To make a good coffee, a great place to start is… good coffee. There are a whole host of different beans from around the world available, so try as many as you can. We love our Café Bonte coffee bean range. Coffee is a personal thing and we all have our own preferences. However, for milk-based drinks like lattes, we recommend selecting a blend with a small Robusta content – if you go for 100% Arabica you may not experience a strong coffee flavour. Lattes normally contain a double shot of espresso, so you’ll need about 16 grams of ground beans (8 grams per shot). It is important to grind your beans as close to making your coffee as possible; this will help to keep the coffee fresh. As soon as the beans are ground they begin to oxidise and will start losing flavour. Try to avoid the temptation to save time and grind in big batches.
The milk counts for more than two thirds of a latte, so choose carefully. Low fat milks can be chosen if you’re watching your weight, or alternatives like soy milk, almond or coconut make a tasty substitute for those with special dietary requirements such as lactose intolerance. All of these can be steamed well but with differing protein and sugar levels, the results will vary. There really is no substitute for fresh, full cream milk and for the richest latte, this is our recommendation. To steam the milk, you’ll need a jug big enough so that your milk only takes up about a third of the volume. This ratio means that there is enough milk to get it foaming properly but also sufficient space for the milk to expand into. To begin with, place the steam arm just beneath the surface of the milk for a few initial quick purges, before plunging the arm deeper and towards the side of the jug. This should create the best movement of the milk for the ultimate silky texture. For a latte, you don’t want the milk to become too frothy; a nice thin layer of tight foam (approximately 1cm) is the perfect amount.
Getting the temperature right is more crucial than you might think. Whilst you want to avoid a lukewarm latte, overheating the milk could result in a burnt flavour, so avoid doing this at all costs. To get it just right, attach a clip-in thermometer to your milk jug, and stop when it reaches 60 degrees.
For the full barista experience, no matter how great your coffee tastes, it needs to look the part too. The most basic way to do this is simply to choose a nice cup or glass to serve it in, which will give an instant coffee-shop feeling. Put the espresso shots into your cup before adding the milk. Begin pouring in the milk from a relatively high position and try to pour in a circular motion to maximise mixing with the coffee. As you continue pouring, lower the jug and steepen the angle as you go. Once you’ve mastered this, you can finish the look completely by getting experimental with some latte art!
Commercial Coffee Machines
Of course, this whole process requires a quality coffee machine. At Liquid Line we offer a range of commercial coffee machines suitable for your office or workplace. So whether you’re looking to keep your employees happy, attract new clients or entertain current ones, the perfect latte made using one of our commercial coffee machines could be just what it takes.