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Like many people who began drinking coffee as teenagers, Emily and I first came to love coffee in its most saccharine (and, usually, frozen) forms. Though we both regularly drink black coffee these days, we do go out occasionally for more ridiculous (translate: really, really good) coffee drinks.

Every now and then we make them at home, too. Several years ago, we bought a moka pot after realizing that good espresso makers cost several hundred dollars and tend to take up all of the counter space in any affordable apartment. While moka pots don’t produce true espresso — they produce coffee under far less pressure than the standard espresso — they produce a coffee extraction ratio that is very similar and is much stronger than conventionally brewed coffee. The pot has worked well for years, and we’ve always been satisfied with the coffee it produces.

We’ve created several coffee recipes over the years that we’ll be sharing on this blog, but one of our favorites is these simple cinnamon vanilla lattes. The cinnamon adds a hint of warmth to a coffeehouse standard, and it works well whether you make it sweet or slightly bitter. They’re particularly great for cold winter days when you want a fancy coffee drink but don’t feel like leaving the house.

The bonus? It’ll taste better than most of the things that you’ll get when going out – and it’ll cost a whole lot less.

cinnamon vanilla lattes

Makes 2 large (16-ounce) lattes

While we recommend using a milk frother to produce your milk foam, there are a number of alternate methods you can use to froth milk. The microwave method works particularly well and is quite unfussy, though note that you’ll need to use 2% or fat-free milk for best results.

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sugar (or 4 for a very sweet latte)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) espresso
  • 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small pan, combine the sugar, vanilla and 6 ounces of the frothed milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Add the remaining 6 ounces of milk and the cinnamon to the pan and continue to heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam. Remove from heat.

Divide the freshly brewed espresso between two 16-ounce glasses or mugs. Evenly distribute the steamed milk between the glasses, using a spoon to scoop foam on top of each drink. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top of each glass, if desired, and serve.