The difference between a coffee latte and a cappuccino lies in the espresso-to-milk ratio used to prepare the two drinks.
If you’re a coffee lover and don’t know the difference between coffee latte and cappuccino, give this a read. Here we look at the two coffee types that are popular among coffee lovers.
But how are latte and cappuccino different from each other? Read on to find out about the differences.
Latte vs. Cappuccino – Key Differences
Both latte and cappuccino are prepared using the same ingredients. However, the key difference lies in the ratio of milk and espresso.
Baristas use different ratios of the same ingredients, which results in variations in taste and texture. They can then modify the presentation accordingly.
Despite using the same ingredients, there are several differences between a coffee latte and a cappuccino.
A cappuccino is a type of coffee with a stronger espresso taste. Served in a small size, a cappuccino is distinctively layered, with less milk than a latte, and a layer of foam on top.
The layer of foam on top of the cappuccino is a result of a unique preparation technique. The process allows for more air in the milk which helps form a foamy layer.
Typically, cappuccinos are served in a 6 oz serving mug.
A latte and cappuccino have the same ingredients combined differently. However, lattes have more milk than cappuccinos.
Given the higher ratio of milk to espresso, lattes tend to have a milder espresso taste. Moreover, they are often sweet.
Lattes are typically served in larger mugs (8 oz or 12 oz serving size). Moreover, they’re often served in mugs that retain heat better.
In a nutshell, cappuccinos have a stronger espresso taste and are served in small serving sizes. Moreover, they contain less milk and more foam (because of more air).
On the other hand, lattes contain more milk. As a result, they have a milder espresso taste and are typically served in a larger size.
Let’s delve into the details to learn more about these differences.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Origin
The preparation of both latte and cappuccino requires the same ingredients. But they have different origins.
Caffe and latte have Italian origin. The terms were first used in 1847. In 1867, the terms appeared in American novelist William Dean Howell’s collection known as “Italian Journeys.”
According to historians, Americans struggled with the bitter espresso flavor in Italy. Hence, they added warm milk to tone down the drink’s taste. That’s how the latte was first created.
In the Italian language, latte means milk. So essentially, latte got its name as there is more milk in this type of coffee.
Cappuccino, on the other hand, has a different history. It first appeared in a coffee house in Austria.
The name cappuccino originated in Vienna and meant “monk’s robe.” The drink got its name because it has the same color as Capuchin monk robes.
The name was fine-tuned in Italy as cappuccino means “hood” in Italian.
Cappuccino was first introduced in the early 1900s following the release of espresso machines. Over time, as the popularity of espresso machines grew, so did the demand for cappuccino.
The invention and modification of espresso machines played an integral role in the popularity of cappuccino. During World War II, the drink’s popularity reached the rest of the world.
Today, cappuccino is one of the most popular types of coffee enjoyed by people of all ages globally.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Preparation
Preparing both latte and cappuccino requires the same ingredients. All it takes is coffee and milk. However, there is a significant difference in the preparation of the two types of coffee drinks.
Preparation of a latte requires espresso and milk. A single or double espresso is often prepared directly in the serving glass or mug.
The next step is to fill in the milk jug. Ideally, 1/3 of the milk jug is filled with milk. Preferably whole milk is used in the preparation of the latte.
The milk is then steamed to create a smooth, light layer of foam. Steaming the milk separately ensures that there is an even layer of foam over your espresso.
The last step in the preparation of the latte is to pour steamed milk over the espresso in the serving glass. Continue to pour steamed milk from a steep angle.
The process ensures that some amount of milk foam is on top of the serving cup. Sugar is usually added to the latte to provide a distinctly sweet flavor to the drink.
Enjoy your latte!
Cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee drinks globally. Its unique preparation steps provide a distinct taste that’s enjoyed by people.
Typically, the preparation of cappuccino requires espresso and milk. Different recipes use varying portions of espresso and milk.
Some recipes use a ratio of 1:4 for espresso and steamed and foamed milk. Others call for equal parts of espresso, foam, and hot milk.
The preparation of the drink starts with a layer of espresso. A layer of steamed milk is added on top of the espresso. Next is an airy layer of foam that provides a velvety texture to the drink.
The exact recipes and proportions of espresso and milk have changed globally over time. However, the primary difference between these two drinks is the espresso-to-milk ratio.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Taste
Due to the variation in the espresso-to-milk ratio, there’s a remarkable difference in the taste of latte and cappuccino.
Latte has a much milder taste compared to cappuccino. Since the latte contains more milk, the espresso’s bitter flavor is subdued. Having more milk in the drink provides a sweeter taste to the latte.
Moreover, the milk is steamed. The process further adds an element of sweetness to the drink.
Typically, cappuccino has an equal ratio of espresso, milk, and steam. As a result, it has a stronger flavor compared to the latte.
The natural espresso flavor is more pronounced in cappuccino. Moreover, since the milk is mildly steamed, it doesn’t contribute to the drink’s sweetness.
Some coffee places may add sugar to cappuccino, yet, it will still have a stronger espresso flavor than latte.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Texture
The difference between a coffee latte and cappuccino is often defined by their texture. Given the variation in milk to espresso ratio, the two drinks have different textures.
The preparation of the latte involves gentle steaming of milk. This gives a soft foam layer on top of the drink and an airier texture.
The layer of foam usually disappears following one or two sips.
On the other hand, cappuccino has a distinct texture. It has a layer of espresso, followed by an addition of steamed milk, and a third layer of foam.
Hence, cappuccinos typically have a foamier texture that stays on top.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Calories
Can you decide which of the two coffee drinks is healthier? There’s only a slight difference, as both use the same ingredients.
The preparation of the latte involves a high milk-to-espresso ratio. Since there is more milk, latte contains more calories. Moreover, it is also the sweeter one of the two drinks.
The exact number of calories may depend on the type of milk used to prepare the latte. Plant-based milks are healthier alternatives to whole milk.
Cappuccio has lower milk content. Hence, it contains fewer calories from milk. Moreover, it also has less or no sugar.
Again, the type of milk used for the preparation of cappuccino will determine the calorie count.
Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino – Presentation
Of the several differences between coffee latte and cappuccino, this one is important to highlight. The two coffee drinks have varying presentations.
Since the texture of the latte is less foamy, it allows for the creation of latte art. When served in a café, you can find creative patterns on it, which result from how steamed milk is poured over espresso.
The amount of froth is much higher in cappuccinos compared to the latte. Hence, the texture doesn’t allow for the creation of latte art.
While some pattern forming is possible, the fine-pored microfoam layer of froth doesn’t allow for much creativity.
Essentially, the preparation of both latte and cappuccino requires the same ingredients. However, there’s a significant difference in how the ingredients are used in the preparation of the two drinks.
There’s a change in taste and texture based on variations in milk-to-espresso ratio and preparation techniques.
Latte has a distinctly sweet, mild espresso taste and is less foamy. Whereas cappuccino has more foam, less milk, and a stronger espresso flavor.
If you prefer a strong espresso flavor, the cappuccino is the right choice. However, if you like to have it mild and sweet, with a lot of milk, then a latte is your best bet.
Regardless of the differences, these drinks are delightful and a treat for coffee lovers.
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