The Latte and the Cappuccino. What is the difference? Which is better?
Great question, and we are here with all the answers.
Ready to venture into the delicious world of espresso coffee... but not sure what to choose? Here's a simple guide to help you work out the difference between two whole bean coffee espresso favorites: the Latte and the Cappuccino.
In This Guide...
What is a Cappuccino vs a Latte
Lattes and Cappuccinos have two things in common.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
They both can be made on any type of milk, including full cream, half cream, low fat, no fat, and soy milk.
Both have bases made from shots of espresso made from freshly ground whole coffee beans.
Although different cafes may have different espresso standards, each cafe will generally use the same amount of espresso coffee in a Latte and Cappuccino of the same or similar size.
The main differences are the quantity of steamed milk in each drink, the serving method, and of course... the taste.
Whats in a Cappuccino?
The Cappuccino is equal parts (thirds) whole bean coffee espresso shots, steamed milk, and milk foam (or froth as some call it) that is textured stiffly enough to form a slightly raised dome.
The foam, if poured correctly, will appear largely white with a triangle of golden brown 'crema' coloring the edge.
What is crema?
The crema is the slightly foamy golden layer that forms on the top of an espresso shot during the extraction or brewing process. This triangle of crema on the top of your Cappuccino gives the Cappuccino its name, as the shape was reminiscent of the brown hood of the robes worn in the 1500s by Italian monks known as The Order of the Friars of Capuchin.
Of course, it's highly likely you won't see this 'hood' of color on your drink as a Cappuccino is traditionally served with a layer of delicious chocolate powder dusted across the top of the beverage.
The Cappuccino is traditionally served in a low, round ceramic cup with a handle.
Whats in a Cafe Latte?
The Latte, which translates simply as 'milk' in Italian, is espresso shots topped up with steamed milk, finished with approximately just under half an inch (or one centimeter) of foam. A good barista can pour the steamed milk to create a lovely pattern on your Latte.
You may also here it referred to as a Cafe Latte, they mean the same thing.
As the barista pours the drink, the milk gently mixes with the espresso and crema to leave a heart shape, or 'floral' pattern of leaves and swirls called a 'rosetta.' Other baristas get creative with 'Latte art' by adding other patterns and drawings to the top of the drinks with the aid of utensils, picks, and syrups.
The Latte is traditionally served in clear glass with no handle.
As the drink is hot to touch, a serviette is often given to wrap around the glass in order to prevent your fingers from being scorched.
Which tastes better? Latte vs Cappuccino
Well, that is entirely a matter of personal opinion. But the most often asked question to help decide is which drink tastes stronger?
Fans of each argue that the Latte is stronger than the Cappuccino and vice versa. The truth is it largely depends on who makes it, their method of texturing the milk, espresso standards (including shot measurements and extraction methods), and the type of roasted whole coffee beans used.
Theoretically, though, the Cappuccino has a stronger ratio of espresso coffee shots to steamed milk, as the layer of foam officially does not 'mix' with the espresso, so, therefore, the Cappuccino could be viewed as the stronger, in taste, of the two drinks. The Latte, as the name suggests, is most commonly known as the milkier of the two drinks.
Of course, both drinks can be requested with additional shots for extra strength and to give you that real espresso coffee kick. And likewise, both can be requested with half-strength or even quarter strength coffee for a milder experience.
So which is better?
I'll leave that for you to decide!