Cappuccino vs Latte: What’s the Better Option?

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Cappuccino vs Latte

Stuck thinking about cappuccino vs latte – what are they or which to order?

The main difference between these two beverages is the milk and froth, while espresso shot is common to both.

A Cappuccino uses the same proportion of all three, and the flavor is stronger. A latte uses more steamed milk and less froth and is sweeter than a Cappuccino.

These two are the one of the most consumed specialty coffee.

According to the NCA, 54% of American coffee consumers consume specialty coffee, with a latte in first place at about 17% and a cappuccino in third place at about 15%. 

Here I am going to explain & differentiate between these two beverages so you can finalize which drink is good for you.

What is a Cappuccino?


Cappuccino is an espresso-based drink brewed with an equal ratio of milk foam, steamed milk (a few variations can be done here, like Whole milk, 2% milk, or oat milk), and espresso shot. 

It has a few variations, but its primary type is dry cappuccino and wet cappuccino.

The main difference between dry and wet cap. is the milk foam; a dry uses more aerated textured milk foam, also called microfoam, and a wet uses more milk and comparatively less foam.

Cappuccino can be brewed with single, double, or sometimes triple espresso shots. It depends on whether a consumer wants a bold and robust one or a light or balanced cup.

Some modern-day cappuccinos use a 50-50 or 60-40 ratio of liquid and foam; this means espresso and steamed milk mixed on one side and milk foam on the other.

Origin and History of Cappuccino

According to Wikipedia, the cappuccino was derived from the beverage Kapuziner at the Viennese coffee houses of the Habsburg Empire in the 1700s. 

A German dictionary called Wörterbuch in 1805 described this as coffee with cream and sugar. Further, in the mid-19th century, Kapuziner was mentioned as coffee with cream, spices, and sugar. 

At that time, the identity of this coffee had spread to Central Europe and Italian-speaking parts of the monarchy.

The name Kapuziner arises from the word “Capuchin friars” – An autonomous body of the Franciscan order (a religious group).

Capuchin monks wore chasuble vestments, and their color was quite similar to a cup of coffee with drops of cream.

The term cappuccino was first coined in the 1930s in the northern part of Italy, which earlier belonged to the Habsburg Empire. 

We cannot say that a Kappuziner is the same as a cappuccino because Italian cappuccino uses steamed milk in the later edition.

It was an inspiration for cappuccino & further; this drink evolved across the world.

What is a Latte?


Another Espresso-based drink that has its base in Italy. Latte in Italian means “milk,” so if you order a latte in Italy, there is a probability that you may get a cup or glass of milk. 

The drink you are looking for is Caffè Latte. In Italy, caffè means coffee and latte as we know milk, so it means ‘coffee with milk,’ and if you reverse the meaning like ‘milk with coffee,’ it becomes a Latte Macchiato

Also, if we talk about its variations like Chai Latte, which means tea with milk (chai is an Indian word that means tea), similarly Matcha Latte, which means powdered green tea leaves with milk. 

But most of the world recognized Caffè Latte as Latte only because of American influence, and We’ll talk about this in the next section.

Like cappuccino, the latte also requires the same ingredients: an Espresso shot, steamed milk, and milk foam. What’s different here is the ratios and the milk frothing process.

Latte is also a three-layered drink, but the ratio is 1:3, with one part espresso shot and two parts milk, including 1 cm milk foam. Or we can say 33% Espresso, 60% steamed milk, and 7% foam.

The Espresso shot is customizable, and this leads to an effect on the flavors of the latte.

Origin and History of Latte

The origin of a Latte is hard to tell; there is no exact information available that we can refer to and say this was the year when lattes started to brew. 

However, Wikipedia [1] [2] published, Melange was assumed & found in writings as a similar drink to Caffè Latte because of having a blend of coffee and milk in the 1850s.

Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying – a book published by Kenneth Davids, states, “…breakfast drinks of this kind have existed in Europe for generations, but the (commercial) caffè version of this drink is an American invention”.

