Your Guide To The Best Coffee For Latte

What is a latte?

It's coffee and milk.

Yeah, you probably knew that. But did you know that combining coffee and milk dates back to the 17th century?

Although Italians have their take on lattes, the rest of the world goes by the standard one shot of espresso (1 oz) to 7 oz of steamed milk. You can also do a double shot of espresso if you need the extra kick.

Apart from showing you how you can make a latte at home (that's almost barista-level good), we'll do a full breakdown of the best coffee beans for latte!

The 7 Best Coffee Beans for Latte: Everything You Should Know

First off, there's no such thing as the "best" per se. In our opinion, the best is what you enjoy. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you intend on making lattes at home. Darker roasts produce a thicker crema (the foamy top on an espresso), which creates a superior mouthfeel and compliments the milk better. So, beans intended for espresso-making would be our suggestion.

Here's our Top 7 list:

Lavazza Super Crema

Lavazza Super Crema

  • Composition: 60% Arabica; 40% Robusta
  • Type of roast: Medium espresso roast
  • Form: Whole beans (2.2 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: hazelnut, brown sugar, fruity
  • Certifications: Unknown

The name speaks for itself. You want a nice, thick crema when you brew your espresso for making a latte, and these beans produce a superb crema.

Lavazza is known around the world as one of the top producers of coffee products. It has been around for over 100 years, producing some of the finest coffee beans and exporting them worldwide. The Italian brand has many different whole bean varieties available, each with its unique properties, taste and aroma.

This 60/40 Arabica/Robusta blend has a high caffeine content, perfect for diluting it with milk. The Super Crema's versatility means you can make practically any coffee drink, hot or cold. Enjoy the hazelnut and brown sugar notes as they are, or accentuate them with a nutty syrup or chocolate flakes.

One complaint from many reviewers is freshness - it's unclear if this is an issue with Amazon, but reviewers state receiving 3+ months' old beans.

Lavazza's Super Crema beans are our top pick because they're versatile, extremely affordable, and pack a big caffeine punch.

Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans

  • Composition: 100% Arabica (from Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Sumatra)
  • Type of roast: Dark
  • Form: Whole beans, Ground (12 oz, 2 lb and 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: cinnamon
  • Certifications: Fair Trade

Koffee Kult has a huge cult following. The company is transparent about where they get their coffee from, how they roast it and what they believe in. Located in Hollywood, Florida, Koffee Kult has been roasting gourmet coffee since 2010.

These whole coffee beans for latte are roasted in micro-batches and shipped as soon as possible to preserve freshness. The coffee has a robust and bold flavor thanks to the dark roast and produces a thick crema - perfect for milky drinks like lattes.

Koffee Kult is pricier than Lavazza, but you get gourmet beans handpicked from South America and Sumatra. Although they're not certified organic, the company prides itself on importing and independently roasting only the best beans to create an artisanal coffee.

This dark roast may be a bit much for some people, but mixing it with milk will take some of the bite out of it so that anyone can enjoy it. Brighten up your morning with a latte made with Koffee Kult Dark Roast, and don't be afraid of experimenting with additional brewing methods.

Cafe Don Pablo Colombian Supremo

Cafe Don Pablo Colombian Supremo

  • Composition: 100% Arabica (from Colombia)
  • Type of roast: Medium-dark
  • Form: Whole beans, Ground (2 lb and 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: nutty, chocolate, citrus
  • Certifications: Certified for Organic Production

The story of how Don Pablo coffee got started almost seems like it was written for TV or a fairy tale (in the best way possible). The male co-founder "Don Pablo" got his name after visiting beautiful, lush coffee-producing Colombia. His girlfriend's grandma gave him the nickname Don Pablo to make it easier to remember (and pronounce). And the rest is history.

Don Pablo's Colombian Supremo is roasted in small batches. The company maintains one million coffee plants in Colombia - bringing you closer to the crop-to-cup experience. This coffee is smooth, has low acidity, and a pleasant medium body that makes it versatile. You can brew it any way you want: espresso, drip, cold brew, and French Press.

