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In busy modern life, we can all agree that coffee is our lifeblood. The juice that gets us through the day and makes long days slightly more bearable. But that homebrew coffee will never hit the spot quite as well as a latte or cappuccino from the local coffee shop.
You may have tried both these types of coffee, and are starting to wonder, is there a difference?
What goes into it?
They both contain the same ingredients but it is the skill of the local Barista that makes them different.
Both drinks contain espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. The breakdown of how these two are different is in the distribution and technique of these ingredients.
A cappuccino is evenly distributed, with equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. A latte on the other hand has significantly more steamed milk and only a slight layer of foam on top.
In a cappuccino, these ingredients are layered, until you stir of course, while in a latte, the espresso and the steamed milk are blended together, and only the light layer of foam is separate.
How is it made?
Lattes and cappuccinos have the same ingredients but they are made differently. You can do this at home, get a small low-budget coffee machine, or you could get a barista-style one. You can make both either way, although a latte is probably easiest to make at home.
In a coffee shop with a high-quality machine, the latte process will start with an espresso shot straight into the cup. The next part is the steamed milk, which is produced with a steaming wand on full power.
The steamed milk is then added to the espresso and the two mix in the cup, steamed milk may often have a thin layer of foam on it, this is where the latte foam comes from.
Some smaller machines will have presets on them, which can automatically create these drinks themselves. If you see one of these, you can see the difference in how these coffees are made.
In a coffee shop with a high-quality machine, the process for making a cappuccino starts much like a latte, with an espresso shot. While the espresso shot pours an equal part of milk is then steamed, much like a latte.
However, cappuccino milk is steamed in such a way that more foam is produced. This is all down to the angle of the steam wand.
With an automated machine, you can see the difference a bit more clearly. With a latte, the machine will produce the espresso and the steamed milk together and then a small layer of foam on top.
With a cappuccino, it will produce an espresso first, then the steamed milk separately. Finishing with the foam last. Later on, we will talk about making these coffees at home.
Taste and Texture
Taste and texture will slightly differ between these two drinks. A cappuccino is 33% foam, so it will be very foamy in comparison to a latte. A cappuccino has a ratio of 1:1:1, so all parts are equal, as a result of this it is considered a well-rounded drink and provides a very smooth, and somewhat fluffy texture.
The foam of a cappuccino is also supposed to be dense, with tiny bubbles that add to the smoothness.
In a latte you will find more milk, their ratio is not as equal as a cappuccino. They have double the amount of milk or any other espresso-based drinks, and while the flavor is there the bite is cloaked by milk. The steamed milk in a latte makes it very smooth.
Cappuccinos generally taste stronger, as they have an equal consistency, while lattes are more on the milky side. Lattes have a smooth, silky texture, whereas cappuccinos have a more bubbly and fun texture.
Making it yourself
You can make a cappuccino or latte at home, although a latte will be easier. It also helps if you have an espresso machine because you will be one step ahead. While you can get a home steamer for your milk, all you need is a whisk that can fit inside a mug.
You can heat up the milk and then proceed to whisk it, you can get special tools for this too which may be easier than a standard kitchen whisk. All you need to do is whisk and you can get that steamy smooth consistency, and eventually that foamy goodness too!
It is really easy to do, and gives you a chance to have your favorite coffee at home!
What is the difference?
While there is no difference in the ingredients of these coffees, there is a difference in how they are made, the ratios, and the steam-foam ratios. Both are great coffees and both can be made from the comfort of your own home if you want to try experimenting.
If you enjoy both of these, you can always try a flat white, which is the happy medium between a latte and a cappuccino.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Is a cappuccino stronger than a latte?”
The general rule is that a cappuccino is a smaller and stronger drink.
It is made with three equal parts, espresso, steamed milk, and foam milk. A latte is larger and has a milder coffee to milk ratio with just a tiny bit of foam.
“Which is healthier latte or cappuccino?”
Lattes contain the most milk, so are therefore the highest in calories, fat, and protein.
Cappuccinos have less milk but do still contain calories and fat.