the difference between an appealing latte that you can’t wait to drink and a milky mess that you’ll probably want to spit out instead.
When it comes to what kind of milk you want to use, it’s really up to personal choice. If you’re after a thick foam you typically want to opt for a full-fat variety, but there’s nothing wrong with using alternative milk types depending on your dietary or allergy requirements. Just know that your milk choice has the potential to make or break your café-style latte.
If you’re after that authentic café-style experience, you’re going to need a few tools first.
Breville The Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel BES840BSS $599
The choice is yours as to whether you adopt a fully integrated machine into your espresso making or not. There’s definitely a convenience play in having a machine do it all for you, but of course that does mean you’re trusting in its settings. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine promises precise infusion, or the ability to pre-infuse ground coffee for a better balance of flavour with maximum extraction, as well as temperature control and a high-pressure steaming element for a café-perfect milk froth. With a $600+ price tag the cost might be prohibitive, but if you do decide to invest, you can expect a professional-level cuppa.
DeLonghi Icona Pump Espresso Coffee Machine ECO310BK, $159.00
The alternative approach here is to buy a machine that you add your own ground beans into, giving you more control over the process. De’Longhi’s Icona ECO310BK is a compact option which could be a good match if you’re working with limited kitchen bench space.
Cowalkers 600ml Milk Frothing Jug $22.99
Milk is the other part of the latte experience you need to cover off, and while some machines do come with a small jug, if you’re making lattes for more than one person, you’ll need something with a bit more capacity. Sunbeam’s stainless steel milk frothing jug should do the trick nicely, whether you’re making multiple lattes for a group – or just for yourself.
Zolay Manual Coffee Grinder $22.99
If all this talk of automation isn’t for you, you’re going to want to grind your own beans your own way, and that means using a manual coffee grinder. The Zolay Manual Grinder uses ceramic burrs that it claims last up to 5x longer than stainless steel ones, with precise control over your grind no matter what style you prefer.
De’Longhi Nespresso – Lattissima One, Capsule Coffee Machine, EN650B $329.00
The lazy person’s – or possibly time-poor if we’re being generous – way to at-home lattes is via a capsule machine. The De’Longhi Nespresso Grand Lattissima promises easy one-touch customisable latte creation, along of course with a range of other coffee options depending on your taste. If you need your latte fast and without fuss and you’re happy with the taste of capsule coffee, it’s your easiest option – but again it passes the $650 mark, meaning at-home coffee perfection doesn’t come cheap.
Editor’s note: Descriptions and features are as taken from manufacturer/seller claims on Amazon.
As Lifehacker editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Lifehacker often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.