June 26


Discover The Best Milk for Making a Latte

By Hanson Cheng

June 26, 2023

Latte is a popular espresso-based drink that consists of steamed milk and shots of espresso. The art of making a perfect latte lies in the right balance of ingredients, including the quality and type of milk. While there are several types of milk available in the market, not all of them are suited for making a latte. In this article, we will explore the best milk for making a latte and the factors that you should consider while choosing the right milk for your latte.

Introduction Of Latte?

A latte is a popular espresso-based drink that originated in Italy. It is made of espresso, steamed milk, and a small amount of foam. The word “latte” actually means milk in Italian, which explains why this drink is primarily made of milk. The espresso shot provides the drink with the bitter and rich flavor, while the steamed milk adds sweetness and creaminess. The foam topping can be created in a variety of ways, but it is usually made by frothing the milk with a steam wand. A latte is typically served in a tall glass or mug and can be customized with different flavors and syrups.

Latte making requires a certain level of skill and experience to achieve the perfect balance between the espresso and milk. When the espresso shot is combined with the steamed milk, the proteins in the milk break down and create a velvety texture that enhances the flavor profile of the drink. The foam also plays a significant role in the latte, as it helps to trap the aromas of the espresso and create a pleasant fragrance.

Since the latte is mainly composed of milk, the type of milk used can greatly impact the final taste of the drink. Choosing the right milk can make all the difference between a bland latte and a delicious one. In the next sections, we will explore in greater detail the importance of milk in a latte and the various factors to consider when choosing milk for the perfect latte.

Importance of Milk in a Latte

When it comes to making a latte, the milk used is just as important as the espresso. Milk proteins play a crucial role in the taste and texture of a latte, making it frothy, creamy, and full-bodied. The milk used in a latte should have a good balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to achieve the desired consistency and flavor. Skim milk tends to produce a thin and watery texture, while whole milk creates a thicker and creamier texture.

Additionally, the freshness of the milk plays a significant role in the taste and aroma of a latte. Fresh milk creates a sweeter and richer flavor, whereas older milk can have a slightly sour taste. It is also essential to consider the type of milk used, as different types of milk, such as almond milk or oat milk, can significantly alter the taste of a latte. Ultimately, the importance of milk in a latte cannot be overstated, as it is what gives a latte its signature silky smooth texture and rich flavor.

Types of Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a popular non-dairy milk choice for making lattes. It is made from the flesh of mature coconuts and has a rich, creamy texture and a naturally sweet flavor. Coconut milk can be purchased in cans, cartons, or made fresh at home by blending coconut flesh with water. It is a good option for people who are lactose intolerant or have a cow’s milk allergy. Coconut milk is also a great source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the body and provide quick energy.

However, it is important to note that coconut milk is high in calories and saturated fat, so it should be consumed in moderation. When used in lattes, coconut milk provides a unique flavor and aroma that pairs well with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It also froths well, creating a velvety foam that is perfect for latte art. Overall, coconut milk is a delicious and healthy alternative to dairy milk for making lattes.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a great option for those looking for a non-dairy milk alternative for their lattes. Made from hemp seeds, it has a nutty flavor and creamy texture that can be easily frothed for lattes. Hemp milk also contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritious choice. One of the standout features of hemp milk is its high protein content, which is comparable to dairy milk.  Additionally, hemp milk is low in carbs and sugar, making it an ideal choice for those following a low-carb or low-sugar diet.

Another benefit of hemp milk is that it is easily digestible, which can be especially helpful for those with digestive issues or allergies. Like other plant-based milk alternatives, hemp milk is often fortified with vitamins and minerals to enhance its nutritional profile. Overall, hemp milk is a delicious and nutritious option that provides a creamy texture and nutty flavor to lattes while offering numerous health benefits.

Cashew Milk

When it comes to making a latte, Cashew Milk is a viable dairy alternative that provides a creamy consistency and a nutty, slightly sweet taste. Cashew milk is made by blending roasted or raw cashews with water, making it a natural and nutritious choice for individuals with dietary restrictions. With fewer calories than whole milk, cashew milk contains essential nutrients such as vitamins D and B12, iron, and magnesium.

These vitamins and minerals contribute to overall bone health, immune function, and energy production. In addition to being a low-fat milk substitute, cashew milk is also an excellent source of healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats have been linked to reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels.

Cashew milk also contains a lower amount of carbohydrates and sugars than cow’s milk, making this nut milk a great option for those monitoring their blood sugar levels. Due to its creamy and slightly nutty taste, cashew milk is an ideal milk alternative for those who enjoy a nuanced flavor in their morning latte or other coffee drinks.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is an excellent alternative for people that are lactose-intolerant or have an allergy to dairy. It is a plant-based milk made from rice grains and has a sweet and mild flavor that complements the taste of espresso in a latte. It has a thin consistency and a less creamy texture than other milk options like whole milk or 2% milk. Rice milk has a low-calorie count and is rich in vitamins and minerals that provide numerous health benefits. It is low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, making it a healthier option for people that are watching their weight.

