What’s The Best Type Of Beans For Cappuccino or Latte?

Do you want to make a cappuccino or latte at home and are your wondering what type of beans is best to use? Here’s what you should know.

Cappuccino or latte is made by adding milk to espresso. Espresso is a brewing method, and is often made with dark roasted beans. Dark roasted beans will produce a more dark and bitter taste which works well with dairy.

Below we’ll go into why that is and what you can need to make good cappuccino and latte.

What Type Of Coffee Beans Is Used For Cappuccino or Latte?

Cappuccino and Latte are both made by adding milk and milk foam to a shot of espresso. So the actual coffee part of a cappuccino or latte is espresso. Generally, dark roasted beans are used to make espresso.

Milk is a very important part of any cappuccino or latte. But just foamed or warm milk alone is not enough. What makes a cappuccino a cappuccino is the coffee that’s also in there. What kind of coffee is used for cappuccino and latte?

Suggested Article: What are espresso beans?

Proper cappuccino is made with espresso. If you look at a cup of cappuccino, about, 2/3 is milk (including the +-1.5 cm of foam on top) and 1/3 is espresso (1 shot). So you can see that the espresso is an essential part. The same goes for latte although the ratios are different.

Sometimes espresso is made with lighter roasted beans but for a cappuccino or latte this isn’t optimal. Since you add a lot of milk to the espresso, you want it to have a big punch to balance out the dairy. Dark roasted beans have more body, dark notes and bitterness which works better with dairy.

You don’t necessarily need to use coffee beans that are called ‘espresso’ beans but a darker roast is recommended.

Do You Need Really Espresso Beans For Latte And Cappuccino?

Does the type of bean matter if you want to make latte or cappuccino? Since you add a lot of milk, you cover up much of the taste anyways? Do you need espresso beans or will any type of bean work?

We should cover what espresso beans actually are. All coffee beans start out green. There are many different green coffees but how you roast them is what turns them into espresso beans. Espresso beans are usually roasted a bit longer which makes them darker than ‘normal’ coffee beans.

The darker roast allows an espresso machine to extract all the flavor from it quicker than lighter roasted beans. This is one of the reasons why espresso is so thick and strong. But it is also possible to make espresso with lighter roasted beans although a bit more difficult. lighter roasts have less bitterness and more sourness.

For cappuccino and latte you don’t really want more acidity so a dark roast is the best choice for most people. These beans don’t necessarily have to be labeled as ‘espresso’ beans though. Just dark roasted coffee beans are fine. The ‘espresso’ label on the bag is just an indication of what you can use it for.

Suggested: Can you make espresso in a regular coffee maker?

If you’re buying pre-ground coffee for an espresso machine, you should definitely choose the bag that mentions it’s for espresso. That’s because coffee grounds for espresso are much finer than for regular coffee so normal pre-ground coffee won’t work properly in an espresso machine. The bags of pre-ground espresso coffee are usually dark roasted.

Suggested: Is espresso just finely ground coffee?

Espresso grounds in a portafilter

Can You Use Normal Coffee To Make Cappuccino/Latte?

A good cappuccino for me has the correct balance between the bitter, dark coffee flavor and the rich creamy milk with the silky soft foam on top. You need to start with that strong, intense espresso so you can get that balance after adding milk.

Suggested: Does espresso have milk in it?

If you use drip coffee and try to make cappuccino with the same ratios as usual, you’ll get a very weak cappuccino without much coffee flavor. Of course you can just add milk to normal coffee if you want but that won’t really be a cappuccino.

Espresso machines are expensive. Many people don’t have one at home but many people would like to make cappuccino at home. So what can you do instead? A moka pot is a good replacement for an espresso machine in this case. A moka pot is also called a stovetop espresso maker. They don’t brew coffee quite as strong as a real espresso machine but it’s the closest you’ll come with a cheap tool.

You’ll also need something to foam the milk since a moka pot can’t do that. A French press or electric milk frother is the best. You can try vigorously whisking warm milk in a pot but you’ll only try that once.

Recommended Espresso Equipment

Besides an espresso machine, there are a few other tools that can make your espresso better. Here are my favorites:

  • Espresso Machine: The Breville Barista Express (Amazon) is the sweet spot in price and quality for most casual home baristas. It comes with a built in grinder and most tools you need to brew espresso.
  • Tamper: A nice tamper helps you tamp your grounds in the filter for the best result. Any correctly sized tamper can do the job but a nice heavy one just feels so much better in your hand than a plastic model. This Luxhaus one (Amazon) has a nice trick up it’s sleeve to make tamping very consistent.
  • Beans: Good espresso starts with good beans. Using fresh beans is a big improvement over pre-ground coffee.
  • Scales: Getting consistently good espresso means you have to know how much grounds is going into the machine and how much is coming out and how long this takes. A coffee scale is going to make your espresso much more consistent and also makes adjustments a lot easier. The Apexstone coffee scale (Amazon) is cheap and doesn’t look too sleek but is just as accurate as more expensive scales. The TimeMore scales (Amazon) look and feel a lot nicer but cost a bit more.
  • Distribution tool: After grinding you can get some clumps in the coffee grounds. Those clumps should be broken up so the water can extract all the coffee grounds equally. Distribution tools are very simple things but this one (Amazon) is beautifully made and will look good in your kitchen.


Welcome to CoffeeImproved! Since falling in love with coffee, I've been on a journey to improve my morning cup day by day. That means I've tried many different brew methods, beans and equipment and experimented with all of them to find what I like. This is where I share what I've learned with you.

Recent Posts