How in the world do you tell the difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino? It can be difficult right?
Trying to tell by just looking at them can be harder than it sounds. Well after serving quite a few of both to customers, I have written it down to share with you. So, read on to find out how to tell the difference between the two.
The Difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino
The difference is the amount of steamed milk and the amount of foam. The Cappuccino has more milk foam and the latte has more steamed milk. Both the latte and cappuccino use the same amount of espresso.
What is a Latte?
A latte uses espresso and milk steamed milk. The ratio is typically 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk.
Lattes are served in wide cups that are shaped more like a bowl and are ideal for making Latte art with the milk such as hearts and rosettes which are the most common
What is a Cappuccino?
A Cappuccino is a coffee made with espresso and with an equal amount of steamed and foamed milk. It will have a stronger taste as the amount milk used is less than in a latte. It uses a smaller cup with a more narrow base.
As with the latte, I would recommend that you have it served in a porcelain or ceramic cup and try to avoid drinking it in a paper to go cup.
Origin of the Latte
The popular theory on the origin of the latte was that is was created for Americans because the traditional Cappuccino was too strong so more steamed milk was added.
Origin of the Cappuccino
The origin of the Cappuccino with the most popular being that it comes from the Capuchin Friars and the color of their robes and hoods since the colors of a Cappuccino are very similar.
How to Make a Latte
The basic word latte means milk and so when one says Caffe Latte (more often than not we don’t say Caffe) it simply is asking for a coffee with milk.
The traditional latte, on the other hand is broken up into these three parts
- 1/3 Espresso
- 2/3 Steamed Milk
- A THIN layer of foam
With a Latte they should be served in a cup that is wider at the bottom then a Cappuccino cup and has a more narrow rim. I would recommend that you have it served in a porcelain or ceramic cup with a saucer and try to avoid drinking it in a paper or to go cup.
How to Make a Cappuccino
The traditional cappuccino is broken up into three parts:
- 1/3 Espresso
- 1/3 Steamed Milk
- 1/3 Milk Foam
With a Cappuccino they should be served in a cup that is narrower at the bottom then a latte cup and has a wider rim. I would recommend that you have it served in a porcelain or ceramic cup with a saucer and try to avoid drinking it in a paper to go cup.
3 Ways a Latte is similar to a Cappuccino
1. Amount of Espresso
Both the Latte and Cappuccino both use espresso as a base. Depending on how strong you want them, they will come with 1 or 2 shots. The standard in the U.S. is probably a double (no evidence to prove this) and was what I used when I made either of the drinks.
At my shop I would use a Brazil based coffee for the espresso that was a medium dark roast, has very low acidity and has a chocolate nutty taste that blended very well with the milk.
They both use milk or a milk alternatives as the 2nd ingredient. I would recommend whole milk as its easier to froth and has a richer taste to it.
It probably going to take you a few tries to get the hang of frothing milk but if use a chilled stainless steel milk frothing pitcher.
3. The Equipment Used
To make either a Latte or Cappuccino you need an espresso machine with a milk steam wand and a milk frother for the amount of milk you are going to froth.
If you travelling or camping you can use a Aeropress or if you are on a budget you could use a Moka Pot, but in either case you will still need a way to froth the milk. In which case you should get something like a Electric Milk Frother.
Bonus Info: Iced Cappuccino Vs Iced Latte
Either one can be refreshing to drink as a cold coffee on a sweltering day. If you live in a warm climate or during the summer time where you live, you might want to think about making in iced version of either one of these.
Of course, these drinks are very different from a traditional latte or cappuccino and keep in mind however that they will taste very different from the hot versions.
A cold cappuccino or latte does contain espresso, but they aren’t made with foamed or steamed milk. They are simply a combination of espresso, cold milk, and ice. You’ll find ordinary iced coffee drinks at most coffee shops, but you may not know that you can find iced lattes and iced cappuccinos as well.
What I used to do at the coffee shop was froth milk for a very short period of time so it was barely warm and then pour it over ice with the espresso. The drink came out very creamy and made it seem more like latte or cappuccino. Try it!
As you can see there are a lot of subtle differences between a latte and a cappuccino. With that said, it’s clear that both coffees have a lot to offer people that enjoy milk with there espresso coffee .
If you haven’t already try looking at these drinks more closely the next time you place your coffee order at your favorite local coffee shop or try making one at home!