As I write this, I’m sitting in my neighborhood cafe, where a latte will run you a painful $4.75. That’s before tip. That’s before making it iced, which bogglingly adds 50 cents to the bill. If you are astounded by that, you are in good company. If you are astounded by it and yet find that you will indeed pay $5.25 for one iced latte, you maybe be in even better company. (And it’s not just New York where this is true.)
This is the conundrum many espresso drinkers face: No espresso machine at home, and no good way of making a proper latte without it. Off we march to the coffee shop to slide a sweaty and rumpled fiver across the counter.
There unfortunately isn’t a good way to get hot, plain espresso at home without a machine. But if you’re an iced latte drinker (and on a sticky summer day, who isn’t) you can head to the grocery store instead of the cafe and spend your daily latte allotment on a jar of espresso powder. With that 2-ounce jar, you can make many delightful iced lattes at home, and use it for lots of other things, like making your own coffee yogurt or whipping it into buttercreams or adding it to brownies. And it will last forever in your pantry.
If you’re more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker, track down a little canister of matcha powder instead. (Stash it in your freezer to stretch its shelf life.) The same technique will work for either matcha or espresso powder—and if you feel inspired to add a little scoop of cocoa powder to the latter for a mocha, well, no one’s stopping you. Ready? Here’s how to make an iced latte at home:
Grab a container with a tightly fitting lid. Because I’m in my 20s and live in Brooklyn, I obviously like a Mason jar for this job, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. Add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder (not instant coffee, but espresso powder; I like Medalgia d’Oro and find it’s pretty widely available) or matcha powder, if you're making a matcah latte. Then add about 6 ounces of milk or alt-milk and a small handful of ice cubes. Don’t skip the ice! Not only does it perform the essential function of making this drink “iced,” but it also helps distribute the powder and makes the drink taste creamier. (Think about how smooth a cocktail shaken with ice is. Same thing!) If you want things to be slightly sweeter, add a bit of honey or sugar now.
Fasten the lid onto your container and shake like the Dickens until the powder is dissolved. You are done. Yes! You are done! That’s it. Remove the lid and slurp away.