Cappuccino Vs. Latte: What’s The Difference?

Learn about the differences and similarities between cappuccinos and lattes.

My mother always says she gets confused ordering coffee. What is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte? How can there be so many different combinations of coffee and milk? What is “microfoam?”

cappuccino, latte, espresso shot and coffee beans

Don’t worry, because the difference between a cappuccino and a latte is not as complicated as mom thinks. 

The difference between these two coffee drinks lies in the amount of milk and milk foam.

A cappuccino is a small, rich drink that emphasizes the espresso taste with a small amount of foam. A latte is a larger drink with higher milk to espresso ratio and a layer of foam on top.

It is easy to understand why people get these two drinks confused. A cappuccino and latte have the same ingredients combined differently.

If you are looking for more details on what makes a cappuccino different than a latte, read on for everything you need to know.

What Is A Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a decadent espresso drink developed in Italy in the 1930s. It includes one or two shots of espresso with equal or slightly more parts foam and/or milk.

It is worth noting that every cafe makes its cappuccino slightly different. Many coffee shops have a signature style.

However, what defines a cappuccino is the strong espresso ratio and the inclusion of equal or more parts of foam.

A great cappuccino has perfectly foamed milk with a thick, creamy texture without overheating the milk. 

Cappuccinos are for those who love a strong espresso taste with plenty of foam.

What Is A Latte?

A latte, also sometimes called a caffe latte, is also an Italian espresso drink that usually has two parts milk to one part espresso. 

Lattes are another espresso drink considered to be indulgent. Some even like to up the decadence and order a breve latte, which is half and half with espresso. 

Rather than lots of thick foam, a latte contains steamed milk with a sweet taste and silky texture. A latte should be ready to drink just after the barista serves it and have a smooth texture.

Most cafes include a layer of foam, anywhere from 2 centimeters to 1 inch thick. 

How are Cappuccinos and Lattes Different?

Cappuccinos and lattes are different in their milk to espresso ratio and how the baristas serve them.

Cappuccinos contain less milk and more foam than a latte. Typically, cappuccinos are served in 6oz cups on a saucer. Sometimes cappuccinos are served with a napkin and a spoon. 

Because they have less milk and more air in the milk, cappuccinos tend to have a strong coffee taste. 

Cafes typically serve lattes in an 8 or 12oz mug, with or without a saucer. Since lattes are large drinks that take longer to finish, the mug they are served in also contains heat better. 

To break it down, lattes:

  • Contain more milk
  • Have a sweeter taste
  • Are a large drink


  • Contain less milk and more foam
  • Have a strong espresso taste
  • Are a small drink

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about the differences between a cappuccino and a latte, I will answer them below.

Which is stronger: latte or cappuccino?

A cappuccino is stronger than a latte.

The word “latte” itself translates to “milk” in Italian, and this is a great way to remember that lattes are milkier, therefore less strong than a cappuccino. 

Which is healthier: cappuccino or latte?

While both drinks contain more milk than a regular cup of coffee, some people consider a cappuccino healthier because it has less milk than a latte. 

In most coffee shops, a cappuccino and latte contain the same amount of base espresso.

Therefore, if caffeine is your health concern, both drinks are equally as healthy.

If milk is your concern, opt for a milk alternative like oat or almond, and get the cappuccino. 

Which is sweeter cappuccino or latte?

Whether a cappuccino or latte is sweeter depends on where you get it. Some chain coffee places add sugar or other sweeteners to their lattes or cappuccinos. 

As far as the natural flavors in a cappuccino in a latte, a latte will typically taste sweeter than a cappuccino.

Not only is there more milk to counter the bitterness in the espresso, but the way the barista steams the milk lends it an element of sweetness as well. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing the difference between a cappuccino and a latte means you get the right drink that will satisfy you (and mom)! 

Cappuccinos are a great go-to drink if you are looking for something quick and decadent. If you want something more long-last and luxurious, pick a latte to sip on. Both drinks will pack a nice punch of energetic espresso and have that signature milk-and-coffee taste. 

If you’re a regular at Starbucks, check out their best latte flavors for a sweetened treat!

I hope this run-down of the differences between a cappuccino and a latte helps you order your next perfect cup of coffee. Enjoy!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.