Creamy Caramel Latte, Zero Sugar Option
Warming, sweet and creamy, a Caramel Latte is a tasty indulgence that is easy, and requires no special equipment!
Last year I got some unwelcome news. My blood sugar was trending, just the teeniest bit, into the pre-diabetes range.
And I didn’t like this one bit.
So, this year I’ve resolved to find some nice indulgences that are still good for me. Foods or beverages that don’t break the sugar bank but still feel special. Like this Creamy Caramel Latte!
If you’ve never tried home brewed lattes, they’re easy—with or without the sugar. Either way, it’s a sweet creamy beverage that says “you’re worth it!”
What is a Latte
Per Merriam-Webster, a latte is “espresso mixed with hot or steamed milk.” Sources vary on what the proper ratio is but most have it as a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of espresso to milk.
Now I promised you an option that didn’t require any special equipment, so I’m going to play with this ratio. Otherwise, if you use regular coffee it can get a bit overwhelmed. But more on this later.
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. This takes the great taste of coffee and adds sweet caramel and creamy milk. What’s not to love!
Warming. The warm flavors and warm temperature combine to make this a perfect winter drink!
Healthier Indulgence. If is you’re closely watching your diet, chocolate chip cookies may be off limits, but coffee’s on the good list! Yes! And latte can be too with the zero sugar options I give here!
What You’ll Need
- Caramel syrup. Provides the caramel flavor.
- Strong coffee or espresso. Provides the coffee flavor
- 2% milk. Provides a creamy, milky flavor. You can also use whole milk or almond milk.
- Optional toppings: whipped cream, extra caramel syrup, crushed, grahams, sprinkles
- A blender for frothing (you can shake the milk up in a lidded jar in a pinch)
Step by Step Directions
Prepare strong coffee or espresso. Pour into mug, then add caramel syrup.
Froth the milk, then pour onto the coffee. Let the less foaming milk go in first, followed by the foam.
If desired, top with whipped cream and additional caramel syrup
How is Espresso different from Coffee?
While sources sometimes differ, there is general consensus that, when it comes to the actual beans, there is little difference between espresso and dark roast coffee.
Where the difference comes into play is in the grind (espresso is finer) and brewing method. Espresso is brewed by forcing hot steam through tightly packed, finely ground, dark roast coffee. The result is an intense, and slightly bitter beverage.
Is there an alternative if you don’t have an Espresso Maker?
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use extra coffee and double brew it. To double brew, you simply pour your hot brewed coffee over new fresh ground coffee so that it picks up more flavor. It won’t be as intense as espresso but it will be closer.
The final concession that I make is to lower the milk ratio in the latte. If you are using strong coffee rather than espresso, I tend to go with a 1:1 ratio instead of the classic 1:2 or 1:3. This gives you a milky beverage but still lets the coffee flavor come through.
And have you heard that filtered coffee is healthier? I might have skipped the espresso anyway after learning that filtered coffee is better for you. CNN, citing the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, tells us that “coffee’s not just fine for your health, it may even lengthen your life – but only if you prepare it with a filter (emphasis mine).”
So, while I do have an Espresso Maker, I’ll probably continue to use Double Brewing.
How do I froth milk without special equipment?
There are a lot of options for frothing the milk besides an espresso maker or frothing wand. You can search them on the internet, but the easiest is probably just to blend up the warmed milk in your blender. The foam won’t be quite as thick, but it will still make a nice latte.
What caramel syrup options are there?
If I were eating sugar, I’d use my homemade caramel syrup to make this. Flavorful and easy, it’s made with just sugar, water, butter, milk and vanilla. No shopping trip on that one! It’s thick, but pourable and will work for both the latte and as a topping. In fact you can see it atop the latte in these pictures. But if homemade caramel sounds hard, there are a whole lot of commercial options as well.
For zero sugar I went with a Torani syrup (not sponsored) from their Puremade line. It’s sweetened with erythritol and stevia, two of the sweeteners that many people prefer. The one downside is it’s a thin syrup so won’t give the thick drizzle over the whipped cream if you want that.
How to Serve
A Caramel Latte is lovely for a mid-morning snack break–perhaps with a small cookie or two. Who could use a reward around then?
If you want to indulge at the end of the day but are worried about getting to sleep, consider making a Decaf Caramel Latte! That would cap off my day perfectly!
Variations and Special Diets
You can call your latte finished when you pour the milk foam on top. Or you can top that with whipped cream. And if you’re feeling indulgent drizzle it with some caramel syrup too! Yum!
And since I’m trying to reduce sugar I even made my whipped cream with a sugar substitute!
If you’d like to make a vegan caramel latte, be sure to use a caramel syrup that is dairy free and use a plant-based milk. In an article in Bean Poet, almond milk is recommended as best frothing, though I haven’t personally tried it.
Of course, if caramel isn’t your thing, check out this spicy Pumpkin Chai Latte or Relaxing Lavender Latte.
Tips & FAQs
This recipe fits a smaller mug like a clear Irish Coffee Mug. If you are going with a large mug, you will need to increase the amounts.
- Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Caramel Latte from Art of Natural Living
- Chai Banana Bread from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Gingerbread Lattes from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- New York Crumb Cake from That Recipe
- Raspberry and White Chocolate Iced Latte from Jen Around the World
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Creamy Caramel Latte
- 1 tablespoon caramel syrup regular (see Notes) or Zero Sugar
- ½ cup strong coffee or ¼ cup espresso
- 1/2 cup 2% milk or almond milk
- Optional toppings: whipped cream extra caramel syrup
- Prepare strong coffee or espresso. Pour into mug, then add caramel syrup. If you’re using a thick syrup, stir it in. A thin syrup should disperse on its own.
- Froth the milk, then pour onto the coffee. Let the less foamy milk go in first, followed by the foam.
- If desired, top with whipped cream and additional caramel syrup
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I always have espresso powder for baking, but I’ve never used it to make coffee. I’m going to have to try this now!
I would much rather make my own coffees at home! This looks delicious!
Since I don’t drink tea or coffee (your two most recent posts), I hope hot chocolate/cocoa is next! 🙂
My favorite type of latte! Can’t wait to make it at home myself.
Not too bad on the calorie count!! Better than the coffee shops.
Yes, much better! Now with the whipped cream optional it’s not in the count, but a modest amount of whipped cream isn’t actually that bad either, all that air!