How to Make the Perfect Latte

Defined as a coffee drink comprised of a combination of espresso and steamed milk, lattes are a popular concoction that can be found in every coffee shop in nearly every corner of the world. But for those moments when venturing out to order your favorite beverage requires too much time, effort or money, knowing how to make the perfect latte in the comfort of your own home can often be considered the next best thing.

The first step to take when making a latte for yourself is to brew a one-ounce shot of espresso -- a strong, concentrated coffee that is brewed by forcing boiling water or steam through finely ground coffee beans -- using an espresso machine.

Then, you will need to steam 8 to 10 ounces of cold milk in a metal pitcher using a steam wand. Fill the pitcher no more than halfway full, allowing plenty of space for the milk to expand as it begins to foam. Place the steam wand just below the surface of the milk and heat it to a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave a thermometer in the pitcher throughout the duration of the steaming process to ensure the milk's temperature doesn't exceed 170 degrees, as it will quickly begin to burn. Moving the pitcher up and down around the tip of the steam wand will slowly create the frothy foam characteristic of the perfect latte.

Once you have finished steaming the milk, carefully pour it over your espresso shot in a tall glass or mug. You should aim for the center of the espresso when pouring and expect to see a fair amount of the foam appearing at the surface of the drink when the espresso and milk have been combined. Follow up by applying finishing touches to your homemade latte with a dusting of your favorite delicacy, such as ground cinnamon or chocolate to boost its visual appeal and enhance its flavor.

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