Walking into almost any coffee shop these days means being confronted with a whole new vocabulary. Words like doppio, venti, affogato and breve are a part of that secret coffee language that can be so confusing. One of the choices on the menu is between a mocha latte or a mocha cappuccino, you know you like chocolate, but what is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino? And which do you really want?
Both drinks are espresso based. They are made using shots of espresso and milk. The difference between the two is the proportions of espresso to milk. And choosing between the two is going to come down to two easy choices.
A latte is made by using approximately one-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk. The espresso is poured into the cup first and the milk on top, usually leaving a very thin layer of foam on top, approximately a quarter inch thick.
A cappuccino is also made using one-third espresso but uses one-third steamed milk as well. The remaining one-third of the drink is the milk foam. Just like a latte, the espresso is poured into the cup, then the milk, followed by a generous amount of foam. A cappuccino can be adjusted to taste, being made “wet” or “dry.”
A wet cappuccino has less milk foam and more milk. A dry cappuccino has more milk foam and less milk. This will help suit your specific tastes.
The things that you must decide when choosing between are, how strong do you want your espresso-based drink, and do you enjoy milk foam on your drink? The cappuccino is going to be a stronger drink, having a larger espresso to milk ratio. The cappuccino is also going to provide you with milk foam.
If a cappuccino is more your style, experiment with the milk foam. A wet cappuccino is going to be weaker drink than a dry cappuccino, again, the ratio of espresso to milk is a major factor. If you enjoy having that frothy milk foam and enjoy a strong cup of coffee, a dry cappuccino may be for you.
The language of coffee may be confusing and intimidating, but don’t let it keep your from entering that coffee shop and ordering a delightful treat. Understanding the difference between some of the drinks on the menu will help you make a decision better suited to your individual tastes. Know your drink, make it your own, and enjoy.