The successful combination of coffee and milk has given rise to the creation of delicious drinks. Recipes are so quickly updated with original ideas that it is not always possible to keep track of the novelties. Only the variety of proposals from baristas explains the fact that not everyone understands the difference between a latte and a cappuccino. Controversy surrounds the composition, the proportions, the beautiful patterns on the surface of the foam. Reliable information will put an end to the controversy once and for all.
A common belief on the Internet is that a latte is a coffee cocktail and a cappuccino is a coffee with milk. To put it plainly, only espresso can be called coffee, all other specialties based on espresso are called coffee drinks.
- Don’t miss: Coffee beverage varieties
Briefly, the difference between a latte and a cappuccino can be summarized as follows:
The recipe differs in the way the two liquids are mixed, the quality of the crema, and the quantity of the main ingredients.
There is also a misinterpretation of drink preparation: to create a cappuccino, espresso is added to milk, for latte the opposite is true. In fact, the classic latte recipe allows for both, but as long as the components are fully mixed. Milk and coffee should create a homogeneous consistency in both drinks – the difference lies in the quality of the foam, the proportion of ingredients.
- Read also: How to make foam for cappuccino at home
The composition of the drink
A cappuccino is espresso, milk, and airy milk foam (1:1:1 ratio). Depending on the brewing method, a dry and thick or elastic and glossy “cap” is created on the surface of the coffee. A significant test shows the quality of the crema: the addition of sugar to the beverage does not change the structure of the crema.
The only correct ratio of espresso, milk and milk foam for a latte is 1:2:1, changing the classical formula will give a completely different taste. Experienced baristas say that the height of the crema should not exceed 2 cm – the remaining volume is taken up by the homogeneous structure of coffee and milk. The last component is not whipped to a thick froth, but heated with constant stirring to 60 ° C.
To create a perfect balance of milk and coffee, classic cappuccino is served in cups of 150-180 ml. It is important to make sure the cup is slightly widened towards the top, as this will create enough milk foam to cover the entire espresso volume. The best way to drink a latte is from a cup, with the harmony of coffee’s bitterness and the fullness of the milk foam.
Latte coffee differs from cappuccino in its way of presentation, and as a true noble cocktail, it is served in a glass with a heat-resistant glass handle. The volume of classic Irish glass is 240 ml, but variations of 250-350 ml are possible. It is customary to drink the cocktail through a straw. Both drinks can be flavored with liqueur, caramel, cinnamon, airy miniature marshmallows, syrup or grated chocolate, but the basic recipe must be strictly followed.
Popular drawings on the surface of the foam are the prerogative of cappuccino, although many are misled by the name of the process “latte art“. Literally, the technique translates as “milk” (Italian: Latte), “art” (Italian: Art). Thanks to the special method of adding foamed milk to the espresso, it’s possible to create different patterns, three-dimensional figures, and miniature inscriptions.
The difference in flavors
The difference in the composition of latte and cappuccino coffee affects the taste of the drinks:
|Milk dominates, enhanced with a pleasant coffee aftertaste||Bright coffee taste, which is flavoured with milk notes|
|Light and delicate creaminess of the foam||Foam is full milky|
|Creamy and milky tint, which makes the drink taste better||Well traced nutty notes, typical for a quality espresso|
There is a connoisseur of every beverage, some like the astringent coffee flavor of cappuccino, while others prefer the soft delicate consistency of latte.
Strength and calories
Cappuccino is stronger than a latte because it has a higher espresso content. It’s better to drink it before noon, as 70-90 mg of caffeine will give you long hours of energy. A latte is slightly behind, but it’s important to consider the volume of the glass in which the cocktail is served. 250-350 ml of the drink will “present” 50-70 mg of caffeine, so the maximum allowable time for a treat is at noon.
Having found out where there is more milk – in a latte or a cappuccino, it is not difficult to guess which drink is more caloric. The latter contains about 90 kcal per standard serving, the indicators of the milk-coffee cocktail increase to 220 kcal.
Milk affects not only the calories and taste, but also the quality of the foam, so it is important to choose the right product. Pay attention not to the fat content, but to the amount of protein – the consistency of the “cap” depends on this:
- to get a thick foam, it is better to use raw pasteurized milk;
- a high protein content gives a thick and dense foam;
- dry, airy foam is best when using low-protein milk.
Don’t miss: What milk whips well for cappuccino
Latte harmonizes with desserts that have a nutty or fruity flavor. Non-caloric cheesecakes, delicate souffles, airy mousses or soft ice cream are ideal for the drink. Bitter notes of cappuccino perfectly complement desserts with chocolate flavor or creamy cream: panna cotta, brownies.