Cappuccinos and lattes. They both have coffee, they both have milk, they both taste delicious. So what's the difference?
As it turns out, while cappuccinos and lattes may be made up of the same ingredients, they're in fact completely distinctive from one another, right from their origins all the way through to their composition and creation. So which is best? Well, that's a question only your palate can decide…
A Look Back
Unsure as to whether you're a cappuccino connoisseur or a latte lover? A brief glimpse into their respective pasts might help you make up your mind.
While most people assume that cappuccinos are Italian in origin, in fact, they were first conceived in Austria, as far back as the 19th century. Known as Kapuziner, and made up of coffee, cream, spices and sugar, this centuries-old beverage is the basis for our modern-day cappuccino and the foundation of the word itself. With a little help from the invention of the espresso machine in 1901 by Italy's own Luigi Bezzera, today the cappuccino is one of the world's most sought-after coffee drinks, thanks in no small part to its delicious addition of steamed milk and foam, and its popularisation by coffee chains such as Starbucks.
Originating from the Italian phrase, "caffelatte", literally meaning "milk coffee", the latte is as simple a drink as that - a combination of milk and coffee that has been enjoyed in various guises throughout Italy for centuries. However, while the traditional latte is firmly Italian in origin, the early days of the modern latte can be traced back to 1980s Seattle, alongside the growth of coffee chains themselves. Similar to a cappuccino, although created solely with espresso and steamed milk, the latte is a hugely popular choice amongst coffee aficionados worldwide, and in kitchens all across Italy.
Recipe for Success
So now you know a little more about the history of your favourite coffee and milk drink. But what really goes into a cappuccino or a latte, and what is it that makes them so distinctive from each other? Let's take a look.
Cappuccino: Espresso, steamed milk and foam - this is the trifecta of awesome that goes into making the perfect cappuccino. Ideally, cappuccinos should be 1/3 of each in order to strike just the right balance, but you can adjust yours according to your own personal taste. You may even find some cappuccinos flavoured with various spices, sugar, fruits or even protein for added interest - whatever you and your palate prefer is what you should order.
Latte: All you need is love, as the song goes, but all you need to make a latte is coffee and milk - and sometimes not even that. Unlike cappuccinos that are made with espresso, lattes can be made with any form of coffee, and even tea, mate, and matcha too. Simply combine one part tea or coffee with two parts steamed milk, top off with foam if needed, and voila - the perfect latte for easy, tasty drinking.
We don't know about you, but we're getting thirsty here, so it's time to find out exactly how to make each of these delicious drinks. Got your apron on? Then let's get to it!
Latte: For the perfect barista-style cappuccino, you'll need a steaming pitcher and an espresso machine with a steaming wand. Remember that the ideal cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam, so bear this in mind when assembling yours.Cappuccino For the perfect barista-style cappuccino, you'll need a steaming pitcher and an espresso machine with a steaming wand. Remember that the ideal cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam, so bear this in mind when assembling yours.
1. Pour cold milk into your metal steaming pitcher until approximately one third full.
2. Release steam from the pitcher for a few seconds to remove any residual water.
3. Dip the end of the steaming wand into the pitcher and start the jet. As the foam rises, lower the pitcher making sure to keep the tip submerged and tilted.
4. Continue steaming until the milk reaches 65 degrees and its volume doubles.
5. Tap the base of the pitcher on the counter to compress the foam.
6. In a cappuccino cup, prepare an espresso using your espresso machine.
7. Pour the foamed milk into the cup beginning at the centre and then continuing in a circular motion toward the rim of the mug. Add a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder and enjoy!
Don't have an espresso machine? Don't worry? You can make just as tasty a latte at home with strong coffee, milk, a jar, a spoon and a cup. Here's how:
1. Make your strongly brewed coffee or espresso.
2. Pour your milk into your jar, filling it halfway.
3. Shake the jar as hard as you can until the milk has doubled in volume.
4. Microwave the milk for approximately 30 seconds, or until the foam begins to rise to the top.
5. Pour the warmed milk into your coffee or espresso, and top it off with foam to taste.
Ready to get started? Then don't let us stop you! Practice makes perfect so make sure you have plenty of coffee and milk handy, and plenty of guests to enjoy the results of your efforts. And as to who wins the ultimate Battle of the Brews? Well, that's up to you. Happy tasting!