What is a Latte (A Delicious and Popular Coffee Drink!)

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Johny Morrisson

Latte is a famous milky coffee drink prepared with one or two shots of Espresso a lot of steamed milk and thin a layer of milk foam on top. As well as, there are many variations of Latte that can be made by adding Vanilla Syrup, Caramel sauce, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Drizzle, Whipped Cream, etc.

Lattes are the top choice for Americans when they order in a coffee shop. According to a survey more than 38% of Americans said that Latte is their go-to coffee drink.


From crafting lattes in your own kitchen to savoring their subtle flavors, this guide covers it all. I’ll brew up some latte history, look at different varieties from classic to flavored, and discuss what gives the latte its signature silky texture.

How to Make Latte

Looking to whip up a latte at home? It’s easier than you might think!

What you need

To make the perfect latte, you’ll need a few key ingredients; espresso, milk, and a flavoring of your choice (optional).

  • Espresso machine
  • Steaming Wand or Milk frother
  • 14-18 grams coffee grounds
  • 6-10 oz Whole Milk

What Coffee beans are best for Latte

Medium-dark or dark roasted beans are best for a latte as they offer rich and strong flavor profiles that pair well with the creaminess of the milk. Beans from Latin American origins like Colombia, Brazil, or Guatemala work well. Their medium-bodied, nutty, and chocolatey notes complement dairy milk nicely.

What Milk is Best for Latte

Whole milk is the best choice for Latte as it has a rich and creamy texture that prepares a smooth and velvety latte. It also has a slightly sweet taste that complements the bitterness of the espresso.

If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or cutting down calories from your diet there are plenty of non-dairy milk options that work well in lattes, such as almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk.

What Sweeteners or Syrups to use in Latte

Various flavors of syrup can be added to a latte, including Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, Hazelnut, or Pumpkin Spice. I personally like to add Vanilla syrup to my Latte as it adds depth to the drink with a subtle sweetness.

In addition to syrups, you can also use sweeteners in lattes. White granulated sugar is a simple and common sweetener, but some people prefer to use natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar.

Generally, a latte should be made with a ratio of a double shot of espresso (2 -2.5 oz) to 6-10 oz of steamed milk and 1 cm of foam and served in a 12 oz wide cup.

Step by Step Instructions:

1- Prepare Espresso: Pull a double shot of espresso with your espresso machine using 14-18 grams of finely ground coffee grounds.

You can use Moka Pot or French Press to make strong coffee if you don’t have an Espresso machine. Make sure to use a high coffee ratio so that coffee flavors are not subdued by milk.

2. Prepare the Milk: Fill the steaming pitcher with 8-10 oz cold milk. Position the steam wand just below the surface of the milk, and turn on the steam. As the milk starts to heat up, slowly lower the pitcher to create a swirling motion.

This will help distribute the heat evenly and create a velvety texture. The milk should be steamed to around 130-150°F, which is the optimal temperature for a latte.

Steam the milk

3- Combine: Pour the steamed milk into the latte cup over the freshly pulled shots of espresso. Hold the pitcher about 6 inches above the cup, and pour the milk in a steady stream.

Try to pour in a way that creates a latte art pattern if you desire.

4- Top with Foam: Scoop a small amount of the frothed milk from the top of the steamed milk in the pitcher, and place it on top of the latte.

This creates a contrast in texture and makes the drink more flavorful.

Add flavorings, syrups, or toppings if desired. You can add a variety of flavorings such as vanilla or caramel syrup to refine the taste of your latte. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa powder on top for added flavor and decoration.

What does Latte taste like?

Lattes have a smooth and creamy taste with a little Coffee touch. The espresso lends the drink a slight bitterness, while the milk imparts sweet and creamy flavors. The frothed milk on top adds textural contrast and gives a beautiful look to the drink.

Well, to be honest, not everyone may love the taste of a latte. For strong coffee lovers, the sweetness and creaminess of the milk may be too overpowering with just a little hint of Espresso.

Personally, I Like the Espresso-forward taste of the Cappuccino or Cortado more than the Latte.

What does Latte taste like

How to Froth Milk for Latte

You’ll need an Espresso machine with steaming for the perfect froth.

Here are some tips:

  • The first step is to purge the steam. This will discard any milk that is present in the wand from the previous brew.
  • Keep the steaming wand straight and insert it right in the middle of the steaming pitcher.
  • Hold the steam wand at a slight tilt again. This will create a vortex effect that is very important for the microform.
  • Keep steaming the milk until the temperature reaches the range of 130-140 degrees. That is the perfect milk temperature for Latte!
  • After steaming, tap and swirl the pitcher. This will remove all the large air bubbles that might be present in the milk.
  • And lastly, don’t wait too long before pouring milk as the milk loses its velvety texture with time.

How to make Latte art

Latte art is like drawing on a tiny canvas! Except the canvas is a cup of hot, steaming coffee and the paintbrush is frothed milk.

Latte art is also an excuse to show off your artistic skills and impress your friends. You can create heart shapes, rosettas, and even unicorns if you’re feeling fancy.

