I started my journey back in the late 80's with a simple cup of steamed milk with almond flavor. However, that drink quickly turned into my first latte the day I added that first shot of espresso. When that moment happened, I was hooked for good!
I loved it so much that I even thought about getting my own espresso stand and selling the tasty drink to the public until I priced the venture and checked out all of the details involved, so that goal was one that I put way on the back-burner.
However, I've come to be proficient at making my own hot, foamy lattes and have purchased my own machine for the job. I use an inexpensive espresso machine I bought for about $30 that helps me save tons of money that I would've spent inside one of those infamous coffee houses. I might not be making and selling espresso drinks to the public, but I'm very happy with satisfying my own espresso jones!
I buy my beans in bulk already flavored at one of the local major grocery store chains, so I rarely think about buying syrups. The beans run about $8 a pound. I usually purchase the caramel beans and/or the vanilla beans. I buy my soymilk at my other favorite national retailer, which at the time of this writing, is about $3 for a half-gallon. I figure that every time I make a latte for myself, I'm saving at least $4 a cup.
When I make each latte, I grind the beans in my inexpensive personal grinder. I generally grind them three times. I'm not sure why at this point, but I know that doing that makes them the consistency that I love. I use the fine setting, and one scoop usually makes two huge venti-sized lattes.
I absolutely love steaming the soy milk and watching the foam grow. I love to watch the milk thicken, and when I hear the sound of the foaming process change, I know exactly the moment when it's just the right temperature. That deep, roaring sound gives it away!
Then comes the agave nectar, which I prefer, or sugar stirred into the cup. Finally, I pour half the espresso I made into my cup and save the rest for the next day. Or, if I happen to have a friend enjoying a cup with me, I'll make another one immediately.
Every time I make a fresh latte, it's just like the first time, and it never ever gets old!