Last Updated on September 28, 2021 by John Moretti
The Cappuccino and the Latté, or Café Latté, are two of the most popular espresso-based coffee drinks in the world. These two drinks define the coffee culture of many regions, and how they are prepared is often unique to each coffee shop. How do these two drinks compare, and how exactly are they different from each other?
The Cappuccino is prepared in a 6-8oz cup with thick, foamed milk and one or two shots of espresso. The Latté is prepared in a larger 10-12oz cup or glass with two shots of espresso and very smooth textured milk with very little foam. The Latté typically has double the milk of a Cappuccino.
The Cappuccino and the Latté are both iconic coffee drinks that can be made in various ways. The way each drink is prepared can make or break a coffee shop, and each barista makes these drinks slightly differently. Let’s directly compare the Cappuccino and the Latté to better understand the differences and find out which drink you should order on your next trip to the café.
How Are These Drinks Made?
The biggest difference between the Cappuccino and the Latté is how these two drinks are prepared.
Both of these drinks are iconic and are two of the most popular coffee drinks internationally. The Cappuccino and the Latté are similar in some ways, yet drastically different in others.
The best way to compare these espresso-based drinks is to examine the way in which they are prepared. Let’s explore the way both of these drinks are made to better understand the differences between them.
The Cappuccino is an internationally recognized drink that is one of the most challenging to prepare. There are several preparation techniques used to create this drink but, but there is a standard that most baristas adhere to.
The Cappuccino is typically made with one or two shots of espresso, textured milk, and steamed milk foam.
The overall volume of the Cappuccino is usually between 6 – 8 ounces (roughly 180ml – 240ml).
Most baristas use the equal thirds method for preparing the Cappuccino, which states that this drink should be equal parts espresso, textured milk, and foamed milk.
The traditional Cappuccino is prepared with a single shot of espresso, but as drink sizes have increased, it has become more standard to prepare a Cappuccino with a double shot of espresso. However, the amount of espresso used should depend on the size of the cup you use for the Cappuccino.
The Cappuccino is known for its thick head of foam atop a layer of smooth textured milk. Cappuccino milk is the thickest milk of all espresso-based coffee drinks and should have the texture of melted marshmallows.
The Cappuccino is a relatively strong-tasting drink, but it is decidedly more coffee-forward than the larger Latté.
The Latté is a larger coffee drink. This drink is typically made to have a total volume of 10 – 12 ounces (295ml – 355ml), but some modern baristas prepare full 16oz (473ml) Lattés.
The Latté is typically prepared with a double shot of espresso, roughly 2 ounces, and a generous amount of steamed milk.
The milk is the defining quality of the Latté, as this drink has the most amount of milk of any espresso-based coffee drink.
Not only does the Latté have the most milk, but it also has the most unique milk as well. The milk for a Latté is made to be very smooth and silky, but only very lightly foamed. There should be very little foam atop the Latté, just enough to create Latté art.
The Latté art that adorns a Latté is a favorite trick of modern baristas and has come to be a defining feature of the drink. The art can be created as a result of the smooth and creamy texture of Latté milk, as it mingles well with the espresso but has just enough foam to leave white markings atop the drink.
The Latté was originally an Italian breakfast drink, which is why it uses so much milk. The drink is designed to have a strong amount of coffee, but a large amount of milk makes the Latté very easy to drink and longer-lasting.
How Do These Drinks Compare?
At the end of it, the best way to compare these two drinks is by their flavor, size, intensity, and drinking experience. These are the defining factors that should be considered when deciding on which drink to order or make based on your day.
Let’s directly compare these characteristics of the Latté and the Cappuccino.
The flavor of the Cappuccino is much more coffee-forward than the Latté. Even if these drinks are prepared with the same amount of espresso, the Cappuccino’s smaller overall volume and less milk mean that the taste of the coffee shines through more than with a Latté.
The Latté is a more easy-drinking coffee drink, and the amount of milk used makes it much more mellow tasting.
The Latté is always a significantly larger drink than the Cappuccino.
The Cappuccino is typically a smaller drink, usually between 6 and 8 ounces. Most coffee shops tend to prepare 6-ounce Cappuccinos.
The Latté is generally a 10 – 12oz drink, but the size of the drink can vary up to 16oz.
Strength and Intensity
The modern preparation method of both the Latté and the Cappuccino use the same amount of espresso. The traditional Cappuccino used one shot of espresso, but the modern variation uses two shots, as does the Latté.
Even if the drinks are prepared with the same amount of espresso, the Cappuccino is a stronger tasting drink than the Latté due to the reduced amount of milk.
The Traditional Latté is stronger than the traditional Cappuccino due to the single shot of espresso in the Cappuccino, but the Latté is still less intense tasting than the Cappuccino due to the large volume of milk used in this drink.
Mouthfeel and The Drinking Experience
The drinking experience of both of these drinks is vastly different.
The milk that is prepared for both of these drinks is very differently textured, which makes the drinking experience very different.
The foam atop of the Cappuccino makes this drink very thick and creamy, while the more thin and textured milk in the Latté makes it a much smoother and silkier drink.
The Latté lasts much than the Cappuccino due to its size, but the Cappuccino offers a more textured intense coffee flavor experience.
The Cappuccino is a stronger tasting drink than the Latté, and the Latté is much easier to drink coffee drink.
Both of these drinks can be prepared in a variety of ways, but the Latté is better for a day that requires a longer-lasting, smooth coffee, while the Cappuccino is ideal for a fast-paced, intense day.
Choose which drink you make or order based on your day and the drinking tome you have available, but the Cappuccino and the Latté are both excellent drinks for every coffee lover.