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What is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino? If you’re looking to explore espresso-based drinks, we’ll take you through the essential difference between cappuccino vs latte.

You can make either at home if you have an espresso maker. If you do not have one, check our guide on the best super-automatic espresso machines

To make a latte or cappuccino, we recommend using high-quality coffee. A drawback to using ground coffee is that it tends to lose freshness faster than coffee beans.

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Last update on 2023-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which is sweeter, cappuccino or latte? Our guide answers all the questions you have about cappuccino vs latte. 

Let’s get started.

What Is Latte?

cappuccino vs latte
Source: Pexels

A latte is an Italian coffee espresso made using steamed milk and espresso. Most coffee shops make a latte in a 12-ounce cup. For a latte, you do not need thick milk foam. 

A latte cup starts with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of thin milk foam. 

What Is Cappuccino

cup of coffee
Source: Pexels

A cappuccino is similar to a latte, only that it has a thick milk foam. In your cappuccino cup, you start with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of thick milk foam. 

You can use a single or a double shot of espresso to make a cappuccino. A latte has less milk foam than a cappuccino. It is easier to make a latte or cappuccino.  

What Is The Difference Between a Latte And a Cappuccino?

Source: Pexels

From the definitions, you can tell that the main difference between cappuccino vs latte is the milk content. Let’s compare the two espresso-based beverages. 

Milk content

 Cappuccino has less milk content than a latte. A latte has more milk and less milk foam. If you’re to do a spoon test, the spoon will sink in a latte, but with a cappuccino, it remains at the top. 

As we explained earlier, a latte has more liquid content and less foam. It’s easier to make latte art since the milk foam is thin compared to the thick cream in cappuccino. 

In most instances, cappuccino is served in a 6-ounce cup, while a latte is served in a 12-ounce cup. 

Flavor and texture

A cappuccino is stronger as it has more espresso and less milk content. On the other hand, a latte is creamier since it dilutes the espresso. 

Since the milk content in a cappuccino is less, it tends to be stronger than a latte. The first sip in a cappuccino is a thick foam, while a latte is a single layer. 

Use high-quality coffee for your espresso. A cappuccino has a velvety texture, while a latte is creamier. A latte has less foam, while a cappuccino has more foam. 

Cappuccino vs Latte Calories

Cappuccino has fewer calories than a latte since it does not have a lot of steamed milk. A latte has about 210 calories, while a cappuccino has approximately 130 calories.

So, what about caffeine? Latte and cappuccino have an equal amount of caffeine since they have a shot of espresso. A cappuccino is considered a healthier espresso beverage than a latte in terms of calories. 

Here’s a summary table for the differences between latte and cappuccino. 

Milk foamThick foam. It has more foam and less milk contentThin foam. It has more milk content and less foam.
FlavorStrong flavorcreamier
Size 6-ounce 12-ounce 

How to Steam Milk For Latte

You need steamed milk to make a latte. So, how do you steam milk for a latte? 

What you need

  • Whole milk at room temperature or cold;
  • A stainless steel pitcher;
  • An automatic coffee maker with a steam wand.

Steaming method

Add the whole milk to the stainless steel pitcher above the halfway mark. Do not fill the pitcher with milk to avoid spilling. Before you begin steaming, purge the steamer to remove any excess water. 

Then place the steam wand in the pitcher with the whole milk. The steam wand should be below the surface and begin steaming. The milk will spin in the pitcher. 

The more the air, the more foam. Since you do not need more bubbles for the latte, use your hand to feel the temperature. Power it off if it gets too hot to touch.

Using a towel, wipe off the milk from the steam wand and purge it to clean. Purging removes milk residue from the inner part of the steam wand. 

Let the steamed milk settle for a few seconds. If you notice large bubbles in the milk foam, tap the pitcher on a counter to break the bubbles. Swirl the steamed milk in the pitcher to texturize the milk and foam. 

How to Steam Milk For Cappuccino

The steaming process is slightly different. Since a cappuccino is about 6 ounces, you do not need a lot of milk. Add whole milk into the stainless steel pitcher. 

You do not need more than half since we need enough space to make a thick foam for the cappuccino. Don’t forget to start by purging the steam wand to remove water. 

Place the steam wand in the pitcher with the whole milk. Lower the pitcher to introduce air. The steaming process doubles the milk volume.

Once you notice the milk rising from the pitcher, lower the steam wand into the pitcher. As with the latte, as the temperature rises and the pitcher gets too hot to touch by hand, turn off the steamer. 

Use a towel to clean the steam wand and purge it to remove residual milk. With a cappuccino, you do not need a lot of milk for a 6-ounce cup. The volume doubles, which could lead to spilling if you initially had more milk. 

