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The Difference Between Cappuccino and Latte – Full Comparison

The Difference Between Cappuccino and Latte - Full ComparisonEven though it looks similar from the top, there is a significant difference between cappuccino and latte. Both are Italian coffee based drinks that are offered on all cafes and coffee shops today. These drinks are also called espresso based drinks because their main ingredient is the espresso itself. Both are also great for those with sensitive stomach because it is toned down by the steamed milk. Let’s see how they are different to each other.

The Major Difference between Cappuccino and Latte

As explained above, both drinks use espresso and steamed milk for serving. However, these ingredients are mixed differently as well in each drink. Let’s see the difference between cappuccino and latte in a big concept.

  • Cappuccino contains different amount of espresso, and less steamed or textured milk. Commonly cappuccino is served in a glass. Sometimes, it is served in saucer with napkin too. The serving style is highly affected by the café style. This drink is originated in Italia. The name “cappuccino” is originally derived from tonsured white heads that are surrounded by brown hair forming a ring or Capuchin friar behavior.
  • Meanwhile, latte contains different amount of espresso and more steamed or textured milk in it. It is commonly served in porcelain cups or other kind of cups that has better heat retention properties. Even though it is considered as Italian drink, it is reported that latte is originated in US. The name “latte” in Italian refers to coffee and milk.

So that is the major difference. It gives you a big picture of how they are different. We still need to break down the details to really know the difference. Read along.

Differences in Their Origins, Ingredients, and Preparation

Structurally, both of them get the same amount of layers consisting of espresso shot at the bottom, steamed or textured milk in the middle, and foam on top. The amount of each layer is the one that makes the real difference between cappuccino and latte.



The commercial form of cappuccino was first introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. This is the time when Luigi Bezzera of Milan introduced the first patented espresso machine in 1901. These machines then get real innovation on reproduction in 1950s and it makes cappuccino even more popular drinks in restaurants and cafes until today.


The basic composition in a cappuccino is 1/3 espresso shot at the bottom, 1/3 steamed milk in the middle, and 1/3 foamed milk on top. This is basically a toned down espresso but you will still taste the coffee featured nicely. This is a little bit stronger than latte in terms of the caffeine.


As mentioned before, a cappuccino is prepared from espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam. For this drink, the temperature and texture of the milk is extremely important.

First, the milk will be steamed so it has small air bubbles in it. These bubbles are well known as micro foam. Micro foam is what gives the milk ultimate sweetness and smooth texture.  This really hot and foamed milk is then poured into the espresso. This process will create up to two centimeters of foam on top of the mix.

In alternatives to this serving of milk, cappuccino is also served on more use of milk. Depending on the amount of the milk, we can choose between dry cappuccino, cappuccino scuro, white cappuccino, or cappuccino chiaro. In addition to those alternatives, we can also have cappuccino freddo which is a coffee drink in cold version. It is usually served with cold and frothed milk on top.



In 1847, the words caffé and latte were first used. The words appear again in 1867 in William Dean Howell’s essay titled “Italian Journeys”. Originally, latte in Italian means milk. The invention of the drink is actually American. It is first invented in a café called Caffé Mediteraneum in Berkeley, California. Lino Meiorin brewed and added more milk in it, and introduced it as “caffé latte” for the first time. People call it just “latte” today, but the form remains the same until today.


The basic composition in a latte is 1/6 espresso shot at the bottom, 4/6 steamed milk in the middle, and 1/6 foamed milk on top. This drink is more like a milk drink but with a little taste of coffee in it. It is mild due to the amount of milk and welcoming especially for those with sensitive tummy or who are not fans of coffee.


A latte drink is made of a combination of coffee and hot and steamed milk. Its coffee is brewed on caffettiera or stovetop Moka.

When the coffee is brewed, it is then poured to the steamed milk in the cup. In Italy, a latte doesn’t have any foamed milk in it. However outside Italy, a latte is prepared from 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a layer of five millimeters foam on top. The other alternative serves latte with strong coffee and scalded milk in 1:1 ratio. It looks very similar to cappuccino yet the foam is thinner.

In here, we can see that the difference between cappuccino and latte is pretty strong, especially in taste.

Latte Art

It refers to style and creativity in pouring the steamed milk on the espresso. It becomes a trend right now so no barista is considered a nice one unless they can create nice and unique pattern on it. The pattern created will float on top of the latte, offering delicacy for the eyes. This art consistency is really hard to maintain. It is a challenge for barista and latte artist but it is also mainly affected by espresso machine quality and the barista experience on it.

So, at glance, cappuccino and latte seems to be the same thing. Even though they share similarities on ingredients, they are different on so many other ways. The entire difference between cappuccino and latte affects the taste and look of the drink. So, which one do you like the most?

Author: , last updated: 2017-09-13


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