If you are eager to know all the nooks and crannies of caffeinated beverage specials or turn yourself into a cafe connoisseur, then diving into cappuccino vs. latte vs. mocha is a good way to start!
Even if you are not a newbie home barista or a casual you are unlikely to mix up the beverages we’re going to talk about here today, cappuccino, latte, and mocha.
Before, diving into the differences between the cappuccino, latte, and mocha debate we feel obliged to explain the foundation of these tasty drinks. You need espresso to make all of them. It’s a commonality among all 3 of them. So, we’re going to talk about espresso first. Further down the article, the cappuccino vs. mocha vs. latte discussion will underline the key differences between them. Furthermore, you will find their construction formulas and some bonus information.
- The Foundation: Espresso
- Cappuccino VS. Latte VS. Mocha: Major Differences
- Summing Up
The Foundation: Espresso
What’s An Espresso?
Most coffee drinkers as well as non-coffee drinkers have heard of the word espresso. But few of them actually don’t know the exact differences between coffee and espresso. We don’t blame them honestly. Walk into any coffee shop, and you’ll see that some coffee drinkers ordering a straight espresso, while others asking for a shot of espresso. So, let’s clarify the first and foremost issue — yes, espresso is a type of coffee drink. But it’s different from regular, orthodox coffee for one main reason — its method of preparation.
The science of crafting coffee is truly remarkable. The espresso revolutionized the way the world brews, drinks, and studies coffee. Espresso dates way back to 19th century Italy – with the invention of the 1st official espresso in 1884. Eventually, newer and better espresso machines made their way into the United States around the 1920s. Slowly, popularity continued to grow around the world.
You can purchase separate beans for making espresso only. With such beans, it follows its own specific method. You need to almost finely ground dark roasted beans. Highly pressurized hot water is forced over the coffee grounds then. In fact, the word “espresso” in Italian means “pressed out“. The resulting drink is a highly concentrated one. It will have a highly caffeinated and rich, robust flavor. You can drink espresso straight. Or, multiply it with a double shot. More alternatively, give a normal cup of coffee a boost of caffeine by adding some espresso shots (i.e., Red Eye, Black Eye, and Dead Eye).
Espresso is one of the most versatile variants of the coffee world. So, it’s of no surprise that you’ll see it listed on every coffee shop’s menu. Even if you’ve never drunk an espresso solely, you might have had a caffeinated beverage that’s made with an espresso. Cappuccino, latte, and mocha are all espresso-based drinks.
Cappuccino is a pure classic espresso-based drink from Italy. It’s known for its frothy milk foam on top. Lovers of coffee art often purchase a cup of cappuccino to appreciate the milk foam and the most elaborate designs swirled on top of it. It’s also a common practice to add a fine dusting of cinnamon or chocolate powder to it.
A cappuccino cup consists of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 of milk foam.
Cappuccino is known for being a milky beverage. But the espresso doesn’t go unnoticed. However, those who love more milk than coffee, appreciate the mouthfeel and flavor of this drink. The milk foam section of a cappuccino can either be dry or velvety.
Please note that the dry foam, or “bone-dry” milk foam, has more volume and consists of big, airy bubbles. This is polar to a micro-foam. Micro-foam has tiny unnoticeable bubbles.
Latte — also known as Caffe Latte is an Italian phrase that means “milk coffee”. It is all about having a silky, smooth micro-foam caffeinated beverage.
The texture of the foam on top of a latte is crucial. It is what gives a caffe latte drink its unique mouthfeel and look. This is a bit more distinguishable than a latte macchiato. Because macchiato tends to be more espresso dominant. A latte also has a bit of an aesthetic flair. Lattes are well renowned for having latte art of carefully swirled foam on top of them. But do not mix it up with cappuccino or macchiato, as long as it has the following ratio of milk to coffee, it can definitely be called a latte.
Latte consists of a double shot of espresso, 6 – 8 ounces of steamed milk, and a layer of 1 cm thick milk foam on top. A standard ratio measurement looks like this – 1/6 espresso, 4/6 steamed milk, 1/6 foamed milk.
Lattes came from Europe where it’s a breakfast-time popular drink still to this day. The French “café au lait” is another similar drink. Lattes gained popularity in the United States around the mid-1900s.
Also called Caffe Mocha and Mochaccino, the mocha is a chocolate lover’s joy!
This drink blends espresso with hot milk and chocolate. It is a variant of the latte. But the addition of dark, white, or milk chocolate to the drink is essential. Some cafes do have their own ganache for their mochas. Others use chocolate syrup or even break up chunks of chocolate and then add them to the drink. You will find some mocha drinks served with foam or whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top also. Some even like to add marshmallows on top of their mocha.
The approximate ratio for mocha is 2/5 espresso, 2/5 chocolate, and 1/5 steamed milk.
Coffee and chocolate have been a favored blend for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. Each enhances the flavor of the other. This is why many confectionary recipes use both chocolate and coffee.
Cappuccino VS. Latte VS. Mocha: Major Differences
First off let’s summarize brief definitions before diving into the cappuccino vs. latte vs. mocha talks.
