Latte vs Cappuccino: What’s The Difference?

Check out our guide to learn the differences and similarities between latte vs cappuccino for coffee lovers and those looking to take their first sip!

Breve latte
Cappuccinos are popular drinks in the US

Lattes and cappuccinos are some of the world’s most favorite coffee drinks. If you’ve ever tried one of these espresso drinks made by your local barista, you’ll know just how delicious they can be. They’re similar drinks, both made with a shot of espresso and steamed milk, but they’re very 


Lattes and cappuccinos are loved by regular coffee drinkers and new coffee connoisseurs because of their light flavor and delicious coffee taste. You can also customize them by adding sweeteners or syrups to your lattes to make them even tastier.

As far as looks go, these two foamy beverages are similar. However, there are key differences that distinguish the latte from the cappuccino. The main difference is that lattes are made with microfoam, while cappuccinos receive a topping of macrofoam. Let’s dive into the difference between these two specialty coffee drinks.

What are Lattes and Cappuccinos?


Latte vs Cappuccino
Lattes can be customized with syrups and milk alternatives

Latte’s a delightful coffee drink made by baristas with steamed milk and espresso shots. It’s made by pouring a shot of espresso into steamed milk, a play on the espresso macchiato, an older coffee drink made with espresso, and a dollop of milk or cream.

Lattes are a go-to drink globally but trendy in the US and UK. Many coffee lovers customize their latte orders with syrups or milk alternatives, like the infamous Starbucks vanilla oat latte or Autumnal pumpkin spice latte.


Cappuccinos are the definition of a frothy coffee; they’re made by pouring a mixture of steamed milk and foamed milk over espresso shots. It’s a smaller coffee than a latte as a standard size and often has chocolate or cinnamon powder on the top. 

Your barista can customize your cappuccino if you order it as “dry” or “wet.” Typically, a wet cappuccino has more steamed milk and less foam, whereas a dry cappuccino has less steamed milk and more foam.

Taste and Texture

Lattes and cappuccinos have the same core ingredient, but their preparation alters the taste and texture of these popular coffee drinks. Lattes have a less noticeable coffee flavor masked by the sweet milk, making it a top choice for new coffee drinkers. The steamed milk creates a hint of sweetness on the surface and makes for a smooth and creamy drink without an overpowering coffee flavor.

Cappuccinos have a much stronger coffee flavor than lattes. The cappuccino has a fluffy and foamy texture that is velvety smooth. It’s noticeably different from a latte due to its fluffy foam and stronger coffee flavor, making it a favorite among regular coffee drinkers.

Nutritional Information

The nutritional content of these two coffee drinks varies slightly due to their milk-to-coffee ratio. Looking at the coffee giant Starbucks, we can see some key differences between lattes and cappuccinos. 

Adding flavored syrups and milk alternatives like oat milk or soy milk can change the nutritional content of the drink. The below tables are a rough representation of a standard latte and cappuccino made with cow’s milk.

Standard Latte Nutritional Value

Calories 190Calories from Fat 70
Total Fat 7g9%
Saturated Fat 4.5g23%
Trans Fat 0mg
Cholesterol 30 mg10%
Sodium 170 mg7%
Total Carbohydrates 19g7%
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 18 g
Protein 13 g
Caffeine 150 mg*

* Caffeine is an approximate value.

Standard Cappuccino Nutritional Value 

Calories 140Calories from Fat 45
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Trans Fat 0mg
Cholesterol 20 mg7%
Sodium 120 mg5%
Total Carbohydrates 14g5%
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 12 g
Protein 19 g
Caffeine 150 mg*

* Caffeine is an approximate value.

Latte Macchiato Vs. Cappuccino

If you’ve ever heard of a latte macchiato, I bet you’re wondering what the difference is between that and a regular latte. The key difference between these two drinks is the preparation and presentation. 

The Italian name for the latte macchiato is “stained milked” or “marked milk,” which refers to 

how it is prepared and presented. There is a clear “mark” of the espresso and milk separation, whereas a latte gives a blended appearance of milk and espresso.

The latte emphasizes the espresso component of the drink, whereas a latte macchiato puts more emphasis on the milk. A latte macchiato is popularly served in Italy in a tall glass, showcasing a layered appearance. 

The table below highlights the key similarities and differences between the two drinks:

LatteLatte Macchiato
Milk-to-Coffee RatioEspresso shot, steamed milkEspresso shot, steamed milk
LayeringMore milk, less coffeeMore milk, less coffee
LayeringDistinct layers of milk and coffee, noticeably separatedDistinct layers of milk and coffee, noticeably separated
FlavorBalanced coffee and milk flavorEmphasis on milk flavor with a hint of coffee
PresentationTypically in a short cupLayered in a tall glass
Coffee EmphasisCoffee is more pronouncedMilk is more pronounced
Milk TextureCreamy, smoothCreamy, smooth

What Lattes and Cappuccinos Have In Common

Now we’ve covered what a latte macchiato is and the basics of lattes and cappuccinos, let’s look at some of the similarities between lattes and cappuccinos. Cappuccinos and lattes are both popular drinks loved by coffee drinkers worldwide. The most noticeable similarities between these two drinks are their sweet milk taste and ingredients.

Both coffee shop drinks are made with fresh steamed milk and a shot of espresso using an espresso machine. Although cappuccinos have a different texture and stronger taste, the main components of the drinks are much the same. 

Latte Vs Cappuccino: The Differences

Both lattes and cappuccinos have the same ingredients and are made using an espresso machine, but a few differences make them stand out. Lattes have a smooth milky texture, but cappuccinos have a light, frothy texture.

There’s also a difference in the coffee flavor; lattes have a milkier flavor because of the espresso-to-steamed milk ratio. Cappuccinos have a stronger coffee flavor due to having less steamed milk and more frothy foamed milk.

Who Should Get Lattes (And Why)?

A man making art latte
Lattes can be customized by a barista with unique latte art

Lattes are a fantastic choice for new coffee drinkers because they have a mild coffee flavor. They can also be customized with tasty sweet syrups and sweeteners, making them even more delicious. Order a latte at your local coffee shop and try out different syrups like chocolate syrup, vanilla syrup or opt for an iced latte on a hot day. Add a double shot of espresso if you’d like to try out a higher caffeine content! Check out our guide on the best coffee for latte art.

Who Should Get Cappuccinos (And Why)?

If you’re looking to try a new coffee drink to try, cappuccinos are the drink for you! They’re ideal for a morning coffee with a frothy and light texture with a great coffee kick. If you’re a new coffee drinker looking to branch out, cappuccinos are a great choice because they are similar to lattes and aren’t as strong as americanos or espressos.


Lattes and cappuccinos are delicious coffee drinks ideal for new coffee drinkers to try out. Both of these popular drinks are made with steamed milk and espresso, creating a smooth and sweet taste. 

Lattes are the best choice if you’re a new coffee drinker or have a sweet tooth. These smooth coffee drinks can be customized with flavored syrups and milk alternatives to create a deliciously sweet drink with a caffeine kick.

Cappuccinos are slightly different due to the steamed milk foam and stronger coffee flavor, so they might be more suitable for coffee drinkers who have already tried out lattes. The steamed milk of a cappuccino gives it a fluffy and velvety texture that many people love. So if you’re looking for a deliciously frothy coffee, cappuccinos are for you.

Looking for more? Check out our guide to the best coffee for your latte!


  • 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.