Latte vs. Cappuccino: What Is the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between a latte and cappuccino? We review and compare the two drink options!

If some days your hardest decision is which coffee drink you want to enjoy, you are not alone. After all, we do take coffee very seriously around here!  Latte and Cappuccino are both two extremely popular espresso drinks ordered and made in kitchens all over the world each and every day. Although the two brews are often easily confused, they each have their own unique texture, flavor, and finishes. 

If you are in the market for a machine that has the ability to make cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button we recommend you get to know the Keurig K Cafe.

Today we share the difference between the two iconic drinks in hopes it makes your coffee drinking decisions a bit easier next time around.

Latte vs Cappuccino: Ingredients

Before we get into the distinct differences between a Latte versus a Cappuccino it is important to note one key similarity. They are both made from the exact same ingredients: a mix of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. In fact, there are many home espresso machines that can give you a frothy barista style drink right in the comfort of your own home.

You may be wondering how these two drinks can be different being they are composed of the same contents?! We are glad you asked! We assure you there are some key differences between these two drinks.

Cappuccinos Vs. Lattes

  • A cappuccino has an even distribution of espresso, steam milk and foamed milk that is distinctly layered.
  • A latte contains a greater amount of steamed milk and a light layer of foam that are blended together.

Want to make delicious espresso at home without buying a machine? Find out how!

All About Cappuccino

A creamy cup of cappuccino ready to serve.
The cappuccino is a an espresso-based Italian drink served with a thick layer of microfoam.

If espresso had a popularity contest, the Cappuccino would be the winner! This popular espresso-based Italian drink has legions of fans, and is known for its thick layer of milk microfoam that tops each one. 

The typical cappuccino is about 6 ounces in size and consists of an equal ratio of espresso, steamed milk and foam. Like many drinks, the cappuccino is customizable with the ability to be creative with flavorings and milk types.

In the United States, a cappuccino will begin with a layer of espresso shots with steamed milk placed on top. This is followed by an airy, thick layer of milk foam. A cappuccino has a stronger flavor profile than a latte being that the drink is made with less milk and more foam than a traditional latte. 

All About Latte

A thick foamy latte ready to serve.
The latte is served with a shot of espresso combined with a creamy layer of foam.

This warm, creamy, foamy drink has many saying “I love you a latte” and with good reason! A latte is a rich, velvety drink that has a more subtle espresso taste.

 A latte starts with a single or double shot of espresso that is combined with steamed milk resulting in a creamy, delicious drink topped with a layer of foam. Lattes are often enhanced with flavored syrups and can be made with different milk types as well. 

Lattes have gained popularity over the past 20 years, however variations of the latte have been around for centuries. In fact the term latte originates from an italian phrase meaning milk coffee.

Lattes are also popular for a trend known as “latte art”. Latte art is made by pouring microfoam into a shot of espresso and creating a design or pattern on the surface of the latte resulting in a drink so pretty it qualifies as art. Latte art has become so popular that well known espresso brands such as Nespresso have introduced the  Creatista Machine so you can easily create instagram worthy latte art at home.  

Click here for a comprehensive review of Nespresso’s top models.

Deciding Which Drink Option is Best

Now that we have gone over the differences between a cappuccino versus latte you may be saying to yourself which one do I choose? The truth is both drinks can bring you joy in a cup but your mood, taste and time frame may help you decide which drink is the best fit for you at that exact moment.

Here are a few questions to ask before you decide what to have in your cup:

Do you feel like a strong or creamy drink?

Lattes have a larger milk to espresso ratio, so if you are in the mood for something creamy, mellow and smooth a latte is the right option for you. 

If you are needing a burst of energy a solid amount of caffeine can provide you then a cappuccino should fit the bill. With way less steamed milk than a latte your drink will have a stronger punch and espresso flavor to it.

Magical Microfoam.. Or not so magical? 

When deciding which drink you are in the mood for, another question to ask is how much foam are you feeling like for the day.

Espressos are topped with 33% microfoam, resulting in a very foamy experience. If you are not a foam lover, or just not in the mood, lattes are a better way to go as they have a much thinner layer of foam placed on top. 

Do you want to savor your drinking experience or do you want to get it done?

If you want a warm drink in hand that you can sip and savor, a latte is the way to go. Lattes are typically two to three times larger than cappuccinos and are great sipping companions on days you want to take your time enjoying your drink.

Cappuccinos on the other hand are smaller and more concentrated, and are a great option for a drink you want to have in a hurry. 

Making Latte and Cappuccino at Home

Thanks to brewing technology today, you can easily make cappuccinos and lattes right in the comfort of your own home. For beginners, lattes are typically an easier drink to master. If you are looking for a barista style drink without the steps a barista needs to take in order to make one there are a lot of options on the market today that can create a latte in just minutes. 

Nespresso is the leader in one touch espresso machines, with models that can make you delicious espresso milk drinks at the touch of a button. One of Cozy’s favorites is the Nespresso Lattissima Plus. We have also compiled a list of our favorite Nespresso options that will have you on your way to drinking barista worthy drinks in no time.

Cappuccinos definitely require a bit more mastery but with a little patience and time you can be a cappuccino making pro in no time. Of course the proper cappuccino making tools such as a coffee scale and grinder don’t hurt either.

It is important to remember that the biggest success factor in brewing a great tasting drink is using high quality espresso beans. When it comes to brewing espresso, the bean is the most important component. 

Expensive machines and advanced brewing processes simply can’t compensate for low-quality beans. Since espresso is a smaller and more concentrated drink than ordinary coffee, it’s essential to use high-quality beans that ensure a robust flavor and rich crema.

Whether you opt for the creamy latte or the strong cappuccino we know that they will both provide you with an enjoyable espresso drinking experience! Enjoy!

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