Sunday, December 3, 2023

Latte Conundrum: Sugar or No Sugar?

by Mads

Could You Believe It? Italians Put Sugar in Their Latte!

The latte is a staple in coffee shops all around the world, loved for its creamy texture and balanced flavor profile. However, when it comes to adding sugar, opinions vary widely depending on where you are in the world.

In Italy, where the latte originated, it’s common practice to add a touch of sugar to the drink. But before we dive into why Italians add sugar to their latte, let’s first look at what a latte actually is.

What is a Latte?

A latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. The word “latte” actually comes from “caffe latte,” which is Italian for “milk coffee.” The drink is typically served in a large glass or cup and is often topped with a small layer of foam.

In addition to the base ingredients of espresso and steamed milk, flavorings such as vanilla or caramel can be added to the drink. However, the addition of sugar is the most controversial.

Do Italians Put Sugar in Their Latte?

Yes, they do! While some purists may argue that adding sugar to a latte ruins the natural flavor of the coffee, that hasn’t stopped Italians from doing so for years.

In fact, Italians often pause mid-morning to meet friends for a “latte e zucchero” (latte with sugar) or “cappuccino e zucchero.” They see it as a natural way to accentuate the natural flavor of the coffee and enhance its creaminess.

Why Do Italians Put Sugar in Their Latte?

There are a few reasons why Italians add sugar to their latte. One is that they believe it balances the acidity of the espresso, making the drink smoother and more palatable.

Additionally, many Italians grew up drinking caffe corretto, which is coffee with a shot of grappa or brandy. The sweetness of the sugar makes the latte more palatable for those who prefer to skip the alcohol.

Lastly, it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Some people like their coffee sweet, and who are we to judge?

Can You Put Sugar in Your Latte?

Of course! The beauty of coffee is that it’s a personal experience. If you enjoy a little sweetness in your latte, go ahead and add some sugar.

However, it’s important to remember that adding sugar to your coffee can negate some of its health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

If you’re looking for a healthier way to sweeten your latte, try using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. These alternatives are still sugar, but they come with some added health benefits.


In the end, whether or not to add sugar to your latte is a matter of personal preference. While some may argue that it ruins the natural taste of coffee, many Italians believe it enhances the drink’s creaminess and balances its acidity.

So go ahead and experiment with your latte. Try it with sugar, try it with natural sweeteners, or skip the added sweetness altogether. After all, the best part of coffee is enjoying it just the way you like it.

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