Espresso can taste very bitter and for many people, it is too bitter. With that being the case, it might be tempting to make espresso with milk instead of water.

This post will show you whether or not you should make espresso with milk and milk-based espresso drinks that you can make.

So, can I use milk instead of water in an espresso machine? No, you should avoid using milk instead of water. Instead of using milk to make the espresso, use water to make it and then add milk to it after it is made.

Milk contains sugars and proteins that water does not. Heating the milk up will cause the milk to damage the inside of your espresso machine. Not only that, but milk does not taste good when it is heated up too much so the espresso would likely taste bad anyway.

With that being said, there are many milk-based espresso drinks that are designed to be made by first making espresso the normal way and then adding milk to it afterward.

Milk-based espresso drinks

Espresso (made with water) can serve as a great base to be added to in order to make some very nice tasting milk-based drinks that are not too sweet or bitter.


Cappuccino is where you add steamed milk and milk foam to a double shot of espresso. It has a creamy and coffee like taste.

A Cup of Cappuccino

Any type of milk can be used to make cappuccino but the type of milk used will have an impact on the way that it tastes.

If whole milk is used to make the cappuccino then it will give it a more creamy taste and if low-fat milk is used then it will have a more coffee-like taste.

Here is a video on how to make cappuccino:

Questions people ask about cappuccino

Is cappuccino served hot? Cappuccino is normally served hot. You can, however, get or make iced cappuccino if you would like to.

Is cappuccino caffeinated? Cappuccino is made with espresso which contains coffee so it will be caffeinated.


Latte is where a lot of steamed milk and a little bit of milk foam is added to espresso.

Latte has a very creamy taste with a slight coffee like taste as well.

Latte is very similar to cappuccino. The difference between them is that with latte a lot of steamed milk is added to the espresso and a small amount of milk foam is added. Whereas, with cappuccino a roughly even amount of steamed milk and milk foam are added to the espresso. Cappuccino is a bit less creamy and tastes a bit more like coffee compared to latte.

As with cappuccino latte can be made using any type of milk. If whole milk is used then it will taste more creamy.

Here is a video on how to make latte:

Questions people ask about latte

Can you get iced latte? You can buy ready-made iced latte. It will normally be espresso with chilled milk poured over ice.

Does latte have sugar? It depends, if you get iced latte then it will normally have sugar in it. If you make a hot latte yourself then it won’t have much sugar if you only use espresso and milk.


Breve is where half and half steamed milk and cream is added to the espresso.

It has a creamier taste than cappuccino and latte since the cream has a higher fat content.

The way that the espresso is made, the type of milk used and the amount of cream that is added will all have an impact on the way that breve tastes.

You can watch the video below to see how breve is made.


Mocha is where chocolate syrup and steamed milk are added to espresso. This give the mocha a chocolatey and creamy taste that also has a slight coffee like taste as well.

You can get mocha cold or hot but traditionally, it is made hot. If you get mocha cold then it will likely have had other flavorings added to it.

Mocha can also be made by adding hot chocolate to the espresso instead of chocolate syrup and milk foam.

Below is a video on how to make mocha:


Macchiato is where a small amount of milk foam is added to a double shot of espresso.

It still has a strong taste that espresso has but the milk foam helps to reduce the bitterness of the espresso.

You can also make a short macchiato which is where a small amount of milk foam is added to a single shot of espresso instead of a double shot of espresso.

The macchiato is similar to the cortado which is also where milk foam is added to espresso. The difference between the two is that more milk foam is added with a cortado. If you want the drink to be more creamy then you would likely prefer the cortado.

Flat white

Flat white is an espresso with steamed milk added to it.

Flat White Espresso

Flat white is similar to latte and cappuccino. The difference with flat white is that flat white does not include milk foam. This gives the flat white a slightly less creamy taste compared to latte and cappuccino.

Things to consider if you want a less bitter espresso

If you are wondering whether or not you can use milk to make espresso then I’m guessing the reason is that you want it to taste less bitter and more creamy like with milk.

If you want your espresso to be less bitter and to be able to make it more creamy then there are a number of things that you can do.

The first option for you would be to just get a pod machine instead. Pod machines allow you to make different types of espresso drinks such as latte and cappuccino without having to do much yourself. The pod machine that I would recommend that allows you to make latte and espresso would be this one on Amazon.

In addition to that, to make your espresso less bitter, you can use Arabica beans instead of Robusta, use beans with a lighter roast, grind the beans less fine and you can make the espresso using more water than usual.


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