Moreover, it is naturally gluten-free and has a low glycemic index, making it an excellent option for people with celiac disease or diabetes. However, rice milk is not suitable for people that have a rice allergy or prefer a creamier texture in their latte. Rice milk is a delicious and healthy alternative to dairy milk for people that have dietary restrictions or prefer a plant-based lifestyle.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Milk for a Latte

Fat Content

One important factor to consider when choosing the best milk for making a latte is the fat content. The fat content of milk has a significant impact on the texture and overall taste of the latte. Whole milk, which typically has a fat content of around 3.5%, creates a creamy and rich foam that is perfect for lattes. The fat in the milk combines with the proteins to create a stable foam that can hold its shape for a longer period.

However, if you are looking for a healthier alternative, you may want to consider using skim or low-fat milk. These varieties have a significantly lower fat content, which means that they create a less creamy foam. Skim milk has a fat content of around 0.1%, and low-fat milk has a slightly higher fat content of around 1-2%.

Another milk option to consider is soy milk. Soy milk is made from soybeans and has a naturally lower fat content than whole milk. While it may be a healthier option, soy milk does not create as creamy a foam as whole milk due to its low fat content. However, there are now specialty soy milk brands available that are formulated specifically for frothing and steaming, making them a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.

For those who are looking for a rich and decadent latte, heavy cream may be the way to go. Heavy cream has a fat content of around 36%, which means that it creates an incredibly creamy and thick foam. However, it should be noted that heavy cream is very high in calories and fat, making it an indulgent treat rather than an everyday option.

Overall, the fat content of milk plays an essential role in the overall taste and texture of a latte. Whole milk is the go-to option for many baristas and coffee enthusiasts because of its creamy and rich foam. If you are looking for a healthier alternative, skim or low-fat milk may be a better option. For those who prefer non-dairy options, soy milk is a viable alternative. And if you are in the mood for an indulgent treat, heavy cream is the way to go.

Protein Content

The protein content is an essential factor to consider when selecting the best milk for making a latte. Protein molecules are responsible for creating a creamy and velvety texture in the froth, making it an important element in the latte-making process. Whole milk is known to have the best protein content, with around 3.4% protein content. However, for individuals who prefer a lower-fat option, 2% milk and non-fat milk are still good choices for protein content, containing 3.3% and 3.4% respectively.

Moreover, milk alternatives such as oat, soy, and almond milk also provide a decent balance of proteins, with soy milk containing the highest amount of protein at around 3.5%. However, it is also essential to consider that protein content alone does not determine the milk’s ability to froth, as the fat content is also a significant determinant in achieving a rich and creamy froth.

Sugar Content

When it comes to making a latte, the sugar content of the milk used can play a significant role in the overall taste and sweetness of the drink. Dairy milk, which is commonly used for making lattes, naturally contains lactose, a type of sugar. However, various types of milk have different sugar contents, making some better suited for latte-making than others. For example, whole milk generally has a higher sugar content than skim milk, which means it can naturally lend a sweeter taste to the latte.

However, it’s important to consider the other factors that different milk types bring to the table, such as fat content and foaming ability. In general, it’s recommended to use a milk that has a sugar content that aligns with your desired sweetness level for the latte, while also taking into account other qualitative factors that can impact the drink’s overall taste and texture.

Foaming Ability

The foaming ability of milk is an essential aspect when it comes to making a perfect latte. It is not the fat content alone that affects the foaming ability of milk. However, the milk’s fat content works hand in hand with the protein content to create rich and stable foam. Proteins are responsible for creating the foam structure while the fat content contributes to the foam’s thickness. Therefore, milk with a higher fat content and protein content will produce a more stable foam.

When milk is heated, the proteins denature, which makes them unfold, and then coagulate, forming small bubbles that trap air and moisture, creating foam. Therefore, milk with a high protein content will yield a thicker and richer latte foam. However, milk with lower protein content might result in a less desirable foam consistency, which can break down quite easily.

Fat content also plays a role in creating the perfect foam for your latte. Milk with a higher fat content will produce a thicker and richer foam with a creamier texture. The fat in the milk contributes to a velvety texture and adds sweetness to the milk flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the latte. But, milk with too much fat content may result in a too-creamy foam that limits the flexibility to create latte art.

Milk with a higher fat and protein content work together to create a rich, creamy and stable foam perfect for a latte. A perfect latte requires milk with the right milk-fat proportion to achieve the perfect taste, texture, and latte art creation that engages all the senses simultaneously.


When it comes to making a latte, the taste of the milk is one of the most critical factors determining the quality of the drink. The taste of the milk used in a latte is influenced by various factors, including the type, source, processing, and freshness of the milk. Apart from these, the fat content, protein content, and sugar content of the milk also play a crucial role in determining the taste of the milk. Generally, milk with higher fat content produces a rich, creamy, and sweet taste, while milk with lower fat content has a lighter taste.

