Espresso vs. Latte

What's the Difference?

Espresso and latte are both popular coffee beverages, but they differ in terms of preparation and taste. Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It has a strong, bold flavor and a rich, velvety texture. On the other hand, latte is made by combining espresso with steamed milk and a small amount of foam. It has a milder taste compared to espresso, with a creamy and smooth texture. While espresso is enjoyed as a standalone drink, latte is often served with flavored syrups or topped with whipped cream. Ultimately, the choice between espresso and latte depends on personal preference and desired coffee experience.


Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash
PreparationConcentrated coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beansEspresso shot mixed with steamed milk and a small layer of foam
Volume30-50 ml240-360 ml
Ratio of Coffee to Milk1:11:3 or 1:4
TextureThick and concentratedCreamy and smooth
ServingUsually served in small cupsServed in larger cups or glasses
Common VariationsEspresso Macchiato, Espresso Con PannaCaffe Latte, Vanilla Latte, Caramel Latte
Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

Further Detail


Espresso and latte are two popular coffee beverages that have gained immense popularity worldwide. While both are made from coffee beans, they differ in terms of preparation, taste, and overall experience. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of espresso and latte, exploring their unique characteristics and helping you understand which one might suit your preferences better.


Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that is brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans using an espresso machine. The process involves high pressure and results in a small, strong shot of coffee. On the other hand, a latte is made by combining a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a small layer of foam. The milk is poured over the espresso, creating a creamy and smooth texture.

While both beverages start with a shot of espresso, the key difference lies in the milk preparation. In a latte, the milk is steamed to create a velvety texture and then poured over the espresso, whereas in an espresso, no milk is added. This distinction in preparation significantly impacts the taste and overall experience of the two drinks.


Espresso is known for its intense and robust flavor. It offers a concentrated coffee taste with a rich, full-bodied profile. The absence of milk allows the natural flavors of the coffee beans to shine through, resulting in a strong and bold experience. The flavor of espresso can vary depending on the type of beans used, the roast level, and the brewing technique.

On the other hand, a latte offers a milder and creamier taste compared to espresso. The addition of steamed milk creates a smoother texture and adds a touch of sweetness to the beverage. The milk also helps to balance the strong flavor of the espresso, making it more approachable for those who prefer a less intense coffee experience. The taste of a latte can be further enhanced by adding flavored syrups or spices like vanilla or cinnamon.


Espresso has a distinct texture that is characterized by its thick and syrupy consistency. The high pressure used during the brewing process creates a crema, which is a layer of foam on top of the espresso shot. This crema adds a velvety mouthfeel and contributes to the overall texture of the drink. The absence of milk in espresso allows the natural oils and flavors to coat the palate, resulting in a unique and satisfying texture.

On the other hand, a latte has a much lighter and creamier texture due to the addition of steamed milk. The milk adds a smooth and silky quality to the beverage, making it more enjoyable for those who prefer a softer mouthfeel. The combination of espresso and milk creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures, resulting in a comforting and indulgent experience.

Serving Size

Espresso is typically served in small, demitasse cups, with a standard serving size of around 1 to 1.5 ounces. This small serving size is intentional, as espresso is highly concentrated and meant to be enjoyed in small sips. The small portion allows the flavors to be savored and appreciated without overwhelming the palate.

On the other hand, a latte is served in a larger cup, usually ranging from 8 to 12 ounces. The larger serving size is due to the addition of steamed milk, which dilutes the strength of the espresso. The increased volume allows for a more substantial and satisfying drink, perfect for those who prefer a larger portion or enjoy sipping their coffee over a longer period.


Both espresso and latte offer a wide range of customization options to suit individual preferences. With espresso, you can experiment with different types of coffee beans, roasts, and brewing techniques to achieve your desired flavor profile. Additionally, you can add sugar, syrups, or spices to enhance the taste.

Similarly, a latte provides ample room for customization. You can choose the type of milk used, such as whole milk, skim milk, or alternative milk options like almond or soy milk. Additionally, you can add flavored syrups, whipped cream, or even sprinkle chocolate or cinnamon on top to elevate the taste and presentation of the drink.


Espresso and latte are both beloved coffee beverages with their own unique attributes. Espresso offers a strong and intense flavor, with a thick and syrupy texture that is best enjoyed in small sips. On the other hand, a latte provides a milder taste, a creamy texture, and a larger serving size, making it a more approachable and comforting option.

Ultimately, the choice between espresso and latte depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy a bold and concentrated coffee experience, espresso might be the perfect choice for you. However, if you prefer a smoother and creamier taste with the added comfort of steamed milk, a latte would be an excellent option. Whichever you choose, both beverages offer a delightful way to enjoy the rich flavors of coffee.

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