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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