Before you add the steamed milk to your espresso, swirl the pitcher gently to combine the milk foam and the milk at the bottom of the pitcher. 

You will have a thick foam for your cappuccino. A brewing tip for latte and cappuccino is to steam only the amount of milk you need. 

If you use more milk, it could spill during the steaming process. Second, you cannot reuse steamed milk. You cannot steam previously steamed milk.

It will ruin the taste of your cappuccino or latte with a burnt taste. To counter this, steam milk when you need a latte or cappuccino. 

Best Coffee To Use For Making Cappuccino and Latte

To make latte and cappuccino, use high-quality coffee. You have to make a shot of espresso first, then steam milk to make milk foam. 

Here’s the best coffee to use for latte and cappuccino:

1. Lavazza Espresso Italiano Coffee Beans

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ground coffee tends to lose freshness faster than coffee beans. You enjoy the full flavor and taste of the coffee beans if you maintain proper storage for the whole bean coffee. 

Which espresso-based beverage do you prefer, between cappuccino vs latte? The Lavazza coffee beans have a caffeine intensity of 5 out of 10. 

They have a medium roast and work with an espresso machine, but you can also use them with a Moka pot, drip brewer, french press, pour-over, and cold brew

The family-owned company sources coffee beans from South and Central America and then blends and roasts them in Italy. They have a medium roast. 

The long-roasted coffee beans have an Italian espresso taste with notes of fruit and flowers.

  • Lavazza coffee is available in K-cup pods, ground, and whole beans.
  • You can grind the coffee beans for use with other brewing methods.
  • Lavazza coffee beans are 100% Arabica.
  • To use whole coffee beans, you need a coffee grinder.

2. Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee

Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee, Medium Roast, Classic Roast with Notes of Chocolate & Caramel, 100% Arabica Coffee, All-Natural, No Preservatives, 8.8 Ounce (Pack of 1)

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Illy Classico ground coffee is best for espresso brewing. The 8.8-ounce pack has finely ground coffee with a medium roast. 

Illy Classico blend has a smooth and balanced body with notes of chocolate and caramel. The ground coffee has a fine grind for optimal extraction using an espresso machine. 

  • The ground coffee is 100% Arabica.
  • Illy Classico blend coffee maintains freshness for upto 2 years.
  • The finely ground coffee is packed in Nitrogen to preserve freshness.
  • Illy packs the ground coffee in an airtight and pressurized canister to perfectly seal the aromas and oils.
  • The Illy Classico blend for espresso is available in decaf.
  • Ground coffee tends to lose freshness faster than coffee beans.

3. Starbucks Espresso Roast

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The espresso roast from Starbucks is a dark roast with notes of rich molasses and caramel. It is 100% Arabica coffee.

Starbucks sources coffee beans from Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The coffee beans are best for making espresso-based beverages. 

  • Starbucks coffee is 100% ethically sourced.
  • You can grind the coffee beans to use with multiple brewing methods.
  • Starbucks offers a subscription, so you never run out of coffee.
  • Starbucks coffee is pricey.

4. Intelligentsia Coffee – Black Cat Espresso

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As mentioned earlier, the difference between cappuccino vs latte is the foam texture. Since both start with an espresso shot, you need high-quality coffee. 

Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso is caffeinated. The coffee beans have taste notes of marshmallows, raw sugar, and dark chocolate. 

The coffee company is part of Direct Trade. That means that the brand buys coffee from farmers. To make espresso, grind the coffee beans into a fine grind size. 

  • Intelligentsia coffee is ideal for vegan, vegetarian, and Paleo coffee lovers.
  • The company maintains a consistent profile and ensures freshness and quality for the coffee blends.
  • Intelligentsia buys coffee from farmers and cuts off importers who underpay coffee farmers.
  • The coffee beans have a strong flavor.
  • The Black Cat espresso is pricey.

5. Peet’s Coffee

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Peet’s dark roast coffee is crafted for espresso. The 32-ounce bag has 100% Arabica coffee. 

Although the coffee beans are best for espresso brewing, you can grind them to medium for drip brewers and coarse size for french press and cold brew. 

Peet’s coffee beans have notes of chocolate, hazelnut, and smooth crema. The coffee beans are caffeinated and sustainably sourced. 

  • The brand prints the coffee ‘roasted on’ and ‘freshest by’ dates on the packaging bag.
  • The coffee blend is rich in flavor and has perfect crema.
  • You can use the coffee beans for different brewing methods.
  • Peet’s Espresso Forte is not a single-origin.

