It can be embarrassing to ask the barista what the difference is between coffee drinks, we have all been there. Though to be completely honest, they won’t care at all and if you do get spoken down to I would suggest not going back!
Anyway, the good news is you won’t need to ask them as the answer is easy. This article will teach you the difference between a Latte (also known as a Caffè Latte) and a Cappuccino and will also answer some frequently asked questions that are associated with the Espresso based beverages.
You will be strutting into that coffee shop like a pro in no time.
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Lattes don’t really have an official size but are commonly served in an 8 ounce (240ml) cup.
They are made up of approximately 1/5th Espresso (usually 1 shot) and 4/5ths steamed milk, with a small amount of (approx. 1 – 2cm) foamed milk on top.
If you would like to learn more about the Latte you can find everything you need to know in our comprehensive article including a step-by-step guide to making the perfect Latte with an Espresso machine and at home.
Because the Latte has a 1:5 ratio, it is the milkiest out of the Espresso based coffees and therefore the weakest in Espresso taste – making this a great entry point into the world of coffee for a lot of people.
The amount of milk gives the Latte a sweetness and a luxurious, coating quality to its mouth-feel.
Like a lot of coffee history, the origins of the Latte aren’t completely certain, but a history can be pieced together from what we do know – but maybe best taken with a pinch of salt.
It is commonly thought that coffee with milk originated in Italy – though, it could’ve been any number of European countries, as places like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Austria, have been combining coffee and milk since at least the 17th century.
The Latte as we know it is said to be an American invention, inspired by the original European recipe – but this has never been fully proven.
This will not be an in-depth description of Latte art, this will come in a future article.
Latte art is the artwork that is produced on the surface of Lattes (and any other coffee drink with milk foam such as the Cappuccino) that is achieved by a skilful hand when combining the milk and the Espresso.
Common Latte art designs are hearts and rosettes, but really the only limit on what you can create is your imagination (and skill of course).
Cappuccinos are approximately 5 to 6 ounces (150 – 180ml) in total and made up of 1/3rd Espresso (traditionally 1 shot), 1/3rd steamed milk and 1/3rd foamed milk.
If you would like to learn more about the Cappuccino you can find everything you need to know in our comprehensive article including a step-by-step guide to making the perfect Cappuccino with an Espresso machine and at home.
The 1:3 ratio gives the Cappuccino a great balance between the taste of the Espresso and the dilution of the milk making the Cappuccino taste stronger then a Latte but not as strong as a Flat White.
The milk also gives the Cappuccino a lovely sweetness and a luxurious, coating quality to its mouth-feel.
Cappuccinos and Lattes have a lot in common. In Italy, both are considered morning (and only morning) coffees, at their core they are predominantly made up of 2 main ingredients; Espresso and milk and in both types of coffee some of the milk is foamed and some of the milk is steamed. The (main) difference between the 2 drinks is the proportions of these main ingredients.
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Cappuccino vs Latte – what is the difference?
Beyond the proportions a Cappuccino is officially 5 – 6 ounces (150 – 180ml) and is commonly topped (though, not in Italy) with chocolate or cocoa dusting. Other topping variations can include cocoa grades, sugar granules coated in cocoa, cinnamon or nutmeg.
A Latte is a little less official with its measurements due to the fact that it is more commonly made at home in Italy rather than ordered in a café. Outside of Italy, it is commonly served as an 8 ounce (240ml) beverage.
If you are watching your calorie intake and are wondering which has less calories between a Cappuccino and a Latte, then wonder no more.
It really all comes down to the milk content, so with that in mind a Latte will traditionally have more calories than a Cappuccino. Though, the difference between the two is not that big.
For an example of the difference the following calorie information has been taken from Starbucks UK:
Calories in a Starbucks Latte made with skimmed milk
Short: 60 Kcal
Tall: 102 Kcal
Grande: 128 Kcal
Venti: 168 Kcal
Calories in a Starbucks Cappuccino made with skimmed milk
Short: 49 Kcal
Tall: 93 Kcal
Grande: 103 Kcal
Venti: 144 Kcal
Calories in a Starbucks Latte made with whole milk
Short: 108 Kcal
Tall: 181 Kcal
Grande: 228 Kcal
Venti: 298 Kcal
Calories in a Starbucks Cappuccino made with whole milk
Short: 85 Kcal
Tall: 163 Kcal
Grande: 181 Kcal
Venti: 253 Kcal
For the whole list of Starbucks’ nutritional information click HERE.
Cappuccinos and Lattes both begin life as an Espresso shot, therefore they have the exact same amount of caffeine, i.e. 1 shot of Espresso.
Though, keep in mind that caffeine levels can and will vary in the Espresso shot depending on which café you are buying your coffee from or which barista is pulling the shot.
So in conclusion, if both drinks have 1 shot of Espresso then technically both drinks should have the same amount of caffeine but more likely they won’t. Though, the difference in the amount of caffeine has nothing to do with whether you are ordering a Latte or a Cappuccino.
If you are wondering which of the 2 drinks will taste stronger, then that will be the Cappuccino. This is due to the fact that a Cappuccino has less milk than a Latte, thus less milk equals stronger coffee taste.
Firstly, I would always suggest trying both and seeing what you prefer, but if you can’t decide which of the 2 drinks you should try first, ask yourself these questions:
Do you like foam in your coffee?
Do you prefer a stronger coffee taste?
If the answer is yes to both, then go for the Cappuccino.
That’s it, thanks for reading!
As always if you have any questions or feel like we have missed anything please send your questions/suggestions to [email protected]