You have managed to get the latest flirt of yours over for a dinner that you prepared. He/she is generally impressed with the food but you feel that something more is needed to finish the meal off perfectly. "Would you like a coffee?", you ask and your flirt happily accepts your offer. Great! If only you could pull off a really impressive coffee... Well, you can! This Instructable shows you how to make a very impressive looking caffe latte, and it's dead easy too!
Feel free to ask questions, comment and critizise. This is my first Instructable, so please be gentle...
EDIT: I just bumped into this similar Instructable. I had not seen it before, and I do think the two instructables are different enough to warrant co-existing.
Step 1: What You Need...
1.Some way of making espresso coffee
Personally I prefer a stove top Moka. I'm sure any other way of making an espresso will be equally fine though.
2. A good strong espresso roast coffee
Which one is a matter of taste. I favor a local coffee roaster here in London as I generally like supporting small local businesses, and their coffee is amazing!
3. A pot and a good whisk
The best way in my opinion to get nice milk froth. I have not tried to make this coffee with steamed milk, but I expect it will be the same.
4. Skimmed milk
Now this is important!! I figured out how to make this specific caffe latte by accident once when I had ran out of my regular milk and used my flatmate's skimmed milk. You must use skimmed milk!! I have not managed to get the same result using semi skimmed or regular milk! (Please let me know if you do somehow though :) )
5. A heat proof drinking glass
The impressive part of this caffe latte is it's looks, so we need to see the coffee and thus we pour it into a glass. Make sure you use a glass that is heat proof, and won't shatter from the heat of the milk and coffee. I will not take responsibility for you failing to do so when following this Instructable!
A pair of scissors
Step 2: While the Coffee Is Brewing, Whisk That Milk!
Making the perfect espresso is an art I do not pretend to master. I will therefore not delve into detail on the coffee brewing. However, once you have prepared the right amount of coffee, packed it appropriately etc. and it is actually brewing, you have some time on you hands while you wait for it to finish. Time to make some milk froth!
Pour roughly the equivalent of half a glass of milk into the pot. I usually put a bit more, but generally get some left over. Put the pot on the hob and turn the heat to medium-high. Continuously whisk the milk during the heating. This has two purposes, we create froth and it keeps the milk from burning. Don't stop whisking (You'll get great lower arm muscles after making a bunch of these :) ) until the milk has reached it's boiling point. You will notice when it does reach it's boiling point because the froth you have made so far will create an air tight cover on top of the non frothy milk which will start rising when the milk starts boiling. So when you see your froth start rising, take the pot off the hob and turn off the heat. The end result should be a thick fluffy froth floating on top of non frothy milk.
By now your coffee should be done too!
EDIT: Look in the comments section on the intro page of the Instructable for some useful input from mrtentaclenun regarding if you should or shouldn't bring the milk to the boil. Then let your taste buds decide!
Step 3: Pour Hot Milk Into the Glass
Pour milk into the glass. By this I mean the non frothy milk from underneath the milk froth. You can use the whisk to hold the froth back if it seems like it wants to go first, but my experience is that the milk naturally comes out first from underneath the froth when you pour from the pot. Pour a little less than half the glass.
Step 4: Pour the Froth Into the Glass
Pour froth into the glass, on top of the milk. I find that I have to use the whisk to push the froth from the pot into the glass. Put froth until the glass is almost full. When we pour the coffee in, it will compact the froth somewhat.
Step 5: Pour in the Coffee
Carefully pour in the coffee. Aim for the center of the glass, and pour rather slowly. As through magic the coffee will form a layer in between the milk and the froth!
Step 6: How Does It Work?
Well, to be completely honest I haven't done any scientific research on the matter, but my background in physics tells me that the froth gets a lower density that the milk, and the density of the coffee ends up to be just in between. This allows the coffee to sink through the froth, but float on top of the milk.
As far as my testing goes this only works with skimmed milk. If I use semi skimmed or regular milk the coffee sinks through the froth but instantly mixes with the milk. The fatter milk must have a density closer to that of the coffee, and thus they mix easily.
It should also be noted that the difference in density when using skimmed milk is not big as you will find that the coffee and milk easily blends when you stir it.
Step 7: Adding That Little Extra Touch (Optional)
Back to impressing your flirt! If you feel confident enough, you can turn this already impressive cuppa into a flirting move much more graceful than winking an eye ("Is something stuck in your eye, or have you got a tic?")
Grab a pair of scissors and cut a stencil out of some paper. The flirty style would mean cutting a heart shape, like in my example images, but other shapes or maybe text, should be fine too. Add a little froth (Hopefully you have a little left, otherwise whisk some new :) ) on top of the caffe latte to cover up where you poured the coffee in, and hold you stencil just above the surface of the froth. Powder some ground cinnamon over your stencil and voila, a subtle but yet direct message of love, hopefully leading to cuddling in the sofa...
Good luck! Happy frothing!