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, but the craftsmanship of your favorite barista at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® leads to two drinks that have distinct tastes, textures, and finishes. 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 more steamed milk and a light layer of foam.
- A cappuccino is distinctly layered, while in a latte the espresso and steamed milk are mixed 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. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® our 12-ounce 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.
Want to craft a cappuccino or latte at home? Get started with our Espresso Roast Coffee and our Bodum Bistro Barista Electric Milk Frother. Or if you'd rather keep the frothing to the professionals, stop by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in your area to order both classic espresso drinks and customize your order with our signature flavor powders like hazelnut, vanilla, and mocha.