Lattes and Cappuccinos are tricky coffee drinks to make good. On one side, too much milk will overcome even the strongest coffee capsule while on the other side a too bitter blend will make necessary to add more sugar, watering down the coffee flavours and the milk taste. There’s a need of a Nespresso capsule that is both intense enough to not succumb under the amount of milk while not being very bitter. If it has nice flavours that can be savoured, the better.
For these reasons, most of the weakest Nespresso capsules won’t do. They are nice on their own, flavourful and delicate, but won’t stand out when mixed with milk. You will lose most of their taste in a latte or cappuccino.
Same for the darkest roasts: these will do in a drink with a low to moderate amount of milk, think of a macchiato or cortado, but latte and cappuccino have a larger ratio of milk compared to coffee. The risk here is that only the bitterness of these capsules will be noticeable, leaving you with little choice than to add copious amount of sugar, making a very sweet drink that is neither very “milky” nor pleasurably high in coffee flavours. Unless you love the bitterness, in which case go for the strongest capsule.
We thus selected a few Nespresso capsules that are the best for lattes and cappuccinos following these guidelines: enough coffee flavours to be tasted without having to reduce the milk or add much sugar.
Are there Cappuccino pods?
Nespresso, and the vast majority of companies making Nespresso compatible capsules, doesn’t make any “cappuccino pods”, meaning capsules that contain both milk and coffee inside. Think of ready-to-make Cappuccino or Latte pods. Some smaller companies do. We aren’t covering those here as pre-made capsules have variable ratios of coffee and milk, which are geared to different people. Your mileage may greatly vary with those.
Pure coffee capsules are instead better as you can tweak how much coffee you want in your Cappuccino or Latte, and then add a specific variety of milk, or milk substitute, and how much of it you want. With “Cappuccino pods” or “Latte pods”, you can’t. The taste profile is decided by the producer and there’s no chance for you as a consumer to modify it.
The Best Nespresso Capsules for Lattes
Lattes are generally considered largely milk with an espresso (or double espresso) quantity of coffee and some froth to top it. The foam should be smooth and not too firm. Depending on the tradition you follow, the european or american, the ratio of coffee to milk can vary, even a lot, but usually a Latte is considered to be much more milk than coffee and surely more milky than a cappuccino.
If you prefer a gentle, subtle coffee flavour that complement the milk instead than being on par or even overcoming it, these capsules will work great for you:
- Barista Chiaro
- Nordic Almond Cake (for a sweet Latte without using sugar)
- Vanilio / Vanilla Eclair (for a vanilla-flavoured Latte)
If you prefer a Latte that leans towards the coffee component, or simply stronger, these will do the job:
- Barista Scuro
- Barista Corto
- Ristretto (good for a neutral, balanced latte)
- Cafezinho do Brasil
- Kazaar/Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar (it may be too strong for some)
The Best Nespresso Capsules for Cappuccinos
Cappuccinos are required to taste more of coffee because of the ratio of the recipe: at least 1/3 should be coffee. That’s the rule of thirds that has been passing around since decades in how to make a proper cappuccino: 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk and 1/3 froth.
Thanks to that ratio, you can play with milder capsules too and they will work better than in a Latte. These would be:
For stronger cappuccinos, the best Nespresso capsules would be those who more closely resemble the original italian/austrian recipe: medium-dark roast, bitter, cocoa hints. Nespresso original line has quite a few capsules fitting the description, such as:
- Ciocattino/Cocoa Truffle (with cocoa powder on top to match)
- Barista Corto
- Arpeggio/Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio (for a cappuccino with cocoa hints)
- Kazaar/Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar
- Ispirazione Napoli (perfect for a strong and syrupy cappuccino)
- India (somewhat salty, maybe an acquired taste)