Good coffee on the cheap

I know that there are many of you out there that stop off at your favorite coffee shoppe, either chain or locally owned, and pick up your favorite latte as you head off to work. I have been a stay-at-home mom for years but love a good latte in the morning. Add to that I live in a housing development out-of-town, so it takes quite the effort to drive to town to get the venti, caramel macchiato, or almond joy latte to start my morning.

Through trial and error, I believe that I can make a comparable latte at home. It takes just a couple of things that you may or may not have around the house. If you want to have that coffee-house taste at home, continue reading.

You do not need an expensive espresso maker that has the steamer attached. My coffee is made with a $25.00 stove top espresso maker. I tend to like my coffee so I use a 16 oz. maker and make one BIG latte. The other thing you need is a milk frother. I have a Bodum Brand which costs $20.00. Those are you two major expenses – $45.00 – the cost of  6-8 venti lattes at your chain coffee shop. With those two items, and flavoring extract from your spice cabinet, the skies the limit.

I choose a nice, dark, coffee to brew. I do not purchase espresso. Most of my coffee is purchased through Gevalia so I use both beans and already ground, depending if I want a flavored coffee or a not. For a nice strong coffee use 3 Tbls. for 16 oz. of water. Put the maker on your burner, turn on the flame and wait for it to perk up. Now take you frother and add 8 oz. of skim milk (skim milk froths best). Put it in your microwave and heat it for approximately 2 minutes (you will get a feel for your own likes) I like my milk to have that almost scalded flavor. After it comes out of the microwave, put the lid (frother) on the container and froth away.

I like my lattes skinny so I use two packets of sweet n low to my drink which is the 16 oz. of coffee and the 8 oz. of milk.  (See photo of my cup) I like flavors so I get into my spice cabinet and choose from the numerous flavor extracts I have. My favorite is an Almond Joy. While you can use chocolate syrup, it will leave syrup on the bottom of the cup no matter how well you mix it. I prefer Watkins Chocolate Extract. (Watkins is the only company I can find that makes chocolate extract.) So, chocolate extract, almond extract and coconut extract. I put in the sweetener, the extract, the coffee and then the milk and froth. You can use any flavorings you want and if you want a nice summer drink, add ice.  One of my venti drinks (24 oz) sets my day off with alittlecaffeine, milk for my bones and a sweet way to start my day. 

While I don’t always know how many calories I am getting from the coffee shoppe lattes, I know exactly what goes into my coffee. The calorie count for my drink is less than 100 calories. There are basically no calories in the flavoring, sweetener or coffee. The only calories are in the milk and it tastes fabulous.

Most kitchen stores will have the stove top espresso maker and frother. And to find Watkins dealers in your area, go to It is such an easy solution to saving money and having a great latte at your convenience.


2 thoughts on “Good coffee on the cheap

  1. Linsey Knerl says:

    Great tips! I hadn’t thought of using a stop top maker. Can you tell me which one you own?


    • jvhorn says:

      The brand maker I have is Valira. I bought it when we lived in Spain. I just saw a similar maker at Target this morning. Bialetti looks like a popular brand on the internet.


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