A raspberry mocha latte is a rich combination of tartly sweet raspberry syrup and bittersweet dark chocolate sauce added steamed milk and a strongly-brewed coffee known as espresso. It is the perfect conclusion to any meal and the perfect start to conversation.
If you are unfamiliar with making espresso drinks at home, it might take a bit of practice to get the hang of pulling the espresso shots and steaming the milk, but once you learn how to do these, you can learn how to make just about any of your coffeehouse favorites from home.
Steaming the Milk and Choosing the Right Kind of Milk
Have a stainless steel steaming pitcher with a reliable food thermometer ready. Next, pour about 10 ounces of milk into the pitcher. Standard lattes use two percent milk, but use any kind based on your preferences.
In coffee language, using skim milk makes a skinny latte and using half-and-half makes a breve latte. Keep in mind that skim milk will steam quicker and make less froth than two percent or whole milk. Soy milk also works well in a latte.
After pouring the milk into the pitcher, hold the food thermometer to the side with your thumb and be sure to keep it upright and in sight throughout the steaming process: nothing smells worse than burnt milk! Gently lift the pitcher up until the steaming wand is at the milk’s surface.
Making Milk Froth and Reaching the Right Temperature
Using your free hand, turn the dial counterclockwise to begin steaming the milk. Lower the pitcher a bit until the wand is just above the surface of the milk, creating a gentle hissing sound with bubbles known as froth. Only a small amount of froth is needed for a latte (and is in fact optional), so after creating froth for a few seconds, you can lift the pitcher up, submersing the steaming wand into the milk.
Keep a close eye on the thermometer and turn the steaming wand off when it reaches 150-160 degrees by turning the dial clockwise. Stopping at this temperature allows the milk room to rise to 170 degrees or drop to 140 degrees. The latte should always be served between 140-170 degrees. Be sure to wipe the steaming wand with a clean, damp cloth immediately after steaming milk.
Raspberry and Mocha: The Sweeter Side of Coffee
It’s time to add some style to the traditional coffee drink. Add about two ounces of raspberry syrup and one and a half ounces of mocha sauce to the mug or cup of your choice. A popular brand for both coffeehouses and family houses is Torani, and you can find many flavors at specialty food stores in a smaller size.
It’s almost time to pull the espresso, but just prior to that, pour the steamed milk into the cup with the syrup, using a spoon to hold back the froth. Be sure to save about two inches of space for the shots of espresso and either froth or whipped cream.
Pulling the Perfect Shots of Espresso
Before attempting to make coffee drinks for all your family and friends, pull test shots and get a feel for your machine. Learning how hard or light to tamp is important.
To pull the best-tasting shots, be sure to grind the espresso beans just prior to making drinks. Load the fresh grinds into the portafilter handle, overfilling it a little, and tamp until it is level before inserting into the espresso machine. If the machine does not have a built-in timer, be sure to time the shots. Only use the espresso shots if they are between 16-26, but shoot for 18-23 seconds.
Immediately after pulling satisfactory shots, pour two (two ounces) into the cup filled with steamed milk and flavoring to save the shots because the espresso begins losing flavor and increases in bitterness in only ten seconds. For less coffee taste, use only one shot of espresso. If an extra shot is desired, use three.
Perfecting the Perfect Drink
It’s almost time to taste your creation. After pouring the espresso into the mug or cup, be sure to stir well to combine the syrup, milk, and espresso. Either spoon froth on top of the completed latte or top with whipped cream. A nice addition to the perfect latte is raspberry and chocolate drizzle, chocolate curls, or cocoa powder on top. If you’re feeling really daring, try all three!
Keep in mind that making a latte does require practice and time to understand exactly how to pull shots of espresso and steam the milk. Be careful not to burn yourself on the equipment, and be sure to practice before offering drinks to your family and friends.