Difference between coffee latte and cappuccino

This is the Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino

I know, it’s super easy to get lost in the seemingly endless sea of coffee drinks. There are so many similar-sounding names, variations of the same drink or even different coffee drinks that actually share identical ingredients. And guess what? Cappuccino and latte are two brilliant examples of almost 100% identical coffee drinks. So, what is the difference between coffee latte and cappuccino?

The only difference between these two coffee drinks is the amount of steamed milk and foam that they use.

Cappuccino uses less milk and more milk foam, while latte uses more milk and less milk foam on top.

Other than that, caffe latte and cappuccino share the exact same ingredients – espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.

Although they contain the same amount of espresso (a single shot), they have different steamed milk-to-milk foam ratios.

But to give you an even better idea of the differences between cappuccinos and lattes, we’re going to check exactly how each is prepared.

After all, they’re both espresso-based drinks, so they can’t be THAT different from each other.

Speaking of espresso-based drinks…

What Are Espresso-Based Coffee Drinks?

A coffee drink based on espresso is basically a combination of two things – espresso and milk.

You see, espresso is the coffee and source of caffeine, while the milk is added to dilute the drink and make it smoother and creamier.

And that’s why pure espresso will always be stronger than its milky counterparts like latte and cappuccino.

Subsequently, there are dozens and dozens of espresso-based drinks out there.

Here’s a list of the most popular ones currently:

  • Cappuccino
  • Latte
  • Macchiato
  • Mocha
  • Americano
  • Lungo
  • Ristretto
  • Breve

All of these rely on espresso and milk as their base ingredients.

Sure, some coffee drinks are made with other ingredients like sweetened condensed milk or even ice cream.

While others utilize different espresso-to-milk ratios.

Regardless, if something has espresso and milk in it, you can bet your life that it’s an espresso-based drink!

What Is In A Cappuccino?

Espresso, steamed milk and milk foam, that’s all.

Cappuccino is your typical espresso-based drink that’s basically a more diluted version of espresso.

In fact, cappuccino uses equal parts of coffee (espresso), milk and foam – each ingredient makes around 1/3 of the drink.

And here’s how the traditional Italian cappuccino recipe is prepared:

  • 1 espresso shot
  • 1 oz. of steamed milk
  • 1 oz. of milk foam

Now, other cappuccino variations exist as well, including iced, wet and dry cappuccino.

There are even flavored cappuccinos that add things like cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla etc.

But such cappuccino types obviously differ greatly from the typical Italian cappuccino.

What Is In A Latte?

Espresso, steamed milk and foamy milk – the same ingredients that are used in cappuccino.

However, caffe latte is made with much more milk as the espresso-to-milk ratio can vary from 1-3 to 1-9.

While the layer of milk foam on top is super thin, unlike foamy milk used in cappuccino. And this is the typical latte recipe:

  • 1 espresso shot
  • 5 to 6 oz. of steamed milk
  • Dash of milk foam

Note that the thin layer of foamy milk on top is added for the visual effect if anything.

That’s because any skilled barista can actually create stunning drawings using the milk foam.

When it comes to latte variations though, there’s something that I want to point out – chai latte has nothing to do with a regular latte!

In fact, Starbucks ‘ chai latte drink is made of milk, water and chai tea – it doesn’t have any coffee (espresso or else) in it.

Difference between coffee latte and cappuccino
Guess what – both caffe latte and cappuccino have the same amount of caffeine!

Which Has More Caffeine Latte Or Cappuccino?

Believe it or not, latte and cappuccino have the same amount of caffeine.

Cappuccino and latte are traditionally made using only 1 espresso shot, which means around 63.6 mg of caffeine per cup or 127.2 mg if 2 shots of espresso are used.

Thus, forget about all the myths and legends that cappuccino has more caffeine than latte or vice versa!

Cappuccino and caffe latte contain the exact same amount of caffein per cup (assuming they contain the same amout of espresso – 1 or 2 shots)!

However, if we’re talking about taste, then cappuccino will be stronger.

The reason for that is the difference in the amount of milk used in these two espresso-based drinks.

Latte uses much more milk, meaning it has a more diluted taste i.e. not as strong as cappuccino.

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Cappuccino vs Latte Calories – Which Coffee Drink Will Make Your Waist Bigger?