Leaves Latte Art
Heart Latte art
Rosetta Latte art

Here are some tips for a perfect Latte art:

  • Hold the frothed milk pitcher with your dominant hand, and the espresso cup with the other hand.
  • Slowly pour the milk into the espresso shot, starting from the center and moving outward. Keep the pitcher close to the surface of the coffee to create a white canvas.
  • Once you’ve filled the cup about 2/3 of the way with milk, tilt the pitcher slightly and create your design on the surface of the latte with the frothed milk. Remember to pour slowly and steadily, using small movements to create your desired design.
  • Once you’ve finished your design, gently tap the bottom of the cup on the counter to settle the milk foam and create a smooth surface.
  • Finally, admire your creation, take a picture for Instagram (if you want), and enjoy your delicious latte art creation.

And don’t worry if your first attempts at latte art end up looking like a Rorschach test or a map of the London Underground.

It takes practice to perfect those silky swirls and delicate foam lines. But once you nail it, you’ll feel like the Leonardo da Vinci of coffee.

Options for Frothing Milk Without Steaming Wand

While a steaming wand is the best for frothing milk and designing Latte art. But if you don’t have it, here are some other ways to froth milk.

Automatic Milk Frothers: Automatic Milk frothers are available in the markets that use a motorized whisk to create frothed milk. It’s a convenient and easy-to-use device that can froth milk with just the touch of a button.

To use the device, you simply pour cold milk into the frothing container, attach the lid, and press the button to start the frothing process.

The motorized whisk inside the container will spin and create froth, and the heating element in the base will warm the milk to the desired temperature.

Use a Whisk or Hand Mixer: Heat the milk in a saucepan and then use a whisk or hand mixer to create froth by vigorously whisking the milk until it becomes foamy.

Using a jar with a lid: Pour the desired amount of milk into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the jar vigorously for about 30 seconds until the milk becomes frothy.

Using a French press: Heat the milk and then pour it into a French press. Pump the plunger up and down rapidly for about 30 seconds to create froth.

Using an immersion blender: Heat the milk and then use an immersion blender to create froth by blending the milk until it becomes thick and frothy.

What is an Iced Latte?

An iced latte is a refreshing, chilled version of the traditional latte. It combines shots of espresso with cold milk to create a sweet, creamy, and cooling iced coffee drink.

To make an iced latte:

  • Prepare a double shot of espresso and let it chill completely.
  • Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. This chills the drink and dilutes it slightly as the ice melts.
  • Pour the chilled espresso over the ice. The amount of espresso depends on the size of the drink. A standard double shot works for 12-16 oz.
  • Froth cold milk in a blender or with a whisk. Whole milk or 2% milk work best. The milk adds sweetness to balance the espresso.
  • Add frothed milk on top and Sweeten with sugar syrup or simple syrup if desired. Vanilla or Hazelnut Syrups pair well with Iced Lattes.
  • Garnish with cocoa powder or cinnamon. Add a fun straw and enjoy!
Iced Latte

The History and Origins of Latte

Latte, also known as café latte, is a popular espresso-based drink that is believed to have originated in Italy in the 19th century.

Interestingly, Caffe Latte was not always a popular drink in Italy. In fact, it was often considered a drink for children or for those who couldn’t handle the strong taste of espresso.

The latte became popular in the United States in the 1980s, and it was often served in large ceramic mugs.

When in Italy, it’s important to note that “latte” actually means just “milk” in Italian. So, if you want to order a latte, be sure to ask for a “cafe latte” instead, or else you might end up with just a cup of hot milk.

It wasn’t until the Cafe latte made its way to the United States and was introduced by coffee chains like Starbucks that it became a mainstream drink.

The addition of flavored syrups and the option to add whipped cream or other toppings also contributed to the latte’s rise in popularity.

The calorie and Caffeine content in Latte

The calorie and caffeine content of a Caffe latte can vary depending on the size and type of milk used. Generally, a 12-ounce caffe latte prepared with whole milk contains around 141 calories.

However, if you use sweeteners or add flavorings, the calorie count can increase significantly.

If you’re trying to watch your calorie intake, there are ways to make a latte lighter. For example, you can use skim milk or soy milk instead of whole milk, which can significantly reduce the calorie content while still providing a creamy texture. 

Since, Latte Coffee is typically prepared with a double shot of espresso, its caffeine content is between 120 and 133 mg.

Popular Variations of Latte

There are many variations of latte that you can try:

Vanilla Latte – It is like a regular latte’s cousin who just came back from a trip to France. It is made with a touch of vanilla syrup, which adds a sweet and fragrant twist to the classic latte.

Caramel Latte – It’s like a regular latte, but with a generous helping of caramel syrup, which adds a rich, buttery, and sweet flavor to your cup of joe.

Mocha Latte – Also known as Cafe Mocha is like a romantic comedy in a cup, where the bitter coffee and the sweet chocolate come together to create a beautiful and harmonious relationship.

Also Read: Cafe Mocha vs Cafe Latte

Hazelnut Latte – The hazelnut syrup adds a nutty, sweet, and almost magical flavor to your latte, making it the perfect drink for those who want to add a little extra sparkle to their day.