6. Eight O’Clock Ground Coffee

Eight O'Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1) Dark Roast Ground Coffee, 100 % Arabica, Bold & Chocolaty

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The dark Italian espresso has a full-bodied, bold, and chocolaty flavor. The coffee ground has a dark roast and is 100% Arabica coffee.

The coffee beans are roasted in Maryland, USA. After roasting, the coffee beans are finely ground to experience the taste of espresso. 

Eight O’Clock coffee is Kosher certified. You can select single-origin coffee, flavored coffee, whole bean, single-serve, and ground coffee from the company. 

  • Dark Italian espresso has a strong aroma that gives you the espresso experience.
  • The ground coffee is certified by Kosher.
  • Eight O’Clock coffee has winey taste notes and a rich, elegant aroma with a full-bodied finish.
  • The finely ground coffee is best for espresso brewing only.

7. Lavazza Intenso Ground Coffee Blend

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

High-quality coffee blends combine coffee from different areas and farms. Blended coffee is rich in flavor and aroma. 

The company blends Robusta and Arabica coffee for the Lavazza Intenso flavor. The ground coffee has smoky and caramelized taste notes. 

Lavazza Intenso ground coffee has a light roast and caffeine intensity of 9 out of 10. Lavazza uses coffee beans from Brazil, India, and SouthEast Asia for the coffee blend. 

  • The Lavazza coffee has aromatic notes of chocolate.
  • You can use the ground coffee with a pour-over, cold brew, or french press.
  • The ground coffee saves you from buying a coffee grinder.
  • Lavazza coffee blend is non-GMO and is roasted in Italy.
  • The Lavazza Intenso flavor has the highest caffeine intensity of 9 out of 10.

8. Ethical Bean Sweet Espresso

Ethical Bean Fairtrade Organic Coffee, Whole Bean Espresso Coffee (12 Oz Bag), Sweet Espresso Medium Dark Roast, 0.75 Lb

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can select an 8-ounce pack or 12-ounce pack from Ethical Bean. The caffeinated coffee beans are certified by USDA organic and FairTrade. 

Ethical Bean coffee has a medium dark roast. The coffee beans are sourced seasonally from farms in Honduras, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico. 

The brand uses small batch roasting for the coffee beans. Each pack has a unique QR code for easier traceability.

  • Ethical bean coffee is organic. It is certified by USDA Organic and FairTrade.
  • The coffee beans are traceable and seasonally sourced.
  • Coffee lovers can select from multiple flavors.
  • The coffee beans have a medium dark roast.
  • Since Ethical coffee is caffeinated, you may have to try a different coffee brand if you drink decaf coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the difference between cappuccino vs latte and the best coffee for brewing, do you have a question about espresso-based drinks? 

We’ve answered some of the questions below. 

How do you pull a shot of espresso for a cappuccino or latte?

To make a latte or cappuccino, you start with espresso brewing. Most coffee lovers use whole bean coffee to experience the freshness, flavors, and rich aroma of coffee. 

Select a fine-grind setting on your coffee grinder for espresso. Tamp the ground coffee in a portafilter, lock it in the espresso machine and begin brewing.

A latte is served in a 12-ounce cup and a cappuccino in a 6-ounce cup. As the espresso machine brews your espresso shot, steam your whole milk for a cappuccino or latte. 

Which is sweeter, cappuccino or latte?

Since a latte has more milk content and less foam, it is considered sweeter than a cappuccino. The milk content is more in latte compared to cappuccino. 

What is the essential difference between cappuccino vs latte?

The difference between a cappuccino vs latte is the milk content. Cappuccino has less milk and more foam, while a latte has more milk. 

The milk foam in cappuccino is thick. If you’re to do a spoon test, it floats for a cappuccino but sinks in a latte. 

Which is healthier, cappuccino or latte?

Coffee lovers argue that a latte is less healthy since it has more milk. On the other hand, a cappuccino has less milk, meaning that it has fewer calories. 

The calories in a latte are 210, while a cappuccino has 130 calories. It is for this reason espresso lovers consider a cappuccino healthier than a latte. 

Between cappuccino vs latte, which one is stronger?

During milk steaming, you need a thin foam for a latte and a thick foam for a cappuccino. For a latte, the milk combines with the espresso, compared to cappuccino which has a thick foam. 

A cappuccino is stronger since it has less milk content. It means that the espresso is, therefore, less diluted. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the essential difference between a latte and a cappuccino, you can place your order at a coffee shop or make espresso drinks at home. 

You can make a double shot or a single shot of espresso. When steaming milk, it’s best to use whole milk. Use a stainless steel pitcher to steam milk since you can use your hand to feel the milk’s temperature. 

And that’s it for cappuccino vs latte. Do you prefer a latte, cappuccino, or both?

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