The Difference Between Cappuccino and Latte

The Difference Between Cappuccino and Latte

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Calling all coffee connoisseurs! We have a question for you: Do you know the difference between cappuccino and latte?

Even as common as these two espresso drinks are, many coffee lovers often forget the main difference. Frankly, there are a lot of espresso drinks available, and trying to remember which ones use water, milk, one shot of espresso, two shots of espresso, more foam, less foam, etc., is a hard feat to tackle!

Unless you are a barista and make the wide variety of coffee drinks available day in and out, you're not alone when you have the "How is that made again?" moment.

So, when it comes to the difference between cappuccinos and lattes, although we'll give you a spoiler alert- it has to do with the amount of milk- we also have a lot more to share about these drinks.

We'll teach you how to make them yourself, where and how these drinks started, and how to order them like a pro!

Get ready for a latte of good information! (We can't get enough of our coffee puns!)





Cappuccinos first began in Italy in the early 1900s. It was said that it was created as an alternative to Turkish Coffee and has since become a staple of Italian culture worldwide. It first got its name by resembling the robes of Capuchin Friars. 

You see, the friars' robes were a similar color to the espresso and the milk foam mixed together. So, we can thank the Capuchin Friars for the drink eventually being named a cappuccino.

A typical cappuccino combines one shot of espresso with steamed milk and then topped off with a layer of foamed milk foam. The espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam are equal parts: one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third milk foam.

In terms of taste and texture, the cappuccino has a strong espresso flavor that's slightly sweetened by adding milk. The milk foam adds a creamy texture and helps to tone down the espresso's bitterness. Traditionally, a cappuccino has no added sugar, as it naturally has some sweetness. However, it's not uncommon to find some who love adding a bit more sugar to their taste.

While in America, you can find people ordering cappuccinos all day long. However, this certainly isn't the case in Italy, the cappuccino's home origin.

Cappuccinos in Italy are known as a breakfast drink and a breakfast drink ONLY.

Yes, you read correctly. Cappuccinos are rarely drunk in the afternoon or evening- it's considered an oddity to do so! Why?

The simple answer is that the cappuccino milk is very filling and hence only reserved for mornings. The added milk to one's espresso in the afternoon and evening is thought to alter your digestion and be too heavy for later in the day.

Traditionally, this is why cappuccinos in Italy will be ordered before or during breakfast but rarely ever after any other meal.

Alright, we've got the gist on cappuccinos. Now, let's switch lanes and explore the latte some more.



Latte Coffee


Lattes were initially created in the 1950s and were known as "caffe latte" or "coffee with milk," but there is a little indecisiveness on the exact location of their origins. 

One story of origin stems from being invented in Italy but in some commonly found cities with American tourists. The cappuccino was too strong and bitter for their taste, so more warm milk was added to tone it down.

Another possible origin comes from an Italian-trained barista, Lino Meiorin, in California. He claims to have invented the first latte. He, too, added warm milk to his cappuccinos because they were too strong for the locals' tastes.

No matter where or what its start was, as time went on, lattes eventually became one of the most popular espresso drinks for coffee lovers around the world.

A caffe latte combines one or two shots of espresso with three parts of steamed milk and topped off with foam.

The taste of a latte is naturally sweetened by adding warm milk, making it richer and creamier than cappuccinos. It still has an espresso flavor but to a lesser degree because of the extra added milk.

**Note: In America, we've shortened the term to ordering just a "latte," but latte in Italian means milk- so if you order that in Italy, you're only going to get a glass of milk. Ordering a 'caffe latte' will present itself as a coffee with milk, what you're really wanting. 

Which Is Stronger: Latte Or Cappuccino

When comparing the strength of a latte and a cappuccino, the cappuccino takes the cake regarding flavor and a stronger coffee taste. A typical cappuccino comprises equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam- so you're tasting more espresso per sip!

Lattes contain either one or two shots of espresso and three parts steamed milk, so the espresso flavor is slightly more subtle than that of a cappuccino.

If cappuccinos have a stronger espresso taste, does that mean it has a higher caffeine content?

Although it may come to your surprise, no, it does not.

Which Has Less Caffeine Latte Or Cappuccino? 

Lattes and cappuccinos have the same amount of caffeine- no less, no more.

One shot of espresso contains the same amount of caffeine, no matter how much milk and foam you add to it. So, one shot of espresso in a latte and one in a cappuccino will be the same caffeine strength.

At times, coffee shops make these classic drinks with two espresso shots. If you are concerned about how much caffeine you are getting, you can always tell your barista you want a latte or cappuccino with only one shot of espresso to ensure you are getting less caffeine.

Which Is Sweeter A Latte Or A Cappuccino?


The innate amount of sugar in a latte and cappuccino comes from the milk. Since lattes contain more milk, lattes naturally have a sweeter taste.

Neither a cappuccino nor a latte is routinely made with added sugars. Sugar can be added after the fact or in the espresso before the milk is poured, but that is only due to individual preference.


In Summary

So what is the big difference between cappuccino and latte? It's all about the milk. Lattes have three times more milk than espresso and a small amount of foam on top. Cappuccinos have less milk, with equal amounts of espresso, milk, and milk foam.

Although created with no added sugar, lattes will have a moderately sweeter taste due to the larger quantity of milk. Still, since both drinks typically only contain one or two shots of espresso- the caffeine content is exactly the same, meaning one is not stronger than the other.

However, because of the equal amounts of milk to espresso in a cappuccino, you will taste far more of the espresso in each sip, getting a stronger "coffee tasting" drink than a latte.

Cappuccinos and lattes both have Italian origins and are named using the Italian language, but be sure when you visit Italy only to order these in the morning! You'll likely get a few odd stares if you try to order them in the afternoon or evening. 

Remember, you'll also want to ask for a caffe latte to be sure you'll receive a coffee with milk rather than just a glass of milk.

If you feel like making one at home, or serving these up while hosting a gathering, be sure you have the best espresso available! Our Espresso Crema Dolce is top of the line and absolutely decadent and delicious! Needing a decaf alternative? Our Espresso Crema Dolce Decaf serves up all the same flavor notes without the caffeine. 

Whether you like a little milk or a lot, you can never go wrong with either of these delicious espresso creations! So, next time you're at your favorite local coffee shop, order your coffee drink confidently, knowing the difference between cappuccino and latte.