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How to Tell the Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino

 

Part of being an expert coffee drinker is knowing how to order exactly what you want.  This may be easy for those who go for an espresso or as an extension of this, an americano.  However, when you start adding extra ingredients, the type of coffee that you’ll order will vary.  If you’re one of the many people who enjoy the combination of creamy milk with the bold flavors of espresso, then you’re not alone.  That said, there are many different variations of coffee that contain dairy, with the two most popular being lattes and cappuccinos.  These two espresso-based beverages have many similarities, which is why they’re commonly confused.  By understanding the difference between them, you can enhance your knowledge about coffee, while guaranteeing that you choose the right one to your liking.

 

What's the Difference Between Lattes and Cappuccinos?

These two beverages may look alike, and even taste similar, but they are not the same.  Although both drinks contain espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk, the ratio of ingredients are different.

 

Latte

Lattes and cappuccinos both have the same base: a delicious shot or two of espresso.  In order to make a latte, baristas must combine the shot of espresso with steamed milk, and then top it with a small layer of foamed milk.  The general coffee-to-milk ratio is 1:5, with some variations depending on liking.  This means that if a latte has 2 espresso shots, it should be paired with about 8 to 10 ounces of steamed milk.

 

Cappuccino

Cappuccinos, on the other hand, use less milk than lattes, although the size of the beverage often leads many to think otherwise.  This is due to its preparation; while lattes primarily consist of steamed milk, cappuccinos have a bigger ratio of foamed milk.  In fact, cappuccinos have an equal ratio of ingredients, with its usual ratio being: 2 ounces of espresso, 2 ounces of steamed milk, and 2 ounces of foamed milk.  Aside from the ratios, one of the distinguishers between these two beverages is the texture of the drink, as cappuccinos have more froth than lattes.

 

Which is stronger?

Since cappuccinos contain less milk, they taste stronger.  However, both beverages typically contain the same amount of espresso, so you don’t have to worry about losing out on any well-needed caffeine, no matter which one you prefer.  

 

Which is sweeter?

Neither of these beverages are made with sweeteners, unless requested.  That said, a latte will naturally taste a little sweeter than a cappuccino.  Not only does it have a higher ratio of milk, but steamed milk brings out its naturally sweet flavors.

 

Which is healthier?

Cappuccinos are generally healthier than lattes, as they have fewer calories and less fat due to its lower ratio of milk.  Nonetheless, there are different factors that affect how many calories your beverage contains, such as the type of milk you use and whether you add any extra flavors or sweeteners.  Thankfully, both beverages can be enjoyed on a healthy diet.

Lattes and cappuccinos can be found in every coffee shop around the world.  Although they have clear similarities, their taste and texture are what sets them apart.  The next time you’re debating which one to order, ask yourself if you would prefer the stronger espresso flavor that a cappuccino provides, or the smoother and slightly sweeter flavor of a latte.