Don Pablo is an excellent middle-ground coffee if you don't intend on drinking coffee the same way every time. Its versatility and nutty chocolatey finish will make any coffee drink pop with flavor and aroma.

Verena Street 5-Pound Espresso Beans

Verena Street 5-Pound Espresso Beans

  • Composition: 100% Arabica
  • Type of roast: Dark
  • Form: Whole beans, Ground (11 oz, 2 lb and 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: sweet, creamy
  • Certifications: Rainforest Alliance and Kosher Certified

Not to be confused with Verona, Italy, Verena Street Coffee was named after a street in a small city in Iowa. The company is family-owned and produces a variety of coffee products. They roast in micro-batches and ship directly from their location in Iowa.

The Shot Tower is a local landmark in Iowa and an excellent name for espresso beans. When you want a quick pick-me-up, brew an espresso, drip, or French Press, and enjoy an aromatic cup of coffee. Verena Street's espresso beans come in 11 oz, 2 lb and 5 lb bags - shipped to your door right after roasting.

It's #4 on our list thanks to its smooth, bold flavor and ultra-thick crema. You can see for yourself by looking at pictures in reviews - the crema is velvety-thick and light caramel in color.

This particular blend was introduced in 2016 and is steadily gaining admirers. We recommend Verena Street espresso as a contender for best coffee for lattes and other milky drinks - it's not as punchy as other beans, but the flavor/aroma combo knocks it out of the park.

Koffee Kult THUNDER BOLT

Koffee Kult THUNDER BOLT

  • Composition: 100% Arabica (from Colombia and Brazil)
  • Type of roast: Dark (French roast)
  • Form: Whole beans, Ground (12 oz, 2 lb and 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: smoky, earthy, sweet
  • Certifications: Fair Trade

Koffee Kult comes back with another coffee to take our #5 spot. This time, with Thunder Bolt. You might wonder what's up with the name, and judging by reviews, it's clear - this coffee is strong!

However, Thunder Bolt is expensive. The reason it's so pricey is that the sourced beans are of exemplary quality. Zeus would be proud, and we're sure he'd brew himself a nice espresso or make a latte :)

Koffee Kult sells Fair Trade coffee to support the local economy and shows respect for coffee growers. Where would coffee roasters be without the best beans, right?

These beans produce a nice crema when brewing espresso and have a slightly acidic sweet taste that will have you coming back for more. Careful, if you're not addicted to coffee yet, you will be after joining the Kult!

We recommend this coffee for people that have a few extra bucks to spend. We placed it #5 mostly because of the price. Thunder Bolt = outstanding coffee beans for lattes, and a killer present as long as you buy them fresh (Koffee Kult roasts and ships according to supply and demand).

Peet's Coffee French Roast Whole Bean

Peet's Coffee French Roast Whole Bean

  • Composition: 100% Arabica (from Central and Latin America)
  • Type of roast: Dark (French roast)
  • Form: Whole beans, Ground (12 oz, 1.25 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: smoky, sweet
  • Certifications: Kosher Certified

Peet's French Roast is a smoky, sweet blend of 100% Arabica beans roasted to order in micro-batches. This is a great choice for milky coffee drinks - versatile for use in any grind and brewing method you want.

One downside (possibly not Peet's fault) is freshness. Reviewers claim that the beans they received were close to the expiration date - not great if you're making coffee for yourself.

Regardless of the shipping issues, Peet's French Roast is an excellent coffee for milky drinks. It has a unique flavor that pops and leaves you wanting more. Compared to standard espresso roast, French Roast beans are more oily. They have a smokier taste and work well in lattes with steamed milk to balance it out.

Peet started roasting coffee back in 1966 in California, and you can taste the dedication they have to their craft to this day.

Blackwelder Coffee, 100% Arabica Espresso Whole Bean Coffee

Blackwelder Coffee, 100% Arabica Espresso Whole Bean Coffee

  • Composition: 100% Arabica (from Latin America and Indonesia)
  • Type of roast: Medium
  • Form: Whole beans (1 lb, 2 lb and 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: sweet, caramel
  • Certifications: Unknown

Espresso is usually made with a dark roast because you don't want it to be bitter. And when you plan on making milky drinks like lattes, you want the coffee to retain its distinct flavor even after it's mixed with milk. Blackwelder has the perfect blend for latte-lovers - their 100% Arabica espresso is superb.

