Let us start with your basic espresso making essentials. If you don't have an espresso tamper and a milk frothing pitcher, you should stock up now. The tamper mat is definitely worthwhile for the longevity of your countertop and tamper, not to mention ease of use. Get the kit we use above here.
Our go to coffee, in the office, at home(yes all of us) and whenever we are in the neighborhood, they make great coffee on the spot, hence where the "Cafe Blend" comes from. Ever you are ever in the West Village or by St. Marks Porto Rico Importing Co a visit!
You want a fine grind of coffee generally for espresso and want it freshly ground each time before making coffee, or for peak freshness store your ground coffee in the filter. Most coffee shops will grind your beans for you and will even know what fineness to grind to if you tell them what coffee machine or device your using(Stovetop espresso, french press, espresso machine, Nespresso). For our Espresso machine we grind it in an electric grinder for 30 seconds.
Now take that coffee scooper we just had and flip into your espresso makers' portafilter. Some machines will have a line for where to fill with ground coffee too, others you have to wing it until you find your desired strength and taste. For us. we are packing it just below the brim of the portafilter.
With your ground coffee filling your portafilter to the desired height, take your espresso tamper and push down hard on ground coffee. If you are using a smaller home machine, the makers may advise about not packing your coffee too tightly. Yes, you totally do see baristas in coffee shops putting their whole body weight on the espresso tamper, but their espresso machines have a much higher BARs rating and allow for this(BARs is essentially the pressure limit of your machine...a good machine will have BARs between 7 and 15 if not higher). In our case we are still pushing down pretty hard. Tip: If you dont have a distributor(we don't) we give the portafilter a little shake and knock on the side to evenly spread the ground coffee, before packing it down.
After pushing down on the espresso tamper, we get this beautifully pressed coffee filled portafilter ready for our espresso machine. Before lifting our tamper up, we have found spinning it prevents any remnants of coffee from sticking to the bottom of the tamper.
When we see the first drip on our espresso machine, we get our milk ready in the pitcher to be steamed. We have found for a double espresso pouring milk to the 4oz line is the perfect. Everyone has their own coffee to milk ratio though.
Now that is frothed milk for a latte! Now let us pour it into our coffee mug so we can add our espresso which should be just about done dripping.
And to combine it all together just like a barista. We brought the barista home, now you can too.
And viola we have the perfect latte! We didn't go through any fancy latte art like a leaf or heart design, instead kept it simple with the signature center drop. If you don't already have an espresso tamper or espresso making kit, order yours HERE.