Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato


When it comes to coffee, there are numerous options available, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. Cappuccino, Latte, and Macchiato are three popular choices that often confuse coffee enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the differences between these three beverages, helping you make an informed decision the next time you visit a coffee shop.


Cappuccino is a classic Italian coffee drink that consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It is known for its distinct layers, with the espresso at the bottom, followed by the steamed milk, and topped with a thick layer of foam. The foam helps to insulate the drink, keeping it warm for longer periods.


  • 1 shot of espresso
  • Equal parts steamed milk
  • Milk foam


To prepare a Cappuccino, start by pulling a shot of espresso. Then, steam an equal amount of milk until it reaches a creamy consistency. Pour the steamed milk over the espresso, holding back the foam with a spoon. Finally, spoon the foam on top of the drink, creating a thick layer.


Latte, short for caffè Latte, is a popular coffee beverage that originated in Italy. It is made with espresso and a larger amount of steamed milk, resulting in a smoother and creamier texture compared to Cappuccino. Unlike Cappuccino, Latte has a thin layer of foam on top.


  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 2 parts steamed milk
  • A thin layer of milk foam


To make a Latte, start by pulling a shot of espresso. Steam the milk until it becomes velvety and pour it over the espresso, leaving a thin layer of foam on top. The higher milk-to-espresso ratio gives Latte a milder coffee flavor, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a less intense taste.


Macchiato, meaning “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, is a coffee drink that combines espresso and a small amount of milk. It is known for its strong and bold flavor, with the milk serving as a subtle addition to the espresso. Macchiato is often enjoyed as a quick pick-me-up due to its concentrated nature.


  • 1 shot of espresso
  • A small amount of steamed milk


To prepare a Macchiato, pull a shot of espresso and steam a small amount of milk. Pour the milk over the espresso, creating a “stain” or “spot” on the surface. The milk adds a touch of sweetness and smoothness to the strong espresso, resulting in a balanced and flavorful drink.



Cappuccino has a balanced flavor profile, with the richness of espresso complemented by the creaminess of steamed milk and the lightness of foam. Latte, on the other hand, has a milder taste due to the higher milk-to-espresso ratio. Macchiato is the strongest of the three, with the espresso taking center stage and the milk providing a subtle touch.


Cappuccino has a velvety texture, thanks to the combination of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Latte has a smoother and creamier texture due to the larger amount of steamed milk. Macchiato has a lighter texture, with the espresso dominating and the small amount of milk adding a slight creaminess.

Serving Size

Cappuccino is typically served in a smaller cup, ranging from 150 to 180 milliliters. Latte is served in a larger cup, usually around 240 to 360 milliliters, allowing for more milk and a longer drinking experience. Macchiato is served in a small cup, similar to an espresso shot, with a volume of around 30 to 60 milliliters.


Understanding the differences between Cappuccino, Latte, and Macchiato can enhance your coffee-drinking experience. Whether you prefer a balanced and layered drink like Cappuccino, a smoother and creamier option like Latte, or a strong and concentrated beverage like Macchiato, knowing the nuances of each can help you make an informed choice. So, the next time you step into a coffee shop, you can confidently order the coffee that suits your taste preferences.

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