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Cappuccino vs. Latte: What’s the Difference?

Cappuccinos and lattes are perhaps the most popular beverages in the country other than a traditional cup of drip coffee or, possibly, water. These two espresso drinks contain many of the same ingredients. Order like a pro and finally learn the difference between a cappuccino vs. a latte.

Cappuccinos Vs. Lattes

Both espresso drinks contain espresso and two additional ingredients: steamed milk and foamed milk. Before we dive into the details, the key differences are:

  • A traditional cappuccino has an even distribution of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. A latte has way more steamed milk and a light layer of foam.
  • A cappuccino is distinctly layered, while in a latte the espresso and steamed milk are blended together.


What is in a Cappuccino?

Perfected and made popular during both World Wars, a cappuccino starts with a bottom layer of one or two shots of espresso (typically two in the United States). A second layer of steamed milk is added on top, followed by a thick and airy layer of foam to lend the drink a luxurious velvety texture.

A cappuccino boasts a much stronger espresso flavor than a latte due to having less milk and more foam than a latte. A barista is up to snuff when they can craft the perfect cappuccino — when made correctly our cappuccino will have a 1-to-1 ratio of liquid to foam, which experts can determine based on the drink’s weight.

What Is In a Latte?

A latte begins with the same base — a single or double shot of espresso. This espresso is then combined with several ounces of steamed milk to create a rich, creamy beverage that has a more subtle espresso taste. The typical ratio for espresso to steamed milk is about 1-to-2. The latte is then topped with a layer of foam.

The exact preparation of a latte varies widely, as their popularity has exploded in the last 20 years. The latte is tweaked endlessly and often made into a sweet version by adding flavors like Vanilla and Hazelnut.

Is a Cappuccino or Latte Healthier?

This depends on your definition of “healthy.” A cappuccino will likely have fewer calories because it has less milk. In many cafes, cappuccino is made with whole milk and has 130 calories, while our 12-ounce latte has about 210 calories. Non-fat milk or alternative milks like almond, coconut, or oat milk are also great options for these drinks.

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