When you’re craving your usual pick-me-up from Starbucks but can’t have it, the start of your day is just a little off. Thankfully, making a latte can be broken down into three steps that can easily be done from the comfort of your kitchen — and with this method, the only equipment you’ll need is a French press ($13). It’s not rocket science, but as a former barista, I’ll caution you to be patient with yourself and not throw in the towel if it isn’t perfect after your first try!
First things first: you’ll need to get the caffeine brewing. A classic latte uses one to two shots of espresso, but if you don’t have any instant espresso on hand, a bit of strong coffee will do just fine. After brewing the good stuff (feel free to use your preferred method, or whatever works best for what you have at home), you’ll want to start the process of steaming your milk. The easiest method is to pop your mug into the microwave for 30 seconds (or until warm), but using a saucepan on the stovetop creates a smoother taste in my opinion. Either way, you’re looking for the milk to be very warm — but not boiling. Once your milk is nice and toasty, you’ll want to take a small portion of it and move it into your French press, and the rest can be poured over your espresso.
Tea blogger Jee from Oh, How Civilized says that in order to create an abundance of foam, you’ll want to make sure you allow enough room in your French press for the milk to really froth. Once you’re set, all you need to do is pump the press repeatedly until the milk rises to form a layer of beautiful foam. It may get a little messy, but that’s OK — your perfect latte is in the works. The frothing process should only take a minute or so, and once you’ve successfully generated your desired amount of foam, you can use a spoon to scoop it out and place it atop your mug.
When choosing a milk to froth, it’s important to note that most dairy milks will get the job done (skim milk is the easiest to get to foam), but not all alternative milks will deliver the same results. Foam is the fluffy goodness that makes a latte so irresistible, so if you’re looking to create a lot of it with a nondairy milk, I’d suggest using coconut, macadamia nut, or oat milk. Stay caffeinated, and happy frothing!
This story originally appeared on Popsugar.food.