Cappuccino vs. Latte

What's the Difference?

Cappuccino and latte are both popular espresso-based drinks, but they differ in their composition and taste. Cappuccino is traditionally made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It has a strong espresso flavor with a creamy and velvety texture. On the other hand, latte is made with more steamed milk and less foam, resulting in a smoother and milder taste. It has a higher milk-to-espresso ratio, making it a more milky and less intense option. Both drinks can be customized with various flavors and toppings, but cappuccino is often preferred by those who enjoy a stronger coffee taste, while latte is favored by those who prefer a creamier and less intense experience.


Photo by Harris Vo on Unsplash
IngredientsEqual parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a small amount of milk foam
TextureMore foamLess foam
ServingTraditionally in a small cupUsually in a larger cup
Popular VariationsCaramel cappuccino, chocolate cappuccinoVanilla latte, mocha latte
Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to espresso-based drinks, two popular options that often come to mind are cappuccino and latte. Both of these beverages have their own unique characteristics and are beloved by coffee enthusiasts around the world. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of cappuccino and latte, exploring their differences in terms of ingredients, preparation, taste, and presentation.


One of the primary distinctions between cappuccino and latte lies in their ingredients. A traditional cappuccino is made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The espresso provides a strong and concentrated coffee flavor, while the steamed milk adds a creamy and velvety texture. The milk foam, created by aerating the milk, adds a light and frothy layer on top.

On the other hand, a latte consists of more steamed milk and less foam compared to a cappuccino. The standard ratio for a latte is one-third espresso, two-thirds steamed milk, and a thin layer of milk foam on the surface. This higher proportion of steamed milk results in a smoother and milder taste, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a less intense coffee flavor.


When it comes to the preparation of cappuccino and latte, the techniques used by baristas differ slightly. For a cappuccino, the barista starts by pulling a shot of espresso, which is then combined with equal parts steamed milk and milk foam. The milk is steamed to a specific temperature to achieve the desired texture and consistency. The barista carefully pours the steamed milk into the espresso, followed by a dollop of milk foam on top, creating the iconic layered look of a cappuccino.

Similarly, a latte begins with a shot of espresso, but the steamed milk is poured into the espresso in a different manner. The barista pours the steamed milk directly into the espresso, creating a more uniform mixture. The milk foam is then added on the surface, often with the help of a spoon to hold back the foam while pouring. This technique results in a latte with a smoother and more integrated flavor profile.


The taste of cappuccino and latte can be quite distinct due to the variation in their ingredient ratios. A cappuccino, with its equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, offers a balanced flavor profile. The strong espresso provides a bold and robust taste, complemented by the creamy texture of the steamed milk. The milk foam adds a light and airy element, enhancing the overall experience.

On the other hand, a latte offers a more subtle and mellow taste. The higher proportion of steamed milk results in a smoother and creamier texture, which can slightly dilute the intensity of the espresso. This makes the latte a popular choice for those who prefer a less pronounced coffee flavor, allowing the sweetness of the milk to shine through.


When it comes to presentation, both cappuccino and latte have their own unique visual appeal. A cappuccino is typically served in a smaller cup, showcasing the distinct layers of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The contrast between the dark espresso and the white foam creates an aesthetically pleasing look that is often adorned with latte art, showcasing the barista's skill and creativity.

On the other hand, a latte is usually served in a larger cup, allowing for more room to incorporate the additional steamed milk. The milk foam is still present on the surface, but it tends to be thinner compared to a cappuccino. Latte art can also be found on a well-crafted latte, adding an artistic touch to the overall presentation.


In conclusion, cappuccino and latte are both beloved espresso-based drinks with their own unique attributes. While cappuccino offers a balanced and robust flavor with distinct layers, latte provides a smoother and milder taste with a larger proportion of steamed milk. The preparation techniques and presentation also contribute to the overall experience of these beverages. Whether you prefer the boldness of a cappuccino or the creaminess of a latte, both options are sure to satisfy your coffee cravings.

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