Latte has more calories than a cappuccino, without a shadow of a doubt.

The reason for that is quite simple, really – latte contains much milk.

And I’m sure you already know, milk contains plenty of calories.

Subsequently, the more milk your coffee drink contains, the higher the number of calories will be.

1 cup of latte (8 oz) made with whole milk has 136 calories, while 1 cup of cappuccino (8 oz) has almost twice as less calories – 73!

So, if you love coffee but you’re on a strict diet, cappuccino is the coffee drink to go with.

Now, I might argue that a difference of just 63 calories between latte and cappuccino is virtually nothing.

You’ll probably burn them by taking the stairs instead of the elevator anyway!

Latte Macchiato vs Cappuccino – How To Tell The Difference?

Easy – latte macchiato has a distinctive layered look to it due to the order of the ingredients and it’s served in taller glass cups.

In latte macchiato, the steamed milk is poured first, then it’s stained by an espresso shot and a layer of milk foam is added on top.

That’s why it’s called ‘latte macchiato’ – meaning stained milk.

But cappuccino is served in typical, small coffee cups and has that specific foamy top.

Basically, latte macchiato is just like regular macchiato but with a reversed order of the main ingredients.

It has milk on the bottom, instead of espresso like in a regular latte.

That’s because the espresso in latte macchiato sits in the middle of the cup, giving it that distinctive stained appearance.

What’s The Difference Between Coffee And Latte?

Well, caffe latte has coffee in it (espresso) so the main difference between coffee and latte is the addition of milk in the latter.

Note that latte means “milk” in Italian so we’re talking about caffe latte (coffee and milk) here – don’t confuse the two.

Now, by ‘coffee’ I’m assuming you mean regular, black drip coffee – without milk, sugar or anything else.

Or in other words, basic coffee generally comes without anything extra added to it.

On the other hand, caffe latte always contains milk because it’s made of 3 ingredients – espresso (coffee), steamed milk and milk foam.

But since latte is made using espresso (not drip coffee), there’s a slight difference in the coffee used as well.

Although regular coffee and espresso both contain caffeine and they’re both considered ‘coffee’, the brewing process differs – hence why espresso is stronger than regular coffee!

Indeed, espresso is stronger than ordinary coffee due to the unique brewing process.

Here’s the main difference between espresso and coffee (drip coffee):

  • Regular coffee – Generally uses medium grind beans as it relies on gravity and coffee grounds are in contact with water for longer. How it works: Hot water is poured over the ground coffee, which is then filtered out before making its way into your cup.
  • Espresso – Typically utilizes finer-grind coffee, espresso relies on pressure and quick contact between the coffee grounds and water. How it works: Highly pressurized hot water is forced through the coffee grounds.

And due to the fact that espresso is quite potent and even bitter, people tend to add milk to tone the flavor down.

That’s exactly why espresso-based coffee drinks like coffee latte exist my friend!

What’s The Difference Between A Latte And Mocha?

What separates caffe latte and mocha is how sweet they are.

Obviously, mocha will have a much sweeter taste due to the addition of chocolate.

Other than that, both of these espresso-based drinks are quite similar. In fact, here’s what each contains:

  • Caffe Latte – espresso, steamed milk and milk foam
  • Caffe Mocha – espresso, hot chocolate and steamed milk

Now, mocha is also based on coffee and milk but it’s more geared towards people who prefer a chocolatey taste to their coffee.

Mocha has a thin layer of chocolate added in-between the espresso base and the steamed milk on top.

Want to learn more? Then check my article on the difference between mocha and latte!

And you might come across various chocolate variations used, from hot chocolate to chocolate syrup.

It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s chocolate!

What About The Difference Between Cappuccino And Macchiato?

The difference between macchiato and cappuccino is that macchiato doesn’t have milk in it.

While a cappuccino consists of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam, a macchiato is just a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top.

It’s safe to say that macchiato is the closest that you’ll get to pure espresso.

Cappuccino is a whole different story though.

The addition of milk between the espresso and heaps of milk foam makes for a more diluted and creamy flavor.

In my opinion, the macchiato is ideal for people who like the strength of espresso but with a touch of extra crema on the first taste.

Difference between coffee latte and cappuccino
This is latte and it has plenty of milk – macchiato has none!

