How to make a latte?

October 06, 2023 2 min read

Comment faire un latte? - Café Barista

The perfect latte is smooth, flavourful and delicate. It is actually one of the most popular caffeinated beverages in the world. In this article, we offer an overview of the origin, definition, and preparation of the latte.

The history of the latte

While you might think that the latte was created by and for Italians, that would only be half true. This drink originated in Italy, but was rather intended for American tourists who found espresso too intense. The invention of the term caffè latte is said to be attributable to the essayist William Dean Howell, author of Italian Journeys (1867).

Depending on the country in which it is consumed, the latte also goes by the name café au lait (France) or cafe con leche (Latin America). Small elements differentiate them, but the basis remains the same.

How to make a latte

The recipe for a latte is quite simple, it is composed of espresso and of micro foamed milk. The texture of the latte is smooth, creamy and uniform. Latte proportions often vary from one establishment to another. It is therefore relevant to ask the barista how they make it in order to obtain precisely what you want.


Small latte (about 8 oz):
- 1 shot of espresso
- 6 to 7 oz of milk or plant-based drink
Regular latte (approximately 12 oz):
- 2 shots of espresso
- 9 to 10 oz of milk or plant-based drink


  1. Grind the coffee beans
    - For 1 shot of espresso: 12 to 14 g
    - For 2 shots of espresso: 18 to 20 g

  2. Tap the espresso into your filter holder

  3. Extract the espresso

  4. Froth the milk or plant-based drink

  5. Pour the micro foam into the espresso

  6. Enjoy!

The key to the latte really is the micro foam. It can take time and practice to perfect, but once mastered, it greatly increases the quality of the latte. For a perfect result, the micro foam must be liquid, but not like milk, smooth, but without bubbles. It should be uniform, shiny and slightly sweet.

With the rise in popularity of plant-based drinks, a vegan version of this popular beverage is now possible. You can now make your latte with, among other things, oat, pistachio, macadamia and soy drinks. However, to ensure that you obtain a micro foam that is as close as possible to that made with cow's milk, it is important to make sure you get one that bears the Barista label. The latte can also be enjoyed cold, iced lattes are extremely popular on hot summer days.

Latte art

Who says latte also says latte art! The art of creating patterns in the crema does not change the taste of the café latte, but it is a very widespread practice and appreciated by lovers of the beverage. To learn more about latte art and its history, you can consult our Guide to Latte Art. If you want to develop your skills, a latte art workshop is also offered at our Institut National du Barista!

You can also consult our playlist The Latte Art Guide available on YouTube to learn how to master different patterns among the most popular in latte art.

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