Cappuccino is more of a traditional espresso-based drink. That is why it has 3 equal layers in it. The presence of milk does not overpower the coffee flavor.
You can say that a latte is a milk-based drink that has a little coffee in it. Latte is a drink perfect for those who do not desire the full-strength coffee hit.
Mocha is a strong coffee with a chocolate flavor topped off with a thin layer of steamed milk. The dark chocolatey undertones of a mocha provide a stronger coffee experience.
Cappuccino VS. Latte
- Cappuccino originated from Italy and the latte is American-born
- Cappuccino’s foam can be bone-dry which cannot be said about the latte
- Cappuccino contains less textured or steamed milk. Latte contains more textured or steamed milk
- Cappuccino is served in a glass on a saucer. Traditionally with a napkin on the side too. Latte is served in porcelain cups. As it has better heat retention properties
Cappuccino VS. Mocha
- If you are in love with orthodox drinks then a cappuccino is the best bet. This is an admirably classical drink that feels light with a rich espresso tone underneath it. On the contrary, Mocha is a variant of a latte drink and offers a more combinational advantage
- Cappuccino is all about sticking to originality and measurement. You’ll have a unique taste of milk and coffee where the milk cannot overpower the presence of espresso. Mocha is a sweet drink that will let you appreciate the robustness of an espresso accompanied by perfectly balanced chocolaty notes
- It is a bonus to have little shavings of cinnamon or chocolate on top of a cappuccino. For a cup of mocha, a chocolate syrup layer, or a few squares of chocolate is part of the original recipe
- Popular cappuccino variants are Iced, Wet, Dry, and Flavored. Mocha variants are Sambuca, Baileys Cognac, Cream, Metaxa, and coffee liqueur
Latte VS. Mocha
- The primary differentiator between latte and mocha is the attendance of chocolate in the mocha
- A latte adds in steamed milk mostly. It gets topped off with frothed milk. Additionally, sugary syrups can be added. A mocha layer from the bottom starts with espresso, chocolate, and frothed milk. The espresso and chocolate ratio remains the same
- Latte variants are known to have liquor in them. Sambuca, Cognac, and Metaxa are some examples of such. The mocha is denser and more decadent because of the chocolate. Substitutes of chocolates are syrup, cocoa, etc. Sometimes whipped cream works as a substitute instead of foam as a garnish, making it more like a dessert than a cup of coffee
- With the absence of sweetness in it, many consumers appreciate latte over mocha as an “any time of the day” type of drink. Generally, this lack of sweetness made this a low-calorie and lighter beverage. Alternatively, mocha is a decadent and sweet coffee drink. One must admit that indulging in a cup of mocha every now and then, as a dessert is pretty acceptable
- Latte is a tremendous “pick-me-up” type of drink. Meanwhile, a cup of mocha is better enjoyed after a lengthy day. Because, when you sit down and enjoy one, it brings you the feeling of truly treating yourself.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of choice in this latte vs. cappuccino vs. mocha debate. All 3 of them allow various customization, may it be with the ratio or the type of flavorings and toppings you desire.
Is Cappuccino Stronger Than Latte?
Cappuccinos have half the amount of steamed milk compared to lattes. But the same quantity of espresso. So, obviously, this construction ratio makes cappuccino quite a bit stronger compared to a latte. Cappuccinos come out always smooth as the milk and espresso combine well. Yet you can still get much of the natural flavors of the coffee. Lattes, on the other hand, are mellower and better suited when a cup of warm milk sounds perfect.
Which Is Sweeter Cappuccino Or Latte?
When you steam the milk, its natural sweetness comes alive. Because of the higher ratio of milk to espresso, a cup of latte will taste sweeter compared to a cup of cappuccino. It’s important to note that, neither of these 2 beverages is traditionally served to a customer sweetened. So the amount of sugar or similar element you add to the coffee bar is simply up to you.
Is Mocha Stronger Than Latte?
Mocha coffee beans already have a natural chocolate undertone. In order to amplify the chocolaty notes, baristas add a small amount of chocolate into the mocha cup. Where latte is traditionally considered to be the mildest, lightest coffee-based drink. Mocha is way stronger. Mocha coffee, in fact, is usually stronger than a cappuccino.
What’s The Healthiest Coffee Drink?
Flat white, Latte, and Cappuccino are in that order the 3 healthiest coffee drinks.
Now that you’re enlightened with the information you’re probably asking yourself which one you’ll pick next time you visit your favorite cafe. It’s helpful to focus on 3 key factors: the milk foam quantity, the degree of robust taste of your espresso, and the time of your drink.
If you prefer no foam or less textured milk foam on your coffee, then go for a cup of latte. If you love your coffee strong, then mocha is your best bet among these 3.
Also if you like flavored coffee then you can’t go wrong with a chocolaty mocha. If you are health conscious or like to drink tasty coffee any time of the day, a cappuccino is your best bet. Because cappuccino has a low-calorie count and thus can be consumed any time of the day.
Cappuccinos, mochas, and lattes are popular among many coffee outlets all over the world. We wish your coffee intake experience will be more relaxing and less awkward as a result of this latte vs cappuccino vs mocha article.
Enjoy Your Coffee!