The best Nespresso capsules for lattes will produce bold, intense, and smooth espresso that’s just begging for steamed, frothy milk.
At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Best Nespresso Capsules For Lattes
Finding a capsule capable of such feats might seem challenging, but it’s entirely possible thanks to the high-quality coffee in many Nespresso-friendly products.
Quick Summary: Best Nespresso Capsules For Lattes
|NESPRESSO DIAVOLITTO DARK ROAST
|Check on Amazon →
|STARBUCKS BY NESPRESSO DARK ROAST
|Check on Amazon →
|NESPRESSO RISTRETTO DARK ROAST
|Check on Amazon →
|CAFE BUSTELO DARK ROAST CAPSULES
|Check on Amazon →
|LEGATO ESPRESSO FORTISSIMO
|Check on Amazon →
The Top Five Nespresso Capsules for Lattes
Below, we cover our top five favorite coffee capsule picks for coffee enthusiasts. Then, we’ll give you a buyer’s guide to Nespresso capsules and lattes. By the time we’re through, you’ll know exactly what you need to craft the perfect espresso-based drink.
Nespresso Diavolitto Dark Roast – Top Pick
Nespresso Diavolitto capsules rival fresh-brewed espresso from an Italian cafe. It boasts an intense but smooth flavor, featuring beans from Central and South America. The espresso from these ground coffee pods is full-bodied but balanced, making it ideal for creating a delicious latte.
Unfortunately, Nespresso Diavolitto capsules are on the pricey side, though they’re still far cheaper than buying cups of coffee at a coffee shop. And, these capsules only work in the Vertuoline of Nespresso machines. Sadly, if you have an original model Nespresso machine, the pods won’t fit.
- High-quality espresso with a full-bodied mouthfeel
- Smooth and intense flavor
- Thick crema
- On the pricey side for capsules
- Only works with Vertuoline machines
Starbucks By Nespresso Dark Roast
Starbucks coffee can be a divisive topic; some adore it, and others hate the taste. And it’s true, Starbucks traditionally uses a very dark roast coffee that features burnt undertones. If you’re a fan of the popular coffee shop’s flavors, though, these capsules will be your favorite for creating lattes.
They taste exactly like Starbucks coffee at a fraction of the cost. The espresso they produce is bitter, strong, and powerful, ideal for many traditional latte lovers. The sweetness of the frothed milk will balance the bitterness of the coffee, bringing out its caramel notes.
- Tastes exactly like Starbucks
- Strong, rich flavor
- Dark and bitter roast ideal for lattes
- Burnt undertones
- Best suited for lattes; few enjoy the straight espresso
Nespresso Ristretto Dark Roast
The Nespresso Ristretto pods feature a combination of South American and East African Arabica beans alongside a touch of robusta beans. Many believe arabica and robusta blends are ideal for making rich espresso with thick crema on top. So, this combination may create the perfect base for a fantastic latte.
The blend of coffee beans is acidic, and intense with fruity notes, which pairs perfectly with sweet, steamed milk. However, unlike the Starbucks capsules, there’s very little bitterness in these. These capsules produce a very smooth coffee that’s easy to drink, with or without milk.
- Thick crema capabilities
- Suitable for any espresso-based drink, including lattes
- Very little bitterness
- Robusta beans in the blend can create sharp flavors
- Only compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine machines
Cafe Bustelo Dark Roast Capsules
The unique Latin-style espresso Cafe Bustelo capsules create is sharper than the ristretto capsules listed above, but the flavor is still balanced and ideal for latte-based drinks. These capsules also produce a thick crema inherent to any good espresso.
Unfortunately, Cafe Bustelo doesn’t create its capsules in partnership with Nespresso. Though the capsules fit Nespresso devices, you have to be careful. Each capsule has a small lip that can catch on the rim of the machine. If that happens, the pod ends up crushed, and you’ll be without your shot of espresso.
- Excellent and intense flavor
- Incredible crema
- Unique Latin-style roast
- Capsule design may cause problems in some machines
- The sharp flavor may be too intense for some
Legato Espresso Fortissimo
Legato Espresso Fortissimo capsules feature an authentic Italian roast with bold and intense flavors. Despite being imported, these capsules are very affordable and come in single-wrapped packaging for freshness. But, unfortunately, the individual wrappings create a lot of trash.
Legato Espresso also uses “flo capsules” designed to provide consistent machine extraction despite the very finely ground beans they contain. The flo capsules work well, but they have a drawback; extraction takes far longer with these capsules than with other brands.
- Authentic Italian roast with rich, strong flavor
- Affordable despite being imported
- Stay-fresh packaging and “flo capsules” improve quality
- Packaging creates a lot of waste
- “Flo capsules” and fine grind means extraction takes extra time
Perfect Lattes with a Capsule: A Nespresso Buyer’s Guide
Lattes are, by definition, espresso with steamed, frothed milk. So, getting one directly out of a capsule isn’t the best option. Instead, capsules simplify the latte-making process by taking care of the espresso portion at the touch of a button.
That means, to make a perfect latte with a Nespresso capsule, you’ll need to pay attention to several things, such as the milk, the type of roast, and the coffee beans.
The Magic of Milk
By volume, lattes are more milk than they are espresso. Each latte requires about eight ounces of milk for every one to two ounces of espresso. So, steamed milk is a vital component that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The kinds of milk you use will significantly affect the quality of your drink, especially when it comes to the creamy milk foam that sits on top of a well-made milky latte.
From a physics perspective, skim milk makes the best and most stable foam for lattes. However, skim milk has no fat and therefore lacks the creamy texture that most casual coffee drinkers crave.
