latte vs cappuccino

Latte vs. Cappuccino (Difference, Milk Ratios, Caffeine)

 Latte vs Cappuccino 

When you think of coffee drinks, two that might come to the forefront of your mind are lattes and cappuccinos.

These are by far two of the most popular coffee drinks in America, if not the entire world.

However, despite their popularity, many beginners and even regular coffee drinkers do not know the difference between the two, and what makes each drink unique.

Today we are going to be covering everything that you need to know about lattes and cappuccinos, including their differences, which one is healthier, the milk ratios, and more!

By the time you finish this article, you will never have to wonder about a latte or cappuccino again! 

What is a Cappuccino?

A modern-day cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. Some places in Europe still make the cappuccino in the more traditional way, with whipped cream and added spices. However, when you are typically purchasing a cappuccino at a cafe or making one at home, it will feature the simple three ingredients mentioned above. 

The cappuccino drink originates from the Viennese coffee drink called “Kapuziner” in the 1750s.

From there, Italy played with this drink and turned it into what we know as the cappuccino today.

In the early 1900s, This drink became popular in Europe during both of the World Wars, but it didn’t become super popular in America until the 1980s.

This has led many Americans to believe that cappuccino is a newer drink on the scene.

However, even though its popularity only started a few decades ago, this classic drink has been around for hundreds of years in Europe. 

While traditionally this drink was only consumed in the mornings, in recent decades, there has been a shift towards drinking it in the afternoons and evenings as well.

In some European countries like the UK, France, and Spain, you can even purchase a cappuccino after dinner!

P.S: Many coffee aficionados will be the first to tell you that it is very difficult to recreate an authentic cappuccino from an automatic beverage machine at home.

Often the machines recommend powdered milk, which does not create the same milk foam that a cappuccino is known for.

If you don’t have any experience with cappuccinos, I recommend trying them in a coffee shop first before attempting to make one at home. 

If you are ready for the next step, you should try to make cappuccino at home with a cappuccino machine like this one.

The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino maker is our #1 best recommendation. it is semi-automatic 3-in-1 espresso, cappuccino and latte maker.

well, now is time to answer the next question…

What is a Latte?

Now that you are thoroughly informed about the history of the cappuccino, let’s take a look at the history of our other drink featured in this article: the latte.

Unlike the cappuccino, the latte has a much more recent history, and many credits its creation right here in the United States. 

In 1903, steam wands were added to espresso machines, which began the creation of the latte we know and love today.

However, it wasn’t until the 1980s in Seattle that the latte really started to take shape.

Baristas started experimenting with the highly textured milk at the top of the latte to paint beautiful creations on the top of the latte.

This started to gain a lot of traction and popularity, and this is when the latte really started to become a sought after drink.

The latte transformed from a drink of convenience to something special and started a rejuvenated interest in coffee art, and how beautiful coffee creations can really be. 

While you might not get a Van Gogh piece of art every time you purchase a latte, it is more likely than not that your coffee will do some sort of design on the top, even if it is a simple circle with a line. 

But what is in a latte that made it so popular in the first place?

As we will talk about a bit more below, the latte and cappuccino are not that different when it comes to what is inside them. Today, your typical latte is simply a shot or two of espresso combined with several ounces of steamed milk. 

Is a Latte Coffee?

While a cappuccino looks like a very distinct coffee drink, a latte can sometimes look like a regular cup of coffee. So, the question is commonly asked: is a latte coffee? 

A latte is a type of coffee, it’s just created over an espresso base. Lattes are simply espresso and steamed milk, so it is still coffee, just not in the traditional, brew a cup at home sense.

However, it is not impossible to create a latte at home. To create a latte at home, just follow these steps:

  • While the espresso is brewing, heat up the milk of your choice in the microwave for 30-45 seconds in a mug. 
  • After the milk is heated, take a whisk and mix the milk together to make it frothy. Mix for about 15-30 seconds. OR for the perfect milk foam, try this milk frother (works with both, dairt and NON-dairy milks)
  • Pour coffee into a mug, and gently pour milk on top.

Voila! Now you have a latte at home! 

Difference between Cappuccino vs Latte

As I mentioned earlier, the cappuccino and latte are eerily simple when it comes to ingredients. Both the cappuccino and latte have shots of espresso and milk.

The main difference between the cappuccino vs the latte is that the cappuccino has the milk foam on top, whereas a latte only has the steamed milk mixed into the drink and a small amount of milk foam on top to do the coffee designs.

This changes several things about the character of the drink. As we will talk about below, it makes one of them less strong, and it also means that the milk to espresso ratios are different. 

However, another major difference is the texture.

Many people describe a cappuccino as velvety and smooth, and this is in large part because of the milk foam on top. 

Additionally, a cappuccino is a distinctly layered drink. There is a layer of espresso, a layer of steamed milk, and a layer of foam milk.

