cappuccino vs latte

Cappuccino vs Latte: A Coffee Comparison

Cappuccino and latte are two popular coffee-based beverages that have become a staple in cafes and households worldwide. Although cappuccino and latte have similarities, they possess unique qualities that differentiate them from each other.

In this article, we will delve into the world of cappuccino and latte, exploring their ingredients, preparation methods, differences, and more. So, let’s dive in and discover what makes these two beverages unique.

Understanding Cappuccino

cappuccino and latte

What is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is an Italian coffee beverage that consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. It is traditionally served in a small, porcelain cup and often garnished with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top. The name “cappuccino” is derived from the Capuchin friars, whose brown robes resemble the color of the coffee when combined with the milk.

Cappuccino Ingredients

To create a cappuccino, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Espresso: is a strong and concentrated coffee extraction created by passing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.
  • Milk: Whole milk is commonly used for cappuccinos due to its creamy texture and ability to create a thick foam.
  • Cocoa Powder or Cinnamon (optional): Used as a garnish for added flavor and visual appeal.

How is Cappuccino Made?

The process of making a cappuccino involves several steps:

  1. Start by brewing a shot of espresso using an espresso machine.
  2. While the espresso is brewing, steam the milk to create a velvety texture and creamy consistency.
  3. Once the milk is steamed, pour it over the espresso in equal parts, leaving space for the froth.
  4. Use the steam wand of the espresso machine to froth the remaining milk, creating a thick foam.
  5. Gently pour the frothed milk over the cappuccino, creating a layered effect.
  6. Optionally, sprinkle cocoa powder or cinnamon on top for additional flavor and decoration.

Exploring Latte

cappuccino and latte

What is a Latte?

Latte, short for caffè latte, is an Italian coffee beverage that consists of espresso and steamed milk. It is typically served in a larger cup compared to a cappuccino and often topped with a thin layer of milk foam. The term “latte” itself means milk in Italian, reflecting the significant role milk plays in this drink.

Latte Ingredients

To make a latte, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Espresso: A strong coffee extraction made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.
  • Milk: Similar to cappuccino, whole milk is commonly used for lattes, but alternative milk options can also be used.
  • Milk Foam: A thin layer of velvety foam created by steaming the milk.

How is Latte Made?

The process of making a latte involves the following steps:

  1. To start, prepare a shot of espresso by utilizing an espresso machine.
  2. While the espresso is brewing, steam the milk to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
  3. Pour the steamed milk over the espresso, holding back the foam with a spoon to control the pour.
  4. Allow a thin layer of milk foam to form on the top of the latte.
  5. Optionally, use the spoon to create latte art by manipulating the milk foam on the surface.

Cappuccino vs. Latte: The Similarities

While cappuccino and latte have their own unique characteristics, they also share some similarities. Let’s explore these similarities:

Espresso Base

Both cappuccino and latte are made with a base of espresso, providing a strong and concentrated coffee flavor to the beverages. The espresso serves as the foundation upon which the milk and foam are added.

Milk Steaming and Frothing

In both cappuccino and latte, the milk undergoes steaming and frothing processes. Steaming the milk creates a creamy texture and enhances the overall mouthfeel of the drinks. Frothing, on the other hand, involves creating a layer of foam using the steam wand of the espresso machine, adding a light and airy element to the beverages.

Common Serving Sizes

Cappuccinos and lattes are typically served in different-sized cups. However, they both fall within the range of small to medium-sized beverages. The exact serving sizes may vary depending on the establishment or personal preferences.

Cappuccino vs. Latte: The Differences

While cappuccinos and lattes have similarities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart from each other. Let’s explore these differences:

Milk to Espresso Ratio

One of the primary differences between cappuccino and latte lies in the milk-to-espresso ratio. Cappuccino is traditionally made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, resulting in a more balanced and layered composition. On the other hand, lattes contain more steamed milk and less foam, resulting in a creamier and milder taste.

Foam and Texture

The texture of cappuccinos and lattes differs due to the varying amounts of foam. Cappuccinos have a thicker layer of foam, which provides a rich and velvety mouthfeel. Lattes, on the other hand, have a thinner layer of foam, resulting in a smoother and creamier texture.

Flavor and Strength

Cappuccinos tend to have a stronger coffee flavor due to the balanced ratio of espresso, milk, and foam. The layers of espresso, milk, and foam create a harmonious combination that offers a robust taste. Lattes, with their higher proportion of steamed milk, have a milder coffee flavor and a creamier profile.

Health Considerations

When considering the health aspect of cappuccinos and lattes, several factors come into play:

Calorie Content

Cappuccinos and lattes made with whole milk and traditional ingredients have a moderate calorie content. The exact calorie count depends on the serving size and additional flavors or sweeteners. It’s worth noting that opting for alternative milk options or reducing the amount of added syrups can lower the calorie content.

Dairy-Free and Plant-Based Alternatives

For those with dietary restrictions or preferences, dairy-free and plant-based milk alternatives can be used in cappuccinos and lattes. Options like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk offer alternatives to traditional cow’s milk, catering to a wider range of dietary needs.

Caffeine Levels

Cappuccinos and lattes both contain espresso as their base, which means they provide a caffeine boost. However, the exact caffeine content can vary depending on the size of the drink, the number of espresso shots, and individual preferences. Those looking for a lower caffeine intake can opt for decaffeinated versions.


Cappuccino and latte are two beloved coffee beverages that offer distinct experiences to coffee lovers. While cappuccinos provide a balanced and layered composition with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, lattes offer a creamier and milder taste with more steamed milk and less foam. Choosing between the two depends on personal preferences, the time of day, and the occasion. 

Both drinks can be customized with flavors, enjoyed as iced versions, and adorned with artistic latte art. Consider your health needs and explore dairy-free and plant-based alternatives if desired. With the right equipment and techniques, you can also create barista-quality cappuccinos and lattes in the comfort of your own home.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is a cappuccino stronger than a latte?

Cappuccinos have a stronger coffee flavor compared to lattes due to the balanced espresso-to-milk ratio and the addition of foam.

2. Can I have decaffeinated versions of cappuccino and latte?

Yes, decaffeinated versions of cappuccinos and lattes are available. You can request decaf espresso shots or use decaffeinated coffee alternatives.

3. How do I create latte art?

Creating latte art requires practice and skill. Start by pouring the steamed milk into the espresso, then use a spoon to control the flow and create patterns on the surface. With time and practice, you can master the art of latte design.

4. What is the difference between a flat white and a latte?

The key distinction between a flat white and a latte lies in the ratio of milk to espresso and the resulting texture. Flat whites have a higher proportion of espresso and a thinner layer of milk foam, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor and a silkier texture.

5. Can I make a cappuccino or latte without an espresso machine?

While an espresso machine is commonly used to make cappuccinos and lattes, it is possible to create similar beverages using alternative brewing methods such as moka pots, French presses, or AeroPress. These methods may yield a slightly different flavor profile, but you can still enjoy a frothy milk and coffee combination.

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