So, I'm usually a pourover-coffee drinker, and I know a little bit more about that side of the spectrum … but lately (somewhat to my own shame) I've gotten into Starbucks lattes. Like, ‘more than one a day,’ into. I've got an old Nespresso machine from when I first started drinking coffee and espresso, and didn't know which I'd like more (I took both straight at the time.)

I've started trying to make my own lattes at home with the Nespresso, to save money and time, but I have no idea what I'm doing, and I'm having terrible results. Most importantly, I can't figure out how a Starbucks barista is getting twenty ounces of final product, from two shots of espresso. When I'm using the Nespresso (pull one ‘latte’, pull a second ‘lungo’ into the latte), I get maybe 9oz of coffee-product; and that's stretching the phrase, as it's basically slightly-coffee-tainted steamed-milk. (It's barely even brown!)

Help me get from where I am, to having a drinkable 20+oz beverage, without having to pull like 6 shots of espresso (and 450mg of caffeine) into my travel mug? /=

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1 Answer 1


Assuming you are not planning to buy a lot more machinery, you can simply use the Nespresso to make espresso - depending on your preferred strength, two to three shots should be what you need for your 20 oz mug. A Starbucks “Venti” is named for the twenty oz volume and contains three shots.

But that's basically a puddle in your mug:
You need to fill the other 16 oz. and you do that with steamed (foamy) milk. If you wanted to do this "correctly", you would use the steam wand of your espresso machine - which the Nespresso doesn't have, I presume.

  • If you have an immersion blender, preferably with a disk, heat (not boil!) your milk and whizz it until you get soft foam.
  • Other options are a stovetop or electric milk frother - the manual pump-action ones are available for the price of four to five Starbucks coffees, the electric ones cost a bit more.
  • Do not buy one of these teeny-tiny hand-held flimsy wire-whisk stirrers, they are a funny gadget but not sturdy enough for daily use and large volumes of milk.

The milk-to-foam-to-espresso ratio is up to you, find what you like best. I suggest starting somewhere at about two thirds milk / one third foam plus three shots and tweak your drink until you find your preferred recipe.

For more inspiration, see this answer over at Seasoned Advice.

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