With a latte, the steamed milk and espresso are mixed together. This means that the two drinks will also drink differently and have very different tastes. 

Latte vs Cappuccino: Which is Stronger

When it comes to whether a latte or cappuccino is stronger, it depends on how much espresso you add to your drink.

Traditionally, you can get one or two shots of espresso in either drink.

But typically people will say that a cappuccino has a stronger espresso taste because the espresso is not mixed together with the milk as it is in a latte.

So, if you like the taste of espresso, you will get more of that in a cappuccino!

However, you can always make your latte stronger by adding another shot of espresso. 

Latte vs Capuccino: Calories

As you are examining these two popular drinks, you might be wondering, which one is healthier?

When it comes to calories, a cappuccino will traditionally have fewer calories than a latte because it has less milk.

If they are made with whole milk, the average 12-ounce cappuccino has about 130 calories, whereas a 12-ounce latte has about 210 calories. 

However, there are ways to make each of these drinks healthier, and that is with the type of milk you use!

You can use a fat-free milk, or you can use a vegan milk!

Traditionally, almond milk has the least amount of calories out of the vegan milks.

If you use a flavored vegan milk, that will also create a flavored latte.

However, keep in mind that flavored milks will sometimes have more calories.

So feel free to experiment with different milks until you find the best fit for you, both flavor and calorie-wise. 

Latte Milk to Coffee ratio

With a latte, the typical ratio of espresso to steamed milk is 1 to 2.

This does not take into consideration the thin layer of foam on top. Typically, the layer of foam on top is about one centimeter.

This is why people consider a latte to be a lot less intense when compared to a cappuccino.

There is twice as much milk vs espresso, so the espresso taste is more subdued. 

Cappuccino Milk ratio

A cappuccino has much less milk than a latte.

Instead of a 1 to 2 espresso to milk ratio, a cappuccino has a 1 to 1 espresso to foam ratio.

This means, if made correctly, there are equal parts foam and espresso. 

Latte vs Cappuccino vs Mocha

When did this mocha word come into play? I promise I’m not introducing an entirely new drink into the conversation just to confuse you.

In fact, these three drinks are often paired together in the coffee conversation because, like the latte and cappuccino, the mocha is a very similar drink.

Each of these drinks is made with an espresso base and contains steamed milk.

However, the biggest difference is that a mocha features chocolate, an ingredient that a traditional latte and cappuccino will never have. 

Mochas are another drink that actually originated in the United States. It was based on the Bicerin, a beverage from Italy during the 18th century.

The main difference between those drinks is that the Bicerin was layered (like the cappuccino) whereas a mocha is all mixed together (like a latte). The traditional mocha is made with two shots of espresso, two ounces of hot chocolate, and one ounce of steamed milk.

As you can imagine, this is a much sweeter drink than the latte or the cappuccino. The espresso taste is very subdued, which makes it a favorite for coffee beginners. 

Cappuccino Flavors

Flavoring cappuccinos is a fun way to create completely different drinks with the same cappuccino base that we know and love.

Two of the most popular flavors for cappuccinos are vanilla and caramel.

Both of these flavors will make your cappuccino sweeter, so this is perfect for coffee beginners that aren’t quite used to the espresso taste yet. 

If you are looking for a holiday cappuccino, both peppermint and cinnamon cappuccinos are popular during the winter and fall months, respectively. 

Another fun way to add a little flavor to cappuccinos is by a drizzle on top.

You can drizzle chocolate or caramel on top for a spritz of flavor! 

Latte Flavors

When it comes to a latte, there are two flavors that are the most popular to add.

Hazelnut and Vanilla are extremely popular because they make the latte sweeter.

A plain latte will typically have a strong espresso taste, even though it has steamed milk mixed throughout the drink.

However, vanilla and hazelnut both make the drink much sweeter and lessen the taste of espresso.

This is an especially great addition for coffee drink beginners. If you still aren’t a big fan of coffee but want to try a few new coffee drinks, a vanilla or hazelnut latte is a great place to start!

If you want to create an earthy latte, cinnamon is a fun flavor to add.

This will add a little kick to your latte, and it is perfect for an autumn drink! 

Another fun flavor to try is a chai latte. A chai latte has several flavors and I highly recommend trying it at least once. Chai is a mix of black tea, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamon. 

Finally, if you want a really out-of-the-box flavor, a pistachio latte is the way to go. T

his flavor is unique and cozy. It is especially great when paired with a pastry! 

Conclusion on Latte vs Cappuccino

Do you feel like a latte and cappuccino pro yet?

Now that you know everything you need to know about these two delicious and popular coffee drinks, you can order from your coffee shop with confidence, and know exactly what you are getting.

Also, don’t forget to try some of the fun flavor pairings that I mentioned to have brand new drink experiences.

Plus, share this article with your coffee lover friends so we can educate everyone on how special the latte and cappuccino are!

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