Cappuccino vs Latte: What's the Difference?

iStock.com/creacart
iStock.com/creacart

Some people take their morning dose of caffeine any way they can get it. Others prefer drinks on the fancier side of the coffee shop menu, such as cappuccinos and lattes. Though these two drinks may look the same, and they even taste pretty similar, baristas and true coffee aficionados know there are some key differences between the two.

According to Chowhound, cappuccinos and lattes are made of the same set of components: espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. The distinction lies in the proportions of these components, which determine the mouth-feel and strength of the coffee flavor.

In a cappuccino, these three ingredients take up equal real estate in your cup. To make it, baristas layer one third espresso, one third milk, and one third foam. The drink, according to Dunkin', is "all about balance." Starbucks writes on its blog, "Trained to know when each drink has reached a specific weight, our baristas pass the test when the drink you hold in your hand is a perfect balance of light and airy foam and deeply delicious espresso."

In a latte (which is literally Italian for milk), the steamed milk takes center stage. Four-sixths of the drink is made of steamed milk, with one-sixth espresso and one-sixth foam, making for a light, creamy drink with a subdued coffee taste.

Most cafe drinks, including flat whites, macchiatos, and cortados, are made by combining two or more of the ingredients above. If you're not sure which beverage to order from your neighborhood coffee shop, give the cappuccino some love on November 8: National Cappuccino Day.

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Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus

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Why Did Noon Used to Mean 3 p.m.?

3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
Mckyartstudio/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re a late sleeper, you might find yourself thinking 12 p.m. seems way too early to be considered midday, and the word noon would much better describe, say, 3 p.m. It turns out that ancient Romans would have agreed with you, if only for etymological reasons.

As Reader’s Digest explains, the days in ancient Rome were split into four periods of three hours each. The first hour was at sunrise around 6 a.m.—called prime, for first—followed by 9 a.m. (terce, denoting the third hour), 12 p.m. (sext, for sixth), and 3 p.m. (none, for ninth).

According to Merriam-Webster, Middle and Old English borrowed the time-keeping tradition, along with the Latin word for ninth, which was changed to nōn and eventually noon. Though we’re not sure exactly when or why noon started referring to 12 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., it could have something to do with Christian prayer traditions. In the Bible, Jesus’s crucifixion is said to have taken place at the ninth hour, and that’s when worshippers partook in their second of three daily prayers; the others were in the morning and evening. It’s possible that hungry monks were behind noon’s gradual shift from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m.—since their daily fast didn’t end until after the midday prayer, they had a built-in motive for moving it earlier.

While we didn’t exactly stay true to the original Latin meaning of noon, there’s another important remnant of ancient Rome hiding in the way we tell time today. Romans referred to 12 p.m. as meridiem, for midday, and so do we. A.M. is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, or before midday, and P.M. means post meridiem, or after midday.

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