main content

The iconic latte is one of those classic types of coffee that’s loved in coffee shops all over the world. The subtle coffee taste and creamy flavouring makes it a coffee that’s universally cherished by even the most casual of caffeine indulgers. With that being said, many don’t actually know what a latte is, the drink’s origin or the difference between a latte and a cappuccino. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about this well-loved drink.

What is a latte?

A latte, also known as a caffè latte, is a milky coffee originating in Italy, served with a silky layer of foam. They're similar to cappuccinos, but there are some obvious differences - mostly in the ratios of milk, water, and coffee, coming together to create a perfectly balanced milky coffee that possesses an aesthetically pleasing look and an irresistible texture.

What is a latte made of?

A latte or caffé latte is a type of coffee drink that uses one or two shots of espresso, lots of steamed milk and a final, thin layer of frothed milk on top, perfect for latte foam art. You can easily use your favourite dairy or dairy alternative to make a latte the way you want it, with whole milk, low-fat milk, or plant-based alternatives like soy, oat, or coconut milk.

Origins of the Latte

Origins of the Latte

Europeans have been inventing different kinds of coffees for centuries but the origins of the latte aren’t very clear. The silky beverage that we know and love today is thought to originate in America, hitting the peak of popularity during the 80’s. Known for it's highly textured milk and creative latte art to top, it is a one of the most popular coffee beverages around the world.

Explore the history of NESCAFÉ

Differences between a latte and a cappuccino

A lot of people get the Cappuccino and the Latte mixed, and it’s easy to understand why. They’re made of the same ingredients – espresso, and steamed milk. The difference between a latte and cappuccino is in the milk. A cappuccino has 20mm thick layer of steamed milk foam on top. Lattes, on the other hand, are brewed and poured into a cup prepared with steamed milk, which gives this beverage a much thinner, more delicate layer of foam. Lattes are also versatile – they’re delicious when they’re hot, and refreshing when they’re iced.

How to make a latte at home

Like the cappuccino and the macchiato, it's super easy to make a latte at home without an espresso machine. Here's what you need to get you started on making this iconic coffee drink in the comfort of your own kitchen.


  • 1 heaped teaspoon (3g) NESCAFÉ Gold Instant Coffee
  • Water heated to 80 degrees Celsius
  • Milk of your choice
  • Sugar to taste (optional)

To serve

  • A tall glass
  • A handheld or electric whisk, or an empty jar with a tight-fitting lid

Create It!

Step 1
Step 1

Heat the water to 80º C or 175º F. No need to fully boil your kettle - conserve energy while you enjoy your cup of NESCAFÉ!

Step 2
Step 2

Make the homemade espresso by adding 1 tablespoon of hot water to a mug, and adding in 2 teaspoons of coffee granules.

Step 3
Step 3

It's time to froth your milk. Heat it up gently in a pot or on the microwave - don't let it boil. Once it's heated, froth it using a handheld whisk, an electric whisk, or a milk frother. Gently stream the brewed coffee through the heated, frothed milk.

Remember - a latte has more steamed milk and less foam than a cappuccino.



Is a latte hot or cold?

The latte is one of those wonderfully versatile drinks that can be enjoyed hot or cold. The only difference is in the preparation. When you're frothing the milk for your iced latte, don't heat it up! Cold milk will also froth well. You can use a whisk or milk frother for this, but since it's cold milk, you can even froth it up by putting it in an empty jar (like your empty NESCAFÉ jar, for example), tightly closing the lid, and shaking it up until you get the froth you want. Then you simply pour the coffee through the cold, frothed milk, add some ice if you'd like it extra cold, and voila! A delicious iced latte, in a few simple steps, right at home.

Does latte mean milk?

The short answer? Yes. 'Latte' is Italian for milk, so if you're after a latte, make sure you ask for a caffe latte. That's the latte you're after! If you just ask for a latte, you might end up getting a plain glass of milk, which is nowhere near as satisfying as a smooth, foamy caffe latte.

Is a latte stronger than a cappuccino?

A latte and a cappuccino are very similar drinks, with the main difference being in the ratio of coffee to water to milk. Both drinks use an espresso base (for machine-made cappuccinos and lattes) or, in our case, instant coffee dissolved in hot or cold water. Because they use the same coffee base, neither one is stronger than the other, but it's likely that a latte will taste less intense because it uses more steamed milk than a cappuccino, which will cut through the intensity of the coffee.