Similarly, milk with higher protein content tends to produce a creamier and thicker texture, making the latte taste smoother. On the other hand, milk with lower protein content produces a lighter and airier texture that is less creamy. The sugar content of the milk can also influence the taste of the latte, with milk containing higher levels of lactose producing a slightly sweeter taste.

However, apart from these factors, the taste of the milk can also be influenced by the foaming ability of the milk. Milk that is frothed correctly creates microbubbles that give the latte a smooth and velvety mouthfeel. If the milk does not foam correctly, the texture of the latte can become grainy and unpleasant, which can negatively impact the taste of the latte. Therefore, choosing the right milk with a good foaming ability is crucial for ensuring that the taste of the latte is optimal.

Lastly, the availability of the milk can also impact the taste of the latte, as different brands and types of milk have varying tastes. Some milk may have a sweeter taste than others, while some may have a more significant flavor profile that can influence the overall taste of the latte. Therefore, finding a brand or type of milk that works well for your taste preferences is crucial for ensuring that the latte tastes good.


Availability is an important consideration when choosing the best milk for making a latte. Most coffee shops and supermarkets nowadays offer a variety of milk options. However, some types of milk may be harder to find depending on the region or country. Whole milk, for instance, is widely available and commonly used in lattes at coffee shops. Skim milk, on the other hand, may not be as readily available in some areas.

Alternative milk options such as soy and almond milk are becoming increasingly common, but may not be available everywhere. It’s important to research and determine the availability of different milk options in your area to ensure that you have access to the milk that suits your taste and preferences.

Aside from regional availability, the shelf life of milk can also impact its availability. For instance, raw milk has a very limited shelf life and may not be available in some areas due to legal restrictions or safety concerns. Unpasteurized milk, on the other hand, is more widely available and has a longer shelf life. Additionally, some milk options may only be available seasonally, such as goat’s milk which may be more prevalent during springtime.

Overall, the availability of milk for making lattes can vary by region, shelf life, and seasonal factors. It’s important to consider the availability of different milk options when making the choice on which milk to use for your latte.


Key Points

After analyzing various types of milk, it is safe to say that some are better for making lattes than others. The main factor to consider is the milk’s ability to foam and steam correctly, as well as its taste. Whole milk is the most popular option to use for making lattes, as it produces a creamy texture and sweet taste. However, for those looking for a healthier alternative, almond milk is a good choice as it has fewer calories and is dairy-free. Another option is soy milk, which has a similar protein content to cow’s milk and a slightly nutty flavor.

Oat milk is a newer alternative that has gained popularity in recent years due to its creaminess, sweetness, and ability to froth. For those with dietary restrictions, such as lactose intolerance, dairy-free alternatives like coconut and hemp milk are suitable options. Ultimately, the best milk for making a latte depends on personal preference and dietary needs. It is recommended to experiment with different types of milk to discover the perfect milk for your latte.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best milk for making a latte depends on personal preference and taste. However, it is important to note that different types of milk produce different results, and some factors should be considered when making a choice. For instance, whole milk produces a rich and creamy foam, but it is high in fat content. Skim milk produces a less creamy foam, but it is low in fat content.

Soy milk is a preferred option for vegans and those with lactose intolerance, but it has a distinct flavor that may not appeal to everyone. Almond milk is another alternative for those with lactose intolerance, and it produces a nutty and sweet flavor. It is essential to note that not all brands of milk perform the same way; thus, experimentation may assist in finding the right one.

The Best Milk for Making a Latte – FAQs

1. What type of milk should I use to make a latte?

For the best latte, use whole milk. This type of milk has a high fat content that makes the latte creamy and frothy. Other types of milk like skim, 1%, or 2% can be used but will not produce the same creamy froth as whole milk.

2. Can I use non-dairy milk for making a latte?

Yes, non-dairy milk like oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, can be used for making a latte. However, non-dairy milk may not produce the same froth as dairy milk. Oat milk is the most recommended non-dairy milk for lattes due to its creamy texture.

3. Can I use chocolate milk for making a latte?

Chocolate milk can achieve a latte-like taste, but it is not recommended for making a latte. Chocolate milk has a lot of added sugar and is not capable of producing the creamy froth that whole milk can create.

4. What is the difference between skim and whole milk when it comes to making lattes?

Whole milk produces a creamier result when making lattes, while skim milk will not provide the same level of creaminess. Whole milk has a higher fat content, which produces a thicker and richer froth. Skim milk, on the other hand, contains less fat and produces a thinner froth.

5. Can I use expired milk for making a latte?

It is not recommended to use expired milk for making a latte. The milk may have a sour odor or taste, and the bacteria in expired milk can adversely affect the taste of the latte.

6. What is the best temperature for steaming milk when making a latte?

The best temperature for steaming milk when making a latte is between 140°F and 155°F degree. This temperature range allows for producing the creamy froth that makes a latte delicious. Overheating the milk can create a burnt taste.

Hanson Cheng

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