It produces a lovely crema that combines well with steamed milk to form a nice foamy top. The coffee comes in 1 lb, 2 lb and 5 lb resealable bags shipped to order in small batches.

Even though it's #7 on our list, they're some of the best coffee beans for making lattes. Blackwelder espresso beans are affordable, can be brewed with what you have at home, and the company's values are aligned with customer satisfaction. For best latte results, use an espresso machine.

Best Roast For Latte

First, it's important to note that there's no consensus on roasts. Manufacturers label coffee a certain roast based on their standards, and the only way to know if a certain coffee is good for lattes is to try it.

Keep in mind that if the coffee tastes good on its own as espresso, that doesn't necessarily mean it will work with milk. For most palates, a darker roast is best. The reason is that the medium-to-dark roasts have the best flavor profile to balance with milk. Medium-dark roasts tend to have a nuttier, chocolate, caramel flavor profile.

Our Top 7 picks are all Medium to dark roasts that work well in milky drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

Best Grind For Latte

Googling coffee bean latte grind will give you a dozen different answers.

Here's our take:
Lattes are tastiest with fresh espresso, so, logically, an espresso grind (fine grind) works best for making lattes. But don't let that discourage you from adding steamed milk to coffee you make in a drip machine or any other type of device.

Any well-made coffee made with freshly-ground beans will do. Just don't expect it to taste exactly like at a coffee shop.

Brewing Time

For the best espresso, aim for around 30 seconds of extraction time. Every espresso machine is different, and depending on the grind and type of coffee, extraction time may vary. Look for when the stream of coffee is no longer streaky.

Still unsure? Taste the espresso and adjust extraction time accordingly.

How to Make a Latte At Home

Making lattes at home will save you a lot of money. To do it right, we recommend using espresso and steamed milk. If you don't have an espresso machine, you can still use regular coffee made with a different brewing method.

Step 1: Brew the coffee in your favorite coffee cup/mug, and simultaneously start heating the milk. The easiest way to warm milk is by popping it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or using a pan or pot.

Step 2: Froth the milk. To do this without a milk frother attachment, use a French Press, a whisk, or a stovetop milk frother to agitate the milk.

Step 3 (Optional): To add a little something extra, add a syrup of your choice, chocolate shavings, cinnamon, or anything else you have handy. The best coffee beans for vanilla latte are medium-dark roasts with more subtle flavors, so you can taste the vanilla. Note: it's debatable whether to add the flavorings before or after heating the milk. We recommend adding flavoring before, except for vanilla, which you should add after.

Step 4: Take the milk and carefully pour it into the coffee, making sure to do it slowly and evenly. At this point, you can get creative and try making latte art.

Voila! You've just made a latte!

The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Making Lattes

It's hard to ruin a latte, but it is possible.

Here are three of the most common mistakes:

  1. Not using espresso - If you're making a latte at home and you want barista-level lattes, you'll need a good espresso machine (and high-quality beans). Using espresso (1-2 shots) ensures you get a good crema, the best flavors and a nice balance of coffee and milk.
  2. Not steaming/frothing the milk - You can reduce a latte to coffee and milk pretty quickly if you pour in cold milk or don't steam/froth the milk. For best results, use a machine with a milk frother, or invest in a stovetop milk frother.
  3. Using the wrong type of coffee - Taste is a personal thing, but most people prefer espresso roast (a medium-dark roast). Experiment with different kinds of coffee to see what you like best. For best results, use an espresso machine with finely ground coffee.

Final Thoughts

Lattes aren't rocket science.

That said, it takes some trial and error to get them right. If you want the authentic coffeeshop taste, use just-brewed espresso made from the best beans you can afford (and love).

To answer the question - "What kind of coffee beans for latte?" - go through our list and see what catches your eye. You can't go wrong with our Top 7 because we chose them based on reviews, and most importantly, the brand's attitude towards the environment and customers.

Renat Mamatazin

Renat Mamatkazin

2021/04/07

Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).

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