One of our beloved sweet drinks we order when out in a coffee shop is a caramel latte; it’s a comforting and smooth drink that satisfies our sweets craving every time —and there’s the bonus of the caffeine from the espresso!
It is such a simple drink to learn that when quarantine happened and everything was closed, we invested in a few coffee paraphernalia and started making our cup of coffee and, dare we say, the caramel latte recipe — we had it in a bag!
Here, we’ll guide you step by step in making the best caramel latte you will ever make at a fraction of the cost.
Making the Caramel
To spruce up your homemade caramel latte experience, here is a tried and tested caramel syrup recipe that we swear by.
You can use it solely for your caramel latte at home, but it could also be used for breakfast foods: in place for maple syrup for your pancakes, or do a slight drizzle for your French toast.
All you need is 1 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt or any salt available.
First, combine the water and sugar on a small saucepan and set the stove in low heat.
Stir constantly to avoid the sugar burning for 8 to 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
Turn the heat up a notch to medium heat, cover the saucepan, and boil for 3 minutes.
When the 3 minutes is over, pour the remaining 1/4 cup of water slowly in the saucepan as you stir constantly.
Stir in the vanilla extract and sprinkle the sea salt.
Et voila! You have yourself a caramel made from scratch.
After it cools, transfer it to a sealed container, and it can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Making the Espresso
To counteract and neutralize a caramel latte’s sweetness, one needs to make espresso because using a strong coffee would not suffice.
In making the espresso, you will need an espresso roast coffee and an espresso machine; of course, not everyone has that fancy espresso machine sitting around their counters, so a manual espresso maker, a French press, and even an Aeropress would do.
Make the espresso as always and making sure that the water is just not filtering the beans; after that, you are ready to go and have your caramel latte at a fraction of the cost every day or at least three times a week!
Considerations on the Milk
Milk is an important part of every latte but with a caramel latte choosing milk for this latte recipe is pretty flexible.
Whole milk, 2% milk, 3% milk, and even vegan alternatives like oat, soy, almond milk; the list is endless.
A caramel latte is probably one of the most forgiving coffee options when looking for vegan alternatives and substitutions.
For people without any frothing tools, a sure-fire way to frothing milk quickly is warming up the milk on a microwave or a stovetop and then whisking it vigorously until large bubbles start to appear.
- Caramel Syrup
- Espresso or any strong brewed coffee
- Whipped cream
- To start, make the espresso using a specialized espresso machine, a manual espresso maker, a French press, or an Aeropress.
- While waiting for the espresso, drizzle some caramel sauce or caramel syrup on the sides of a tall glass.
- Put ice on the glass however much you want it, either filled to the brim or halfway.
- Add the espresso shot or the strong coffee followed by the milk of your choosing.
- Stir carefully.
- Combine milk with the brown coffee, and mix it with caramel sauce or caramel syrup.
- Top with whipped cream on top and drizzle some caramel sauce for a coffee shop experience at home.
- This step is optional.
- If you want a simple iced caramel latte, ditch the whipped cream and simply add ice as much as you wish.
Tips and Tricks for the best Caramel Latte
Of course, you already read about the trick of adding ice to your hot drink, especially on a hot day, turning your sweet and comforting drink into a sweet and refreshing drink.
If you would instead not have added salt on your homemade caramel sauce or are using store-bought caramel syrup instead, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt or kosher salt in your drinks.
Regarding store-bought caramel syrup, if you want to use the exact caramel syrup Starbucks uses, go for the Torani brand Classic Caramel Syrup; it is available to purchase online and in specialty coffee supplies stores.
What is Caramel Latte and a Caramel Cappuccino?
These beverages are made with four same ingredients: espresso, caramel sauce or syrup, and milk and foam.
If you consider the milk and the foam as the same, it’s essentially made of three of the same ingredients.
The difference between them is that a cappuccino usually has more milk foam, so this is the drink of choice for people who is fond of lighter and foamier drinks.
Lattes have foam in them but not too much.
Cappuccinos have a milk ratio of 2:2 for equal parts foam and milk, while lattes usually have 90% of milk in them and only 10% foam.
What is the difference between a Caramel Latte and a Caramel Macchiato?
They may sound the same, but they are different in essence.
A caramel latte is made with a combination of espresso, caramel syrup, and steamed milk; these ingredients are usually mixed together in a glass or mug.
On the other hand, a caramel macchiato is treated like any other macchiato, whereas they are “stained” with milk.
A caramel macchiato is usually pouring the mix of milk and caramel first on glass or a mug and then pouring the espresso directly on the middle for a bit of espresso mark to appear on the foam.