Cafe au Lait, aka Latte : How to Make it at Home
A few years ago our drip coffee maker bit the dust. As this was the type of machine I had always used to make coffee, I suggested to Nick that we go to the department store and replace it. He had a different suggestion, which turned out to be a much better idea!
We hit College Street in Little Italy for an item that is called a “Moka Pot”, also known as a Macchinetta, which means ‘little machine’ in Italian. These were first invented in 1933 and are not expensive to purchase. And boy, do they make terrific coffee. I have mentioned before that coffee is my favourite beverage, so I know what I’m talking about on this topic! ;)
Basically, the pot is made up of three pieces. (1)The bottom chamber, into which you add the water. (2)A filter basket that fits into this bottom chamber. (3)And a top pot, with a perforated bottom, that screws onto the bottom part. There’s a rubber ring that ensures a tight fit.
To make your coffee, you fill the bottom part with water up to the ‘pressure escape valve’. Then you put your finely ground coffee into the filter part. (We grind whole coffee beans at home but you can use pre-ground coffee, if you prefer, as long as it is finely ground).
Then you screw on the top and put it on the stove. We set the burner to high. The way to tell if your coffee is done is by listening. In about 7 minutes, you hear when it’s done by this rapid boiling/steamy sound. (Don’t worry, you’ll know what I mean when you try it).
What happened inside your little pot to make the coffee is the hot water in the bottom chamber was pressurized by stream to pass through the coffee. There’s a wiki page about this type of coffee maker here
So, that’s what I use to make my Cafe Au Lait (aka Latte), which is one drink you can make from the coffee produced with a Machinetta. We also regularly enjoy espresso and cappuccino, and just regular coffee, made using it.
To make a large cup of cafe au lait: heat about 1 cup of milk in a pot on the stove or in the microwave oven for about 1.5 minutes, until very warm but not boiling. I like sugar in mine, so add 2 teaspoons or so to the hot milk and stir to combine.
To make one large cup (or bowl, as it is served in France), just top up the cup of milk with coffee. If you want to make two smaller portions, split the heated milk between two regular sized cups and then pour in the coffee.
It’s so easy, and really delicious. And it’s a fraction of the cost of going to a coffee shop, plus you don’t have to get out of your pyjamas!