Cappuccino vs latte: what’s the difference between these two popular espresso drinks? Here’s what you need to know — and how to make them!

Cappuccino vs latte

Cappuccino vs latte: what’s the difference between these popular espresso drinks? Great question. In fact: they’re made with exactly the same ingredients. But each drink has a unique flavor and texture! Here’s the difference and then a bit about how to make them at home, for the amateur home barista.

Cappuccino vs latte: what’s the difference?

Both the cappuccino and latte are espresso drinks made with steamed milk, milk foam and espresso. What’s different are the proportions of these ingredients. Here’s are the classic definitions of a latte vs cappuccino:

  • Cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam (⅓ each). It has a stronger espresso flavor than a latte.
  • Latte is ⅓ espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, with a thin layer of foam on top. It tastes milkier and it’s richer.

The way modern coffeehouses make these drinks is a little different. In fact, what you get really depends on the exact location and region. Here’s a modern definition of these drinks:

  • Latte is medium frothy, with about ⅜ inch microfoam at top. The steamed milk is stretched 25-35%. It tastes milkier than a flat white, a bit more like drinking milky coffee.
  • Cappuccino is frothy but not foamy, with about ½ inch microfoam at top. The steamed milk is stretched the most of the three, at about 30-50%.

For you visual learners, here’s see below for a chart that breaks it down. If you taste the two back to back, you’ll notice that the difference in flavor and texture is subtle yet perceptible.

Cappuccino vs latte
Flat white vs latte vs cappuccino

Cappuccino vs latte: FAQ

Now that you know the definitions, you can easily answer these coffee drink questions:

  • Is cappuccino healthier than a latte? A latte has more volume of milk and thus slightly more calories, so the cappuccino can be considered slightly healthier than a latte. But because the exact definition varies based on coffee house, it’s a toss up. Both are made with whole milk, so if you’re concerned with health: opt for an Americano instead.
  • Which is stronger cappuccino or latte? A cappuccino has less milk, so it has a stronger espresso flavor than a latte.
  • Which has more caffeine a latte or a cappuccino? Both the cappuccino and latte are made with two espresso shots, so they have the same amount of caffeine. One espresso shot has 64 mg caffeine, so both drinks have 128 mg caffeine. (Compare that to a cup of drip coffee, which has 95 mg caffeine.)
Cappuccino vs latte

Cappuccino vs latte: which is easier to make?

Both of these espresso drinks require some equipment, but you can make them homemade with great results! Of the two, the cappuccino is the easier of the two to perfect. With a latte you’re looking for microfoam, steamed milk with a wet-paint like texture that’s almost impossible to get without an espresso machine. A cappuccino can easily be made with frothed milk using various tools: even a whisk! See the following recipes:

Want to learn how to make latte art? You’ll typically see latte art on…you guessed it, a latte. Here’s our tutorial on Latte Art Basics!

Types of lattes

Another difference of cappuccino vs latte: there are endless types of lattes, whereas the cappuccino doesn’t have well-known variations. Here are a few of the most popular types of latte recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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