Luckily, using homogenized milk and heating it to over 105F can help create stable foam, even in high-fat milk. This is because homogenization reduces the size of the fat molecules without lowering the total fat. And heating milk melts the fat molecules, so they don’t get in the way of the proteins responsible for stable foam.
So, in general, you’ll want to use higher-fat, homogenized milk for your lattes. Typically, baristas steam their milk to 135F, which melts the fat for better foaming and creates a more velvety mouthfeel.
To froth the steamed milk to create the foam, you can use the frothing wand included with most espresso machines. However, investing in a separate milk frother will help you produce the best quality drink if you really love lattes.
Type of Roast
When looking for capsules for your latte, you may come across espresso roasts. Espresso roast is just a generic term for dark roasted coffee beans. And you can use any dark coffee to create an espresso-based drink.
Dark roasts are typically nutty, rich, and slightly bitter. In a latte, you usually want the bitterness as the sweetness of the milk will balance it beautifully. Dark roasts are also lower in acidity and sometimes feature charred flavors. Whether you like those burnt undertones is a matter of preference.
Roasts are sometimes named for a specific region, like French roasts or Italian roasts, but don’t get confused! A French roast doesn’t mean the coffee beans came from France; it only means roasters used the French style.
In general, all of the following styles represent dark roasts suitable for espresso drinks:
- French Roast
- Italian Roast
- European Roast
- Viennese Roast
- Continental Roast
- New Orleans Roast
- Spanish Roast
When choosing a Nespresso capsule for your latte, you might also want to pay attention to bean origin. As mentioned above, bean origin is different from the type of roast, though both may be named for a geographical region.
Most capsules for lattes or espresso-based drinks feature a blend of beans from different areas of the world, like Ethiopian beans mixed with beans from South and Central America.
Usually, this is good because single-origin espressos (SOEs) often come out unbalanced. Using beans from a single area can highlight a specific flavor profile, but they’re often overly acidic and too fruit-forward for latte lovers.
Blends are the safer option, but what beans you prefer in the blend is a matter of personal choice. Central American beans from Honduras or Nicaragua typically have bright, clean flavor profiles. In contrast, Columbian coffee is almost sweet with minimal acidity. And, coffee from Ethiopia or Uganda tends to be more floral and full-bodied.
Experimenting with blends can be fun. Try them all and see which types you like best. Maybe you prefer a combination that’s heavy on Central American beans, or perhaps full-bodied African coffee beans are more your style. Either way, paying attention to bean origin is one of the best ways to expand your latte-making horizons.
Arabica Vs. Robusta Beans
Some espresso roasts only contain Arabica coffee beans, but the best roasts feature an arabica and robusta blend. Arabica beans are sweet, fruity, and nutty, with flavors reminiscent of chocolate. They grow at high elevations where growth, in general, is slow. This gives time for the flavor in these beans to develop, but it also raises their price.
Robusta beans are cheaper to grow and buy. They also have more caffeine, and therefore more bitterness. That means, in America, at least, we tend to see robusta beans as lower quality.
And, most Americans assume that arabica roasts are better than arabica-robusta mixes. However, that’s not always the case. Classic Italian espressos, for example, rely heavily on robusta beans because they’re better at producing a thick crema.
So, an arabica-robusta mix is ideal for espresso-based coffee drinks. However, this again is a matter of personal taste. There’s no correct answer in the arabica vs. robusta beans debate.
Frequently Asked Questions
At this point, you probably have a good idea of what you want in your Nespresso capsules, but there are a few questions we’ve yet to address. Let’s see if we can take care of that.
Are There Pre-Made Latte Pods?
Yes, pre-made latte pods with included milk products exist, but we can’t recommend them. The coffee to milk ratio is usually variable, and the quality tends to be subpar.
If you’re serious about high-quality lattes, use an espresso pod and add the milk yourself. It’ll taste far better and will include fewer chemicals.
What Creates Crema in Nespresso Pods?
Crema doesn’t come from cream when we’re talking about Nespresso pods. Instead, the natural frothiness or crema comes from the pressure inherent to espresso brewing. Thick crema is a sign of quality espresso, so seeing it from a Nespresso pod is an excellent sign.
Can I Use My Nespresso Capsule Twice?
Technically yes, you can use your Nespresso capsule twice, but we don’t recommend it. People tend to do this for one of two reasons. Either to save money or because the first brew is too intense.
However, it’s a better idea to buy a less intense or more affordable capsule than using the same one twice. The results will be more consistent, and you’ll enjoy better-quality lattes.
Nespresso capsules, in general, make great espresso attainable even if you’re not a barista by trade. They’re also convenient and far less expensive than a cup of coffee at a cafe.
Still, finding a Nespresso capsule that helps you create a smooth and creamy latte can seem like a challenge. There are so many Nespresso capsules to choose from, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the nuances of espresso roasts.
Since lattes are mostly steamed milk by volume, it’s important to pick an espresso that’s bold and full-bodied. It needs to shine through the sweet creaminess, so even bitter or burnt flavors can be a desirable attribute.
In our opinion, that means the best Nespresso capsules for lattes are the Nespresso Diavolitto capsules. Their flavor truly rivals that of an old-world cafe. The espresso shots these capsules create are full-bodied, rich, with just a little bitter taste. In other words, they’re perfect for creating lattes.
Of course, Nespresso Diavolitto capsules are pricey, and some might need a more affordable choice. In that case, the Legato Espresso capsules or the Cafe Bustelo capsules are also excellent options.
As long as the capsule you choose creates a bold and smooth espresso shot, adding frothed, steamed milk is almost sure to make the perfect latte.