Is Coffee Latte Similar to Cappuccino?

espresso-based drinks. The major differences lie in how both of these drinks are made.

The coffee latte was made popular in North America, particularly in the United States.

Latte is an Italian word that means milk. Therefore, if you walk into an espresso bar in Italy, if you order a cup of latte, you might just get, quite literally, a cup of milk!

This espresso-based drink did not gain as much popularity as cappuccino in Italy, since the major ingredient in a cup of latte is not espresso, but milk.


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In cappuccino, we start with an equal volume of milk and espresso. The milk is then frothed using a steam wand, which turns it into microfoam, which is twice the volume of the original milk.

This microfoam is formed by forcing hot air through the densely packed protein molecules in the milk.

Therefore, when making cappuccino, it is ideal to use milk that has a higher amount of protein. So in this case, skim milk is good to use since it has higher protein content than other types of milk, such as whole milk. This microfoam is then poured on top of the espresso.

If the espresso is poured on top of the microfoam, then it is no longer called a cappuccino, but a latte macchiato.

In coffee latte, we start with milk that has twice the volume of espresso. The milk is not frothed, but heated with a steam wand while using a different technique.

Some amounts of microfoam may form, but since the goal is not to create microfoam, any type of milk will do.

Therefore, the end result of the heating process is hot milk with a small amount of microfoam.

The hot milk and espresso are poured together into a cup. The microfoam that has formed during the milk heating process will be poured on top of the drink.

The microfoam can be poured artistically to form elaborate designs on top of the latte. In fact, skilled baristas are known to make latte art by using different ways of pouring the microfoam on top of the latte.

People often make the mistake of calling a coffee latte a cappuccino and vice versa.

To be quite fair, for an ordinary person, who has no knowledge of how these drinks are prepared, to see two different espresso-based drinks that have a top layer of microfoam and sprinkled with powdered cinnamon and shaved chocolate will often make the assumption that both are the same.



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OCM was started in 2007, focusing first on coffee machines, then marketing for coffee and food and beverage companies. Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

OCM has also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of the modules are running in the Singapore Skillsfuture Classes in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes. 

For the readers (coffee lovers), we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners). 

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