Do You Add Sugar To Cappuccino?

Do you add sugar to cappuccino? This question is common among those new to cappuccinos. Keep reading to learn more. 

Do you add sugar to cappuccino?
Add sugar to cappuccino before adding the milk

There are reasons why cappuccinos are so popular–there’s nothing like this well-made, delicious drink. A simple ingredient list allows the flavors to shine, as cappuccinos are made with equal parts of the following: 

The burning question lots of people have is, “Do you add sugar to cappuccino?” While most coffee connoisseurs recommend drinking them without sugar, some people like to add sweetness. The key to enjoying sugar in your cappuccino is to make sure you add sweetener at the right time—before adding the milk.  

Why You Should Try Cappuccinos Without Sugar

caffeine, cappuccino, coffee
Cappuccinos have some natural sweetness

Even if you are unable to drink coffee without sugar, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy a cappuccino without it. 

The first reason is that any barista worth their salt knows a thing or two about crafting this drink. Using fresh beans and proper espresso pulling technique brings out interesting and complex flavors—flavors that many argue are less nuanced if you add sugar.  

Secondly, cappuccinos have some natural sweetness. The reason is that the lactose in the milk becomes more soluble as you heat it.

More of the sweetness comes through, which is why many people think hot milk is sweeter than cold milk. The sweetness is the same, but we perceive it as greater in hot milk. 

If we compare cappuccinos to other coffee drinks, like black coffee with milk, the frothing process makes a significant impact. Black coffee with milk tastes less sweet than a cappuccino. It’s worth giving a cappuccino a try to see if you like it without sugar. 

Much like, unsweetened tea it also contains fewer calories. That said…

Do You Add Sugar To Cappuccino?

coffee, milk, sugar
Add the sugar at the right time

Plenty of coffee purists will argue against adding sugar to cappuccino, but if you find yourself craving some sweetness, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, there’s a critical trick to keep in mind to ensure the cappuccino retains all its goodness: you have to add the sweetness at the right time. And the right time to do so is before you add the milk. 

What does it matter? The answer lies in the foam layer. Most espresso drinks come with a layer of foam on top, and the cappuccino is no exception. If you’ve ever been on Instagram, you’ve likely seen a picture of someone’s cappuccino with an elaborate design in the foam. 

Adding sugar after the foam layer creates some problems. The first is that the sugar stays right on top.

You have to take a spoon and stir to avoid drinking a mouthful of sugar. Doing so destroys the foam (and any Instagram-worthy design your cappuccino came with). 

On its face, this problem might not seem so critical. But mixing the foamy layer into the rest of the coffee changes the mouthfeel and even the cappuccino taste. Luckily, you can easily avoid destroying your cappuccino, whether you’re making one at home or order at a cafe.

You can also try a coffee sweetener alternative

Making A Cappuccino At Home

If you’re making your drink, start by choosing your sweetener. Simply put the amount you want in the cup before adding the shot of espresso. Adding sweetness earlier in the process lengthens the time it’s in contact with hot liquid, which helps the sugar dissolve.  

Ordering At A Cafe

If you’re at a cafe, let the barista know that you want sugar (or agave) in your cappuccino as you order. This way, they can add it at the right time. Remember, it’s best to add brown sugar to coffee (over white), no matter the type.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.