What Is The Difference Between Latte And Cappuccino?

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Coffee houses have increasingly become a popular place to chill and to gather. Coffee will always be the undisputed number one beverage without including water as an option.  Tied in second place are cappuccinos and lattes. Its rich blend and unique finish are just so satisfying. For sure, you’ve had your share of creamy cappuccinos and yummy lattes, so you are aware that these are two different drinks, but really, how different are they?

The Likenesses of Cappuccino and Latte

You’d have to agree that both are deliciously satiating and an excellent substitute to break that non-stop coffee habit as far as similarities are concerned. Aside from its guaranteed lip-smacking taste, both beverages share the same elements: foamed milk and steamed milk.

These espresso beverages are contenders in being the crowd favorite. Both are coffee shop must-haves. Another similarity that these two drinks share would be the equipment in creating it. An espresso machine that comes with a milk steam wand and a milk frother is a must so you can come up with the best cappuccino and latte.  As far as similarities go, this is the end because each has rightfully earned its spots in the realm of coffee.

At a Glance: Products of Different Histories

Both the cappuccino and the latte share Italian roots.

The cappuccino was frequently denoted as ‘breakfast coffee.’ Contrary to some beliefs, the cappuccino is not named after its ingredients. Instead, the word ‘cappuccino’ is associated with Italian friars, especially the Capuchin friars.

The Capuchin friars were dominantly known for their ministry work for the poor back in the 16th century.

Yes, you’re wondering why a coffee variation will be termed after a strong spiritual order of men.

Was it a Capuchin friar who first invented the brew?

It is all in what you see because their distinctive daily wardrobe can distinguish the Capuchin friars. These holy men are always garbed in a flowing, long brown robe with its hoods pointed, all the while freely dangling on their backs.

This same hood is called Cappuccino in Italian, and thus, the word cappuccino came about.

When the beverage first came about, it was initially named after these friars simply because the coffee color, when blended with milk, became the exact hues of the Capuchin friars’ mantles.

Meanwhile, the latte, denoted as caffe latte, derives from the name caffè e latte, Italian terms for coffee and milk. In Northern Europe and Scandinavia, it is referred to as café au lait.

Caffe latte is typical for Italians because it refers to milk domestically, which further means that someone wants a glass of milk.

The latte emanates in altered names dependent on the country, but definitely, the saleable caffè latte is 100% an American baby.

The Flavor and Feel of a Cappuccino – this beverage is 33% foam, which, of course, makes it foamy. It is deliberated as one of the most rounded drinks with its perfect and equal blend, getting the best out of coffee and milk’s goodness.

latte and cappuccino

The cappuccino’s foam is also envisioned to be dense. It should not be giant bubbles but small ones with a smooth texture when you taste it on your lips and tongue. Note that in cappuccinos, the milk’s temperature is vital and a make and break component. This is where a milk-stache converts into the baseline of the value of milk. If you have one, the milk is perfect. Overall, a cappuccino should be balanced, creamy, and fluffy.

The Flavor and Feel of a Latte – the typical lattes were then served in 8-oz glasses that came with one espresso shot, with lots of steamed milk, and a thin coat of microfoam. In the US though, bigger is always better, so the latte was toned down and in the end, was served in 10-20-oz ceramic mugs. Milkier in taste, this is a friendlier coffee version to those who want a touch of coffee zest in their otherwise milky concoction. 

what is the difference between latte and cappuccino

Same Ingredients, Different Processes

In the US, a cappuccino begins with a bottommost layer of 1-2 espresso shots. Its second tier is added, composed of steamed milk trailed by a light and thick layer of froth to achieve that lavish velvety texture.

The traditional cappuccino is recognized to have an identical amount of foamed milk and espresso, with the layers distinctly visible. With a cappuccino, the coffee essence and aroma is more robust.

A cappuccino follows an equal milk and coffee ratio of 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 espresso, and 1/3 frothed milk.

Meanwhile, although using the matching ingredients, a latte has more steamed milk and a daintier tier of foamed milk. It trails the same base, with one or two shots of espresso blended with a few ounces of milk to achieve that milky and creamy beverage. A latte has more milk than a cappuccino, thus providing you with delicate espresso tangs but with a creamier texture.

The usual latte ratio is 1/3 double shot espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, topped with a centimeter of milk foam.

In a latte, the espresso and the steamed milk are combined, so it looks like there are only two layers.

Due to its milkier taste, lattes are usually served in larger cups compared to cappuccinos.

Different Variations

The latte is a top barista’s favorite to develop new varieties, especially since its popularity exploded over the last two decades.  This beverage has been tweaked so much. It is typically made into a sweeter concoction by blending in additional syrup flavors to the brew like Hazelnut and Vanilla.

Another popular variant of latte is replacing the coffee with a chocolate-flavored mocha or even matcha and using soy milk or almond milk instead of the regular milk.

cappuccino and latte

Cappuccinos, too, have their variants. Today, what’s popular and the trend in coffee shops are cappuccino chiaro or white cappuccino, cappuccino scuro, or dry cappuccino.

One trendy variant for both would be the cooler iced beverages. These are incredibly refreshing drinks, almost similar to coffee over some iced cubes. If the temperature is too great, and you can’t bear the heat of a smoking hot beverage, then you should be dependent on either an iced cappuccino or latte to satisfy your caffeine requirement.

Expect the iced versions to be not the same as the steaming hot and old-fashioned latte or cappuccino. It tastes like an entirely different beverage because an iced cappuccino or latte will never have the foamed or steamed milk component. What is used to achieve these cold brews are espresso, cold milk, and yes, lots of ice.

Making your latte and cappuccino at home

Making your cappuccino and latte is perfectly doable at the comforts of your home. Sure, it might not look as professional as what you’d typically get when a barista prepares it for you, but invest in practice; you can have your version of these brews.

between latte and cappuccino

To create your latte, set aside your espresso and frothed milk. You need to level the espresso and the frothed milk, but because the latte only requires a thin layer of milk foam, all you need to do is pour the steamed milk on the espresso. Don’t forget to hold a spoon while preventing the frothed milk from being mixed in.

Once it is ready, you can put it in your milk foam. Don’t forget that it shouldn’t be more than 1 centimeter.

You can eventually start testing your creativity by trying some latte art, just like how coffee shops do it. Cappuccinos are easier to make because you have to pour it in layers.

What you need to be careful with are your measurements. Always remember that it’s the equivalent parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth. Pour it on your cup one layer at a time.

Which is Healthier: Cappuccino or Latte?

There is no definite health rule book for a healthier choice because they both share the same ingredients. At the same time, it also depends significantly on how you define what a healthy drink is.  

A cappuccino has fewer calories than a latte, but it tends to be more acidic since its coffee is more potent. On the other hand, the latte is creamier and sweeter, so expect it to have more calories, especially with various syrups incorporated to enhance its flavors. Due to its milk content, this one is more preferred by acidic people.

Is One Better than the Other?

Both are good coffee-based beverages, and choosing which one is best over the other all depends on your personal preferences. You can like both of these variants along with their equally yummy variations. You can order or create your cappuccino or latte and enjoy the best of both drinks. Nonetheless, both are satisfying coffee drinks.

In summary, it pays to know about the drinks that you habitually drink so you can appreciate it more and enjoy the beverage understanding the process and history behind it. If you are a coffee enthusiast and a coffee lover, investing in your knowledge about coffee and its variants can be gratifying. It can also be an exciting topic to discuss while sipping your cups of latte and cappuccino and going to your coffee nirvana.

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