Cappuccino vs Latte: Is There Really A Difference?

If you are new to espresso-based drinks, the difference between a cappuccino and a latte may not seem obvious. It’s naturally perplexing because they contain exactly the same ingredients: milk and espresso. 

Here, you’ll learn that the difference between a cappuccino and a latte lies in the variation of the proportion of ingredients and the method of preparation. You’ll see how small changes can create a special, distinct texture and flavor of coffee. 

What is a Cappuccino? 

Cappuccino is known for its distinct layers, which are achieved by adding equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It also has variations such as Cappuccino Scuro, which is dry cappuccino, and Cappuccino Freddo, which is cold cappuccino. 

Making good cappuccino hinges on the texture and temperature of the frothed milk. Cappuccino gets its coarser yet fluffy structure from the larger, stiffer, and airier bubbles created during the frothing process. 

What is a Latte?

what is a latte

Caffe latte, or simply latte, literally means coffee and milk in Italian. Traditionally, this drink is prepped by brewing coffee using a French Press or a Moka Pot and then mixing it with hot milk. Outside of Italy, the caffe latte has undergone many changes. 

Now, it typically consists of an espresso shot with steamed milk poured over it and a thin layer of foamed milk on top until the cup is full. You can also see many variations of the drink such as a  caramel latte, mocha latte, and many more. 

Cappuccino vs Latte: The Main Difference 

So, let’s cut to the chase. How does a cappuccino and a latte really differ? 

Espresso to Milk Ratio. In a cappuccino, the ratio of espresso to milk to foam is uniformly one-third. While in a latte, the ratio of espresso to milk is often 1:2 to 1:5 and then, it is topped with a layer of thin foam. 

Method of Preparation. Generally, they are prepared in the same way. The main difference is how long milk is steamed and frothed. Latte milk is steamed just enough to produce a thin layer of foam. While for a cappuccino, milk is steamed and frothed until it reaches the desired temperature and foam thickness and density before it is added to the espresso mixture.

Texture and Flavor. A latte has a milder taste and a creamier or silkier texture because it uses more steamed milk and fewer airy bubbles. On the other hand, cappuccino has less diluted espresso, it has a stronger flavor and a thicker and fluffier texture. 

Serving Size. The serving size for both these drinks would vary base on personal preferences. But generally, a standard cappuccino serving is smaller than a latte’s. A cappuccino is typically served in 5 to 6 oz mugs, while lattes are served is 8 oz cups.

Caffeine Content & Nutritional Value. Cappuccinos and lattes are both made up of 1 to 2 shots of espresso. So, they have the same amount of caffeine, about 173 mg per 16 oz serving using an ounce of espresso. However, because these beverages contain varying amounts of milk, they also differ in nutritional value, as you can see below: 

Drink (16 oz)CaloriesProteinTotal FatNet Carbs
Cappuccino (1)130 kcal8.21 g4.75 g13.2 g
Latte (2)206 kcal13.5 g7.73 g20.9 g

The Bottom Line

Just a little recap: Although cappuccinos and lattes are made with the exact same ingredients, they are made differently. 

Cappuccinos with less milk and more milk foam create a drink that oozes stronger caffeinated flavor with a fluffier texture, while lattes made by adding much more milk and finished with a thin layer of silky foam produce a milder and creamier beverage. 

So, if you want a more intense cup of caffeine, choosing a cappuccino over a latte would do the trick. But if you want a velvety and milkier coffee, a latte is your choice. 

Happy Drinking! 


  1. USDA FoodData Central – Cappuccino
  2. USDA FoodData Central – Latte
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Nicole Kong

During my university days, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops, drawn in by the alluring aroma of coffee. This sparked my interest in learning what it takes to make the perfect cup. For the past five years, I have been exploring the world of coffee, starting from a place of curiosity and continuing with a deep passion.

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