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Cappuccino vs Latte

The hands of a barista place a cappuccino on the bar counter

Coffee culture has exploded with specialty coffee shops and fancy espresso-based drinks.

a variety of espresso-based drinks

Every day, people are experiencing coffee for the first time, and loving it. Coffee enthusiasts are eager to know about all things coffee. Baristas get asked a lot of questions by inquisitive patrons trying to learn more about the coffee they are drinking. One of the most common questions a barista gets is,

“Cappuccino vs Latte?

What are the differences? Which should I order?”

a latte and a cappuccino

Deciding what to order isn’t always easy. Both cappuccinos and lattes are delicious, and have huge followings among experienced coffee drinkers.

How does the inexperienced coffee lover decide?

Although we can’t tell you which one you will like best, we can tell you the differences so when you try them, you know what to expect. We can give you enough information to make the best choice for you.

Don’t let inexperience force you to miss out on your new favorite drink.

Cappuccinos and Lattes:

The Differences

milk pouring out of a pitcher

Cappuccinos and lattes are very similar, which can be confusing for the inexperienced coffee drinker. They are both constructed using espresso and milk.

To make matters even more baffling, some coffee shops don’t treat these distinct beverages much differently.

So what is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte?

The simple answer is milk!

several glass bottles of milk

How the milk is used, and how much of it is in your drink is the differentiating factor in the latte vs cappuccino discussion.

To fully understand the distinctions, let’s go into more detail about the cappuccino and the latte.

Cappuccinos

A cappuccino is an espresso-based beverage broken in thirds. Think one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third frothed foam. Because it is broken in thirds, a traditional cappuccino is only around 6 oz.

Cappuccinos are typically served slightly cooler than other espresso beverages at around 130-140 degrees. They are served at this temperature because it is the “sweet spot” where the sugars in your milk are released and before they start to burn.

Lattes

A latte is espresso and steamed milk. When done properly, your latte should have a light layer of foam at the very top. There is no defined size of a latte, so you can have as big of a latte as you have the vessel to hold it.

But the larger you get, the less espresso you will taste, so be mindful when choosing your size.

Cappuccinos VS Lattes:

The Results

Although there are a few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to cappuccinos and lattes, there are still a lot of characteristics of your drink you can change to suit your craving.

Iced latte

If you want a larger beverage or an iced beverage, go for a latte. If you enjoy the foam that comes on many of your drinks, and who doesn’t want just a little bit more, try a cappuccino. Or for a larger drink that has lots of foam, order an extra foamy latte.

And if you really love that foam, ask the barista to make your cappuccino “dry,” which means stretching the milk for a longer period.

extra dry cappuccino

You will lose some of the liquid of the steamed milk, but you will be left with an airier, lighter, fluffier textured beverage.

a latte with cinnamon powder on it and a bowl of sugar next to it

You can add flavors, sugar, or cinnamon powder to any latte or cappuccino to change up your coffee routine when you want something different, but not too different from your regular café order.

Now that you know what the difference between a cappuccino and a latte is, you will know which beverage to order the next time you are hankering for a drink from your favorite, local coffee shop.

Let us know what your drink of choice is by leaving a comment below, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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