If you’re interested in making latte art at home, you’ve probably wondered what the best coffee options to get the results you’re looking for are. It’s a surprisingly tricky question because while the obvious answer is that you need espresso, you may not know what espresso works best for the job. And then, of course, you have to consider the taste of the coffee too. There is little point in having a latte that looks great but doesn’t taste nice.
That’s where this article comes into its own. We will give you a list of qualities to look for when choosing beans for mastering your latte designs. We once heard it said that “with latte art, the right beans can be the difference between perfection and mediocrity.” However, that doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on taste.
Latte Art Isn’t Just About Steamed Milk
Latte art is mainly about steaming and pouring milk into the espresso to make a design. However, good latte art is about much more, such as the correct distances to pour from, the right speed of pouring, and getting the right texture in your milk.
The milk itself is only one factor in creating beautiful latte designs. You also have to consider all of the above and, of course, the coffee beans you use. The right espresso, pulled correctly, makes a big difference in the quality of the designs you can produce. 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 coffee shops indeed use darker roast coffee beans for their espresso needs, and much of what is sold for home espresso is a dark roast. However, most baristas will agree that 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. Of course, if you insist on using the darker roast, there are some good options for you.
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.
1. 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 for flavor and for creating beautiful images in foam.
2. 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.
3. 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 also makes a fabulous espresso 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 stunning latte designs from the mingling of the espresso shots made from this coffee and milk foam.
4. Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Coffee
This medium-roasted Volcanica Coffee option comes all the way from Sumatra. It is subtle enough to intrigue you with taste but light sufficient to make a sound palette for your latte designs. Flavors of toffee and fruit mix brilliantly with steamed milk to give you a tasty concoction that will live long in the memory. The joy of this coffee is its ability to keep you interested after you sip into the latte art.
5. Lavazza Qualita Oro
Lavazza Qualita Oro is another bean that is regularly used by baristas on the latte art scene. It’s a medium roast that has been described as “smooth and nutty.” Lavazza is one of the most popular brands for coffee in Europe, and for a good reason. Its roasts have enough complexity to be intriguing to most taste buds, but they also go brilliantly as an element of a steamed milk drink. There is a reason that this coffee is so widely used by latte artists everywhere.
6. 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
This 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters coffee will lend perfectly to your creativity when making brilliant coffee art. It comes from renowned coffee roasters, who love to experiment, and this light roast is a thing of beauty on its own. Its delicacy in flavor will only add to the overall experience of receiving top-notch art within the cup. And just to note, they are a brand that consistently makes brilliant coffees.
7. San Francisco Bay Coffee Fog Chaser
San Franciso Bay Coffee has made a name for itself as an excellent coffee that goes well no matter how it is brewed. However, we have found that this particular blend is ideal for lattes. It’s on the darker side of things but not so dark that it will overly affect your art. And the taste is incredibly smooth, especially considering its price point. In fact, if you are looking for a low-budget latte art coffee, you will find it hard to get better.
8. Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee
We said we would go with something slightly different with this one to demonstrate that you don’t need to keep it safe when creating latte art. After all, lattes are renowned for being a coffee drink in which you can put syrups and flavorings. Why not just have them within your coffee bean to start with? Cooper’s Cask Coffee is a naturally flavored coffee that will offer a little surprise underneath the artistic foam surface of your lattes.
9. Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast Coffee
Many of us got our first taste of lattes in Starbucks, so why not return to the iconic coffee shop when creating your art? Their blonde espresso acts as the perfect base for your latte. It’s soft and balanced and doesn’t have the edge you will find with some of the other beans you will find on this list. Thus, if you are looking for a bean that will complement your art rather than take attention away from it, then this is the one for you.