Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Bitter Truth About Lattes

by Mads

The Bitter Truth About Lattes: Why is Latte Not Sweet?

As a coffee lover, you have probably heard of lattes, and might even love them. Maybe you crave the creamy texture, the beautiful artwork on top, or the perfect combination of coffee and milk. But what if I told you that there was a bitter truth about lattes that many coffee shops won’t tell you?

Contrary to popular belief, lattes are not meant to be sweet. A latte is a simple combination of espresso shots and steamed milk, with no added sweeteners. The sweetness comes from the milk itself, which naturally contains lactose, a type of sugar. When steamed, the lactose in the milk becomes more pronounced, giving the latte a sweet taste without the need for added flavors.

So, why is latte not sweet? The answer lies in the purity of the espresso flavor. A well-made espresso is meant to be strong and bold, with a slightly bitter taste that is a result of the coffee bean roasting process. To fully appreciate the complexity of the espresso flavor, it is best to drink it without any added sweeteners.

But here’s where things get tricky. Many coffee shops add flavors such as vanilla, caramel, or chocolate to lattes to appeal to customers who prefer sweeter drinks. While these flavors might taste delicious, they can mask the true flavor of the espresso and the milk, making the drink less pure and less enjoyable for coffee purists.

So, if you’re looking for the best latte experience, it’s recommended to opt for a plain latte without any added flavors. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.

The Best Way to Order a Latte

Now that you know that lattes aren’t meant to be sweet, you might be wondering how to order a latte that’s perfectly balanced and enjoyable. Here are some tips:

1. Choose high-quality espresso: The better the espresso, the better your latte will taste. Opt for a coffee shop that uses freshly roasted beans and has a knowledgeable barista.

2. Specify your milk preference: Do you like your latte creamy and frothy, or do you prefer a thinner consistency? Let your barista know your milk preference, and they will adjust the steaming process accordingly.

3. Don’t add any sweeteners: As we mentioned earlier, lattes are naturally sweet thanks to the lactose in the milk. Adding syrups or sugar will only mask the natural flavors.

4. Enjoy it as is: Sip your latte slowly and appreciate the delicate balance of flavors between the espresso and the milk. Don’t worry about adding any extras or flavors. A good latte should be enjoyed in its purest form.

The Top Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Latte

You might be tempted to try making a latte at home, either to save money or to impress your friends. While making a latte is not rocket science, there are some common mistakes that many home baristas make. Here are a few to avoid:

1. Using stale coffee beans: A good latte starts with fresh and high-quality coffee beans. If your beans are stale or low-quality, your latte will taste off.

2. Overheating the milk: Steamed milk for a latte should be between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than that will scorch the milk and give your latte a burned taste.

3. Not using enough milk: A latte is meant to have a 1:3 ratio of espresso to steamed milk. If you use too little milk, your latte will be too strong and bitter.

4. Not frothing the milk properly: The frothed milk is what gives a latte its signature creamy texture. Make sure to froth the milk long enough to create a dense microfoam.

5. Adding too much sweetener: As we mentioned earlier, lattes are already naturally sweet. Adding too much syrup or sugar will only make your drink cloyingly sweet and overpower the coffee and milk flavors.


In conclusion, lattes are not meant to be sweet, but rather a delicate balance of espresso and steamed milk. Adding flavors or sweeteners might mask the natural flavors of the drink, making it less enjoyable for those who appreciate the pure coffee experience. To get the best latte, choose high-quality espresso, specify your milk preference, and avoid adding any sweeteners. And if you want to make a latte at home, make sure to avoid common mistakes such as using stale coffee beans or overheating the milk. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to enjoy a perfectly balanced and delicious latte every time.

Related Posts