How To Make Lattes Without An Espresso Machine

My wife and I lived in Los Angeles in a small apartment three floors above a Starbucks. We went there every day.

Then our daughter was born, and we moved out after that.

We found a home with a backyard. Big enough for the kid and the dog to run. It was far from the city but better for them.

I miss the Starbucks, the close one. That’s where I’d have my whole milk latte with one pump of vanilla. Light on the foam.

The nearest Starbucks here is a thirty-minute drive.

latte made in your kitchen
Homemade Latte Without Espresso Machine

We considered buying an espresso machine. But we left the machine in the store, deciding instead to save money for a European vacation. But the promise of a vacation did nothing to alleviate my steadfast yearning for a latte.

With no espresso machine or nearby Starbucks, I rummaged through our kitchen cabinets, frantically taking inventory of every forgotten impulse buy from the discount rack at Ross Dress For Less.

I tried to white-knuckle my way through late-morning cravings. I was desperate, hoping to find any solution. Then, by a stroke of fortune, a revelation dawned upon me. Perhaps it was fate. Or the universe was whispering. Or maybe it was divine intervention?

My Homemade Latte

Amid scarce resources, a surge of untamed creativity overwhelmed me, allowing me to defy the conventional limitations of an espresso machine.

That’s when I had an idea for a DIY Kitchen Latte!

And if you want to make your own homemade latte, this secret recipe will allow you to savor your latte without leaving the comfort of your kitchen.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Now, let’s brew a Starbucks-style latte right in your kitchen:

STEP 01. Prep Your Coffee Base:

  • Dissolve the instant espresso in a small amount of water.
  • If you don’t have instant espresso, you can try brewing a super strong cup of coffee.
  • (In full disclosure, I never tried making my latte with coffee, so it will probably taste terrible.)

STEP 02. Warm Your Milky Mixture: 

  • Pour your milk and half-and-half into the milk frother.
  • Activate the frother and let it work its magic.
  • At some point during the frothing process, add a tantalizing hint of Starbucks vanilla syrup.

If you don’t have a frother, heat the milk in a microwave or a saucepan, then beat it with a whisk or even a fork. (I honestly have no idea if a fork will work.) So maybe today is a good day to buy a milk frother.

make a latte at home
Instant Espresso, A Milk Frother and Vanilla Syrup

STEP 03. Add Your Instant Espresso: 

  • While the milk and half-and-half are being frothed, add the dissolved instant espresso you prepared in the first step.
  • Let that go until the frother cycle ends.

STEP 04. Pour Your Latte: 

  • Keep the lid on the frother. This will hold back the foam.
  • Pour your latte into a large mug with the lid on.
  • Then, remove the frother lid and add a layer of foam.

STEP 05. Enjoy Your Lattee: 

  • Take small sips and pretend that fancy companies like Starbucks never existed.
  • Then Pretend this is the only latte in existence.
  • Do this every day, and eventually, you will lower your latte standards so much that you’ll think this kitchen concoction is the best in the world.
  • Or you can taste it, walk to your sink, toss your latte down the drain, and then drive 30 minutes to the nearest Starbucks.

Who needs an espresso maker or a fancy coffee shop when you can rummage your kitchen for instant espresso, some Starbucks vanilla syrup, and a trusty milk frother?

Treat yourself to a terrible, pantry-grade latte without wasting gas or waiting for a barista to mispronounce your name.


I once lived the dream above a Starbucks in LA, where my daily vanilla latte was just a staircase away. Then life changed. We moved to the suburbs with more space for my growing family. And that meant saying goodbye to my latte. So I had to improvise.

Frequently Asked Latte Questions

Here are answers to questions you may have about making a kitchen latte.

How do I make a latte like Starbucks at home?

Mix two big spoons of instant espresso with a little water. Warm up some milk and a bit of cream, and add a spoon of vanilla syrup for taste. You don’t need special tools, just something to make the milk bubbly.

What do I need to make a simple latte in my kitchen?

It would be best if you had instant espresso, milk, a bit of cream, and vanilla syrup. If you have something to make the milk foamy, that’s good but not great.

Can I still enjoy my favorite latte if there’s no coffee shop near me?

Not really. But you can try making your favorite latte at home with a few household ingredients like instant coffee, milk, cream, and vanilla syrup. And when you taste it, you can walk to your sink, toss it down the drain, and then drive 30 minutes to the nearest Starbucks.

Should I buy an espresso machine to make a latte at home?

No. That’s a dumb use of money. Don’t buy an espresso machine. You can make a latte at home with instant coffee, milk, cream, and some vanilla syrup. Then, when you taste it, you will likely walk to your sink, toss it down the drain, and then drive 30 minutes to the nearest Starbucks.

How can I make my homemade latte taste good?

You don’t. Your latte will likely taste terrible. You can use vanilla syrup to add flavor to your latte. Mix instant espresso with water, warm milk and cream, and a bit of syrup. It’ll taste okay. But just okay.

What’s a cheap way to enjoy a latte at home?

Making a latte at home with instant espresso, milk, cream, and a little vanilla syrup is a cheap way to make a latte. When you’re done making it, walk to your sink, toss it down the drain, and then drive 30 minutes to the nearest Starbucks.

How can I make latte foam without special tools?

Warm the milk and beat it with a whisk or even a fork until your arm is sore and you properly aggravated your bout of trigger finger. Then mix it with your espresso. Then walk to your sink, toss it down the drain, and then drive 30 minutes to the nearest Starbucks.

Kitchen Latte Glossary

Glossary for people who want to make a kitchen latte.

  • Latte: A type of fancy, milk-based coffee drink that’s creamy
  • Espresso Machine: A coffee maker that makes strong coffee
  • Starbucks: A coffee shop that the author misses
  • DIY Kitchen Latte: A coffee drink made with stuff you find at home that tastes fancy
  • Instant Espresso: A quick coffee powder that you mix with water
  • Milk Frother: A small tool to make milk bubbly and foamy
  • Starbucks Vanilla Syrup: A sweet syrup to make your homemade coffee taste like it has vanilla flavor, just like at Starbucks.