June 21

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Understanding the Basics: Latte vs. Cappuccino

By Hanson Cheng

June 21, 2023


When it comes to popular coffee beverages, the latte and the cappuccino are often confused for one another. Both drinks can be found at nearly any coffee shop, but what exactly sets them apart? In short, a latte consists of steamed milk and espresso while a cappuccino is made with equal parts of steamed milk, foam, and espresso. While the two may seem similar, there is a distinct difference between them. In this article, we will dive deeper into the specifics of each drink and explore the unique characteristics that differentiate a latte from a cappuccino.

Overview Of Latte And Cappuccino

A latte and cappuccino are two of the most popular coffee beverages in the world. A latte, also known as a cafe latte, is a type of espresso-based drink that is made up of steamed milk and espresso, often topped with a layer of frothed milk. On the other hand, a cappuccino is an espresso-based drink that is made up of equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. In a latte, the emphasis is on the milk, with the espresso acting as an accent to the flavor.

In a cappuccino, the focus is on the espresso, with the milk and foam acting as a supporting role. The key difference between the two drinks is the ratio of milk to espresso, with the latte having more milk and the cappuccino having less. Despite their differences, both drinks are loved by coffee drinkers around the world for their rich, creamy texture and bold, complex flavor.

Its Origin

The history of the latte and cappuccino is steeped in culture and tradition. While both originated in Europe, they have since become beloved beverages around the world. The cappuccino was first popularized in Italy in the early 1900s, and is said to have been inspired by the habits of Capuchin monks who wore brown hoods that resembled the drink’s signature froth.

The latte, on the other hand, originated in 1950s America as a more heavily milked version of the cappuccino. Originally known as café latte, it was popularized by the cappuccino-loving San Franciscans who were looking for a milder and creamier alternative. Both drinks have since gained popularity not just for their delicious taste, but also for the cultural significance they hold in their countries of origin.

The Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino – FAQs

1. What is the main difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

A latte is made with more milk than a cappuccino and has a smoother, creamier texture. A cappuccino is a traditional Italian drink made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, giving it a layered look.

2. What is the difference in the milk used for a latte vs. a cappuccino?

Both use steamed milk, but a latte has more milk and a smoother texture. A cappuccino has a drier foam milk layer on top, and the ratio of espresso to milk is higher than in a latte.

3. Are the serving sizes different for a latte vs. a cappuccino?

Yes, lattes are often served in larger cups than cappuccinos. Lattes are typically served in 12-16 oz cups, while cappuccinos are usually served in 5-6oz cups.

4. Can you add flavorings to a latte or cappuccino?

Yes, many cafes offer a variety of flavorings such as vanilla, mocha, and caramel for both lattes and cappuccinos. It’s worth noting that some specialty drinks may contain added sugars and calories.

5. Is there a price difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

Pricing depends on the specific café, but lattes are typically more expensive than cappuccinos. This is due to the larger serving size and the amount of milk used in them. However, the price difference may not be significant.

6. Which drink is typically preferred in Italy: a latte or a cappuccino?

In Italy, cappuccinos are commonly consumed in the morning with breakfast, and it is considered inappropriate to order one after 11 AM. Lattes are generally reserved for the afternoon and evening, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

Hanson Cheng

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