Cappuccino vs. Latte: What’s the Difference?

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Cappuccinos and lattes are two classic Italian drinks made with espresso and milk. Find out what makes a cappuccino different from a latte.

Cappuccino image on top half and latte photo on the bottom half.

Cappuccino vs. Latte

Cappuccinos and lattes are two of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. They are both known for their combination of rich espresso and creamy steamed milk. While they are alike in many ways, there are a few qualities that set them apart.

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Milk Foam

Cappuccino: Cappuccinos have equal parts foam, steamed milk, and espresso. Foam is usually made by frothing using a steam wand from an espresso machine. Frothing is the process of introducing air into milk to expand the liquid. The milk in a cappuccino is frothed more than the milk in a latte, which creates more foam.

Latte: Lattes have more steamed milk and less foam than a cappuccino. That’s because the milk has less froth.

You can check if your drink is a latte or cappuccino by using a spoon to push the foam away from you. If you see more steamed milk underneath the foam, it’s a latte. If you still see foam, it’s a cappuccino. Just note that this test may be less accurate in a wider cup, which disperses foam out wider and makes the pushing test more difficult.

Milk Texture

Cappuccino: Cappuccinos have lighter, fluffier foam than lattes because the milk is frothed more.

Latte: Lattes have mostly smooth and silky steamed milk with just enough foam at the top for latte art.


Cappuccino: A traditional cappuccino comes in just one size, the standard size of 6 oz. The cappuccino at Starbucks is not traditional since you can order up to a 20 ounce (venti).

Latte: Lattes can range from 8-20 oz depending on how much milk you add.

What is a Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a 6 oz espresso drink made with 1-2 shots of espresso and frothed milk. It’s equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. There are many variations on the cappuccino, from those with extra frothy milk and stiff peaks to those sprinkled with cocoa powder.

The drink originated in Italy and it’s pronounced CAP-PU-CHEEN-O.

What is a Latte?

A latte is a coffee drink made with milk and 1-2 shots of espresso. The steamed milk in a latte has a light texture with a thin layer of foam at the top. The steamed milk in lattes are the perfect texture for creating latte art.

At most coffee shops, the standard size of a latte is 12 oz and it’s made with a double shot of espresso and 10 oz of milk.

Latte is short for caffè latte, which translates to coffee and milk in Italian. It’s pronounced LAH-TAY.

Popular latte recipes:

Questions You May Have

Is a there more caffeine in a cappuccino than a latte?

No, a standard cappuccino and latte have the same amount of caffeine since both drinks are typically made with 1-2 shots of espresso.

What time should you drink a cappuccino or latte?

There is no set time to drink a cappuccino or latte. However, in Italy where the drinks originated, milky espresso drinks are typically enjoyed in the morning before noon. Only espresso (without milk) is had after breakfast.

What makes a cappuccino different from a latte?

The main differences between cappuccinos and lattes are the amount of foam and steamed milk. A cappuccino is equal parts foam, steamed milk, and espresso. The milk in a latte is frothed less than a cappuccino, so lattes have more steamed milk, a light layer of foam, and espresso.


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