Cinnamon Latte: The cinnamon adds a deliciously cozy and slightly spicy flavor that perfectly complements the rich and creamy Latte Coffee drink.

Pistachio Latte: The pistachio syrup adds a deliciously nutty and slightly sweet flavor that perfectly complements the creamy flavors of the Cafe Latte.

Chai Latte: A chai latte is a spiced, sweetened tea drink combined with steamed milk.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with creating your own unique latte flavor combinations.

Latte Compared to other drinks

You might be wondering how Cafe Latte is different from other popular milk-based espresso drinks.

Latte vs Cappuccino

A cappuccino is a smaller drink compared to Latte made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.

In a cappuccino, the frothed milk is more prominent, whereas, in a latte, there is more steamed milk, making a cappuccino a more coffee-forward drink.

Read a detailed comparison between Latte and Cappuccino


Latte vs Flat White

Flat whites share the same ingredients as lattes but use less milk and a higher proportion of espresso, resulting in a more potent espresso flavor and a creamier texture. 

For flat white, the milk is steamed differently, creating a velvety consistency with less foam than a latte.

Read a detailed article on the difference between Latte and Flat white

Latte vs Macchiato

A macchiato is a smaller drink made with a shot of espresso and a small amount of foamed milk on top.

Lattes are larger and smoother, while macchiatos pack a stronger espresso punch in a smaller concentrated drink.


Latte vs Regular brewed Coffee

The main difference between a Latte and regular brewed coffee is that a Latte contains a lot of milk and calories while regular black coffee is free from calories and has a strong coffee taste.

Latte is not stronger than regular coffee, it has a thicker texture and a sweet and smooth taste.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Latte

Caffe Latte is enjoyed by many coffee lovers around the world on a regular basis. While it has some benefits, there are also some drawbacks especially if you drink it in excess.

Benefits of Latte

  • Boosts energy and mental alertness – Due to the presence of caffeine, a latte can help you feel more energized and alert, which can improve your productivity and focus.
  • Can improve mood – Drinking a latte can trigger the release of endorphins, which can help improve your mood and make you feel happier.
  • Health benefits – Some studies have suggested that moderate coffee consumption can have health benefits, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Vitamins: Latte is primarily made of milk, which is a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

Read about 15 amazing health benefits of Espresso

Drawbacks of Latte

  • High in calories – Depending on the type of milk and flavoring used, a latte can be high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.
  • May disrupt sleep – It’s not advisable to drink a Latte or any other coffee drink late at night as it can cause difficulty in sleeping because of the caffeine content.
  • Expensive: Can be expensive if purchased regularly from coffee shops.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Cafe Latte is a delicious and popular coffee drink that has become a staple in coffee shops worldwide. With its creamy texture and sweet flavor, it’s no wonder why the latte is so beloved.

I can tell you that making a latte coffee at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a little bit of practice and patience, you can perfect the art of steaming milk and create a delicious and visually appealing drink that will impress your taste buds and your guests.

How do you make a Latte at home and what flavorings do you prefer? Do let us know in the comments!

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Can you drink a latte while losing weight?

Latte contains a lot of calories so it might not be a good choice for a weight loss diet. However, if you can’t cut on Latte use skim milk or a sugar-free flavoring as it will reduce the calorie and sugar content of your drink.

What time of day is best for drinking a latte?

There is no specific time of day when you should drink a latte. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Some people prefer to have a latte in the morning as a part of their breakfast, while others enjoy it as an afternoon or evening snack.
However, you should avoid drinking Late in late night hours as it can cause difficulty in sleeping.

Can You Make a Latte without an Espresso Machine?

You can’t make a traditional Latte without an Espresso machine however, you can make Cafe Au Lait (also known as Misto Coffee) another delicious milk-based coffee drink that can be made using brewed coffee and hot milk.

Recipe Of Latte

Here's a simple and quick recipe of Latte
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine
  • Steaming Wand or Milk frother


  • 14-16 grams Coffee grounds
  • 6-10 oz Whole Milk
  • Sugars or Syrups (Optional)


  • Pull a double shot of espresso using your espresso machine.
    Make sure the espresso is freshly ground and tamped down firmly in the portafilter to ensure the best flavor and extraction. 
  • Steam 8-10 ounces of milk in a milk-steaming pitcher. Fill the pitcher about 1/3 to 1/2 full with cold milk. Position the steam wand just below the surface of the milk, and turn on the steam. 
    The milk should be steamed to around 130-150°F, which is the optimal temperature for a latte.
  • Pour the steamed milk into the latte cup over the freshly pulled shots of espresso.
    Try to pour in a way that creates a latte art pattern if you desire.
  • Scoop a small amount of the frothed milk from the top of the steamed milk in the pitcher, and place it on top of the latte.
    This creates a contrast in texture and enhances the overall flavor of the drink.
  • Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, cocoa powder or grated nutmeg on top of the foam. You can also add syrups like vanilla to sweeten and flavor the latte.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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