Oxford English Dictionary mentions that caffè e latte was first used in an essay in the year 1897 by William Dean Howells – United States Consul to Venice. 

Several claims have been made in the late 1950s and 1960s by various coffee houses and baristas (Leo Meronin and Caffe Mediterraneum are well-known names) in Seattle and Berkeley, USA. However, these claims have yet to be confirmed.

Cappuccino vs Latte – The Real Differences


Despite having the same ingredients, the major difference between cappuccino and latte is the milk frothing process. The espresso shot is used in both beverages. 

Want to learn more about Espresso brewing? Check out our article How to make espresso.

Generally, we use whole milk for both drinks, which is fine. However, fat-free or 2% milk is preferred for better foam in cappuccino.

In addition to the type of milk, for a latte, we need froth at a temperature of around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Usually, a latte has a larger serving size than a cappuccino, so it requires more milk and takes a little longer to reach the desired temperature.

However, a cappuccino uses less milk due to its serving size; therefore, it takes less time to froth and should stop at around 135°F.

For frothing, we insert the steam wand into the pitcher and ensure that the wand is placed on the top layer of milk.

Turn on the steam, and when it starts to hiss and spin, the microfoam will begin to rise. It is the foaming point that creates the difference between these two drinks.

For cappuccino, we have to lower the pitcher so that the steam remains on the top layer. For a latte, we do nothing and wait for our desired temperature.

Taste and Texture

A Latte has a mellow tone as it uses more milk which has lactose sugar. So, It feels like having creamy milk with Espresso flavor. 

Clearly, we can say that latte is the least intense espresso-based beverage because of its high dilution and larger serving size.

The cappuccino tastes stronger because of the lower espresso-to-milk ratio. It feels thick and heavy. The foam is on the surface and does not disappear when you drink or mix and stays till the end.

Nutrition Value

Caffeine86.4 mg​​86.4 mg
Total Fat1.4 g3.9 g
Total Carbohydrate6.6 g10 g

The above data for Cappuccino and Latte is for eight fluid ounces cups.

Here you can clearly see that cappuccino has less of everything except a tie in caffeine content between two beverages because of the same espresso shot.

The nutritional value will certainly increase if you add sugar or chocolate garnish.

So, a question is often asked: Which is a healthier option, a latte or a Cappuccino?

What creates the difference between these two is milk; the more you consume milk, the more you consume calories, fat, and carbs, and vice versa. 

The caffeine content depends on the espresso shot: the fewer shots, the less caffeine content, and vice versa.

So, in this scenario, a cappuccino is good to opt for if you are looking for a comparatively healthier option.

Spoon Test

A spoon test is like a quality check of our brewed cappuccino or latte. It’s a simplistic process; we take a teaspoon and place it horizontally over the cup.

The cappuccino has to hold the spoon and not let it sink to pass the test, while a latte doesn’t have to keep the spoon on the surface and let it sink.

Because as we know, cappuccino has more milk foam at the top layer than a latte, so it will create more resistance, whereas a latte has less foam on the top, so it is not capable of holding the spoon.

So a question may arise in your mind, what if these beverages failed the test? 

It simply means that you need to make it correctly. Because if a cappuccino isn’t able to hold the spoon, then it doesn’t have enough froth that it should. 

On the other side, if the latte holds the spoon, then it has more foam than the recommended levels that it shouldn’t.

Remember that we can only perform this test in the first few seconds after brewing because if we do this later, the froth will start to disintegrate. Eventually, the result will be inaccurate.

Which is better, Latte or Cappuccino? – Final Verdict

The answer to this is entirely personalized; one cannot tell the other’s choice and preference. We have covered enough information so, on that basis, you can choose between these two.

It often happens to me, and maybe with you too, that someday I crave for cappuccino, someday a Latte, and someday other drinks. It’s up to you which flavor you want and at what time.

So, Enjoy your beverage, and don’t forget to click a selfie with your milk mustache.

Photo of author


Shaif is the founder of Berry To Brew and his passion for coffee led him to start this journey. His aim is to make every coffee lover love coffee even more with the recipes he shares and the questions he answers.

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