Espresso, Cappuccino, or Latte? The differences between the most popular coffee drinks.

Andrew from Filter Coffee Parlor in Five Points South tells us about some of the differences between the most popular coffee drinks.

To an experienced coffee drinker, the difference between the three most popular coffee drinks might seem like night and day, but to an average person who only drinks coffee occasionally, it can be a little more difficult. I mean, espresso, cappuccino and latte’s are all made by mixing steamed milk, foam, and espresso! So what makes each unique?

The differences between coffee drinks

coffee drinks

While an expert coffee aficionado would scoff at the idea of someone being confused about the differences between the big three coffee drinks; espresso, cappuccin0 and latte, the average person visiting a coffee shop might have a harder time differentiating between the three.


coffee drinks

Typically an espresso is a strong, bitter and concentrated coffee. Espresso isn’t a specific type of roast but rather a method of preparing coffee. It is often blended from several roasts and is finely ground before it is tightly packed into a ‘portafilter’ before high-pressure water is forced through the grounds and extracted in small concentrated amounts called a ‘shot’. It is the very same coffee that is added into a cappuccino or latte, but when you order an espresso at a coffee shop you’re actually probably getting an espresso macchiato which is one or two shots of espresso topped with milk foam.


coffee drinks

A cappuccino can be a difficult drink to make and their defining feature is that their structure is split evenly into thirds. Cappuccinos are usually served in a 6oz cup and the ideal ratio is one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk and one-third foamed milk or ‘microfoam’. A good cappuccino will have low acidity and a rich and airy feel.



coffee drinks

The latte has been a breakfast staple in one form or another for centuries. Lattes are served in a larger 8oz cup and to make them have a more creamy texture a latte has a ratio of two shots of espresso mixed with five to six ounces of steamed milk. That mixture nearly fills the cup with only a thin layer of foam sitting on top. This thin layer of foam is where you see impressive designs artistically created by the best baristas.

Balancing act

coffee drinks

So the biggest difference between the three most popular coffee drinks all comes down to mixing the same three ingredients but in different ratios. A good barista will be able to achieve that perfect balance of milk, espresso and foam and have you sipping on something delicious and caffeinated in no time!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the coffee’s available at Filter Coffee Parlor.

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