Coffee Guide: Latte vs Cappuccino

In today’s coffee guide, we’re getting stuck into one of the biggest caffeine-based feuds out there: Latte vs Cappuccino.

Have you lately been into a coffee shop and wondered what might be the difference between latte and cappuccino? When you take a look at the different names of the items on the menu card, you may think those names have nothing to do with what you have come in to drink. But, trust me, these names describes the differences of your favorite beverage, coffee, in tastes that differ from each other drastically.

The differences between the two coffees confuse a lot of people. Despite the fact that they have almost the same ingredients, they can taste wildly different from eachother. So, what is the difference between a latte and Cappuccino?

coffee guide

Milky: The Latte Origin

Latte is an English word that is a shortened version of an Italian word “Caffelatte” or “Caffe latte” which means “milk coffee.” For centuries now, milk coffee has been consumed in Italy, but a majority of us think of latte as a modern invention. The beverage originated from Italy, but it was made more popular by coffee drinkers in North America.

Berkley in California is where the American Latte was invented, in the 1950s by a restaurant owner known as Lino Meiorin. In the 1980s the rest of the American people began to notice the drink after a modern coffee shop known as Craze began serving it. Today, the latte has become a common beverage drink among the people in U.S. due to the phenomenal success of Starbucks.

The latte is simply a mixture of espresso coffee and steamed milk. The Italian version of the same name is merely a blend of coffee prepared at home with hot milk. In Italy, the latte is a drink that is most commonly had at home for breakfast while in America it is more of a coffee house drink. It is served in a glass on a saucer with a napkin




Foamy: The inception of the Cappuccino

The cappuccino initially originated in Austria in the early 19th century. It was originally called Kapuziner, which meant a coffee drink that contained cream, coffee, sugar, and spices. The idea that the beverage was named after the Capuchin monk is not true; cappuccino is simply the Italian term for Kapuziner.

The cappuccino we drink today evolved from a mixture of coffee and steamed milk that appeared in Northern Italy in the late 1930s. After the Second World War, cappuccinos became more and more popular in Italy, with the age of cream (creama) ushered in by the introduction of coffee makers. Espresso bars spread and became part of the landscape.

In the 1980s is when the cappuccino was introduced in America with the rise in popularity of coffee shops such as Starbucks. It is served in special cups that have better heat retention properties. The surge in popularity of espresso machines has cappuccinos easier to make at home.

So how do the two differ in ingredients?

Latte Ingredients

Unlike with cappuccinos, you can make a latte from any kind of coffee. Interestingly enough, it is not a must for a latte to contain coffee. You can also make the drink using tea, cocoa, or even matte. The standard latte in North America contains two-thirds steamed milk, a third espresso and a layer of milk foam on top. In contrast, the traditional latte made in Italy does not contain foamed milk.

Lattes can also be prepared through another method where the drink is made with scaled milk mixed with bold or strong coffee. The mixture is mixed in the ratio of 1:1. As much as this method is more similar to a cappuccino, the layer of milk in a cappuccino is actually 2cm.

Its flavor is milkier and more mild than that of a cappuccino. Lattes have different types of flavor, including beige, black, dark brown, white and light brown

Cappuccino Ingredients

Cappuccinos are made out of hot milk, an espresso blend coffee, and steamed milk. A vast variety of other ingredients including flavorings such as sugar, fruit and spices are often added to the drink.

During the preparation of the beverage, the temperature of the milk is incredibly important. The purpose of steaming the milk is to introduce tiny air bubbles into the milk. Microfoam is created out of that process and gives the milk sweetness and a smooth texture. The foamed hot milk is poured in with the espresso resulting in a 2cm thick layer of milk foam on top.

There are a whole range of cappuccino variations that make use of more milk, such as white cappuccino, cappuccino chiaro, and cappuccino scro. Also fairly notably, it tends to boast a far more coffee-dense flavor than a latte.

With the discovery of single-serve coffee makers, such as Tassimo and Nespresso, making cappuccino and lattes has become much easier in recent years and requires less skill and attention. The old version of the coffee drink is the cappuccino freddo, usually filled with small amount of frothed, cold milk.

Want to try it for yourself? Here’s two simple recipes for you to get stuck in to.

Latte Recipe

1. Pull the espresso shot in your latte cup

2. Add a shot-flavored syrup to achieve a flavored taste in your latte. (Optional)

3. Using a spoon, retain the micro-bubbles that are on top of the steamed milk, pour the bottom two-thirds of the steamed milk into the latte cup from the steaming pitcher.

4. Using the remaining bubbles, top the latte. (If desired, you can spoon them onto your drink.)

5. Add latte art (optional)

Cappuccino Recipe

1. After you have brewed your coffee, combine the milk and the sugar. Use the microwave to heat it for two minutes at the highest setting.

2. Use the blender to whip the heated milk and sugar for about a minute until it is fluffy foam.

3. Fill your cup 2/3 full with the coffee and fill it up with your heated froth.

Over to you…

Which is your favorite in the latte vs cappuccino battle? Do you have a special recipe for either that you swear by? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out our best latte machine guide.




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