What Is The Difference Between A Latte And A Macchiato?

The difference between the two is in the amount of steamed milk used.

Caffe latte is made with pretty generous amounts of milk, while macchiato has virtually zero, nada, none.

To put things into perspective, here’s a breakdown of the ingredients of latte and macchiato:

  • Caffe latte – espresso, milk and foam
  • Macchiato – Espresso with a dollop of foam on top

Thus, a macchiato is much closer to traditional espresso both in terms of taste and flavor.

As for latte, it’s more mellow and smoother – if you fancy neat milk and coffee mix, this is your drink!

Okay, But Are Latte And Latte Macchiato The Same Thing?

No, although latte macchiato is basically the same thing but with the ingredients in reverse order.

Or in other words, latte macchiato is made of steamed milk, espresso and milk foam.

As for caffe latte, it has the exact same ingredients but in the traditional order – espresso, steamed milk and foam.

They also look different thanks to the varying ingredient order.

So, latte macchiato will have a bolder initial taste since the espresso is poured over the milk.

Your typical cup of caffe latte though is smoother on the first sip.

But hey, I’d say that latte macchiato is more of a gimmick as it’s pretty much the same drink.

Difference between coffee latte and cappuccino
Here’s a neat way to make your coffee healthier – consume some healthy foods with it! *In case you didn’t spot it, the cup of Joe is at the bottom left corner!
  • Caffe latte, 8 oz (made with whole milk) – 136 calories
  • Regular coffee, 8 oz (made with whole milk) – 20 calories

Obviously, these numbers represent traditional caffe latte and your typical cup of coffee – without any sugar or other additives.

The significant calorie difference here comes from one thing only – milk.

And while an extra 100+ calories might not break your diet, if you’re very strict about how many calories go into your body, this might be an issue!

As we’re on the subject of milk, I’d like to mention a particular study related to milk consumption and its impact on our health.

I know that many people aren’t too sure whether drinking milk as an adult is good or not.

However, recent scientific research might potentially have protective capabilities against the likes of obesity, cardiovascular disease and even diabetes (1).

Still, these researchers do state that there are exceptions when milk consumption is far from optimal, like people with allergies to milk proteins or lactose intolerance.

Starbucks Coffee by Nescafe Dolce Gusto,...

How do you Make a Caramel Macchiato Drink?

Here’s a typical caramel macchiato recipe for you, Starbucks style!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 espresso shot
  • 1 cup (8 oz) of 2% milk
  • Caramel sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup


  1. Pull 1 espresso shot
  2. Grab the milk and froth it (use the Medium setting on a coffee machine)
  3. Pour some vanilla syrup on the bottom of the cup
  4. Fill three quarters (​3⁄4) of the mug with milk
  5. Fill the remaining one quarter (¼) of the mug with milk foam
  6. Pour your espresso shot over the milk, foam and syrup
  7. Add a bit of caramel sauce to top things off

Best of all, this super simple recipe will help you to make your very own caramel macchiato at home in only 5 to 7 minutes.


In conclusion, to make sure that we’re on the same page:

The difference between latte and cappuccino is in the amount of milk and foam used!

Latte uses more milk and less foam, while cappuccino does the opposite – less milk and more foam.

Subsequently, caffe latte has more calories so keep that in mind if you’re trying to get ready for the summer!

Which espresso-based coffee drink do you prefer though – caffe latte or cappuccino?

I’d love to know so feel free to leave your answer in the comment section below!

CEO at CoffeeLifious | simon@coffeelifious.com | Website | + posts

Simon is a coffee enthusiast who has spent years exploring the world of coffee. He has a deep passion for the art of brewing and enjoys experimenting with different brewing methods to create the perfect cup of coffee. His love for coffee has led him to become an expert in the field, and he is known for his meticulous attention to detail when it comes to selecting and brewing the perfect cup. Simon is also an avid traveler who loves incorporating new flavors and techniques into his brewing.

Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 thoughts on “This is the Difference Between Coffee Latte and Cappuccino”

    1. Hi there Jamie and welcome to CL!

      We’ve added a sub-section towards the end of the article that’s entirely dedicated to making your own caramel macchiato at home via the Starbucks style recipe.

      So feel free to have a look and let us know how your caramel macchiato turned out.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

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