They’re undoubtedly the two most popular coffee-based drinks in the world. But what’s the major difference between a latte and a cappuccino?
The Short Answer:
A latte and cappuccino share the same ingredients, but they use different ratios, creating two distinct beverages.
The Long Answer:
Espresso, steamed milk, and foam. These are the three major ingredients that make up both the caffé latte and cappuccino. Chances are, you’ve tried both at one coffee shop or another. As you sit there sipping from your paper cup with your name written in Sharpie on the side with a little smiley face, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that they taste and feel rather different in the mouth.
That all boils down to ratios. At their base, they’re the same thing, but by adding more or less of certain ingredients, they make something else entirely.
A latte is a shot of espresso (or two if you’re really needing a pick me up) and two parts steamed milk and foam. The milk mixture is mostly steamed milk with the faintest wisp of foam on the top. That’s just enough to create some epic foam art in trendy coffee shops around the world.
A cappuccino uses one or two shots of espresso, and then pours in the milk mixture, just like a latte. The ratio, however, is flipped. Unlike its distant cousin the latte, a cappuccino’s milk mixture is half foam and half steamed milk. So, it has more foam by volume than a latte.
The name caffé latte is translated from Italian, meaning coffee with milk. That’s why the drink has more milk and less foam. The amount of foam in a latte accounts for barely more than a mouthful and exists mostly to add a sense of texture to the beverage.
There’s a lot of discussion about where the term cappuccino comes from. Many believe that it was named after an order of Catholic monks called the Capuchin. These are the stereotypical brown-robed monks with bald heads. Many believe that when you look down at a cappuccino, the ring of foam surrounded by the brown coffee and milk mixture resembles one of these monks when looked down on from above.
Do you prefer lattes? Or is a cappuccino more your speed? Have you ever tried to make one at home? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know what kind of caffeinated beverage you prefer.