Looking for the best coffee for latte art at home? This article explores what qualities to seek out and which coffees give the best results.
If you’re interested in making latte art at home, you’ve probably wondered what the best coffee options are to get the results you’re looking for. It’s a surprisingly tricky question because while the obvious answer is that you need espresso, you may not know that some espresso roasts are better than others for coaxing good art into your latte.
So what are the qualities you should look for, and what espresso beans will give you the best shot at mastering latte designs? Read on to find out.
Latte Art Isn’t Just About Steamed Milk
Most people know that latte art is largely about the technique of steaming and pouring milk into the espresso to make a design. However, good latte art requires practice, and it’s definitely a matter of learning the correct distances to pour from, the right speed of pouring, and getting the right texture in your milk.
The milk itself isn’t the only factor in creating beautiful latte designs. The right espresso, pulled correctly, makes a big difference in the quality of the designs you can produce with the milk. The best coffee for latte art may surprise you, especially since espresso, in general, is so closely tied to dark roasts.
Lighter Coffee Makes Better Latte Art
Many espresso roasts fall more under a medium roast than dark roast categories–after all, espresso shots are so dark and concentrated. However, many coffee shops indeed use darker roast coffee beans for their espresso needs, and much of what is sold for home espresso is dark roast.
But for the best results, most baristas will agree: a slightly lighter roast makes for crisper, clearer latte art. So if you want your best shot at creating latte art at home, you should start with a light espresso roast or medium roast coffee. If you like this post, you might be interested in learning the difference between a latte and café con leche.
The Best Coffee For Latte Art: My Picks
If you want to make your lattes as beautiful as they are tasty, then you need the right espresso. You don’t want just any coffee beans, but rather something that strikes a balance between the depth you’re looking for in an espresso roast and the lightness that gives a crisp result when combined with milk and microfoam. These are my top choices:
Wink Coffee Blonde Espresso
Overall, this Colombian blend of coffee beans is closer to a medium roast, but by espresso standards, it’s very light. Roasted in small batches and sourced sustainably from the Colombian highlands, it has a crisp, sweet citrus finish and a rich texture that works well with steamed milk not just for flavor but for creating beautiful images in foam.
- A vibrant single origin coffee with notes of citrus, brown sugar and a touch of dried strawberry.
- Ideal for espresso makers, drip coffee machines, French presses, Aeropress, pour over, and moka pot
Cafe Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso
Blended from a mixture of Colombian and Sumatran coffee beans, this medium roast provides a classic European flavor and a subtle acidity that makes a delicious espresso drink. As a medium roast, it also creates espresso that is dark enough to color the milk without being so dark that it bleeds through the designs. All in all, it’s an outstanding balance between tradition and novelty.
- 2LB Whole Bean Dark Roast Arabica Coffee
- A special blend of smooth Colombian Supremo with Sumatra Mandheling give this coffee a very deep and complex flavor with a European flair. Rich, complex, and very smooth.
- At Don Pablo we use only the largest, most desirable Arabica beans, grown in nutrient rich volcanic soil in the lush mountainous terrain of the worldâs coffee growing regions.
- Origin: Colombia
Kicking Horse Smart Ass Medium Roast
Another medium roast coffee, this blend of African, Central, and South American coffees has an almost tingly quality. The brand markets it as the best choice for drip coffee, but it makes a fabulous espresso as well, with red fruit notes and a creamy milk chocolate finish. It’s on the darker side of medium, but it works well as an espresso option, and I’ve made some very pretty latte designs from the mingling of the espresso shots made from this coffee and milk foam.