Americano, Cappuccino and Latte are three popular Espresso based coffee drinks. While each of them has Espresso in common, they are different in taste, preparation and overall experience.
I am writing this guide to help you understand three important things for each of these drinks:
- Ingredients of an Americano vs a Cappuccino or Latte
- The strength and flavor of an Americano vs milk based drinks like a cappuccino or a latte
- and last but certainly not least, the caffeine and calorie content of an Americano compared to a cappuccino or latte.
Understanding these factors helps you decide which coffee drink is best to start your day with, which is better for a caffeine boost and which tastes stronger or sweeter.
Let’s get started!
What Is the Difference Between Cappuccino vs Latte and Americano?
Americano, Latte and Cappuccino are all Espresso based drinks. A single shot of espresso makes the main ingredient of all of them. The difference is:
- An Americano is made of a single shot of espresso and hot water.
- A Cappuccino is 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk and 1 part milk foam.
- A Latte is 1 part espresso, 2 or 3 parts milk and light foam.
Due to the difference in additions (hot water vs hot milk), you’ll get completely different tastes from each beverage.
Ingredients of Americano
When it comes to the ingredients of an Americano, it’s a straightforward drink that consists of just two ingredients – espresso and hot water. The drink is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, which dilutes the espresso and creates a longer, milder drink.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients of an Americano:
- Espresso: This is the base of the Americano, and it’s a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. The shot of espresso is typically one or two ounces, depending on the size of the drink.
- Hot Water: The second ingredient of an Americano is hot water, which is added to the espresso to create a longer, milder drink. The amount of hot water added to the espresso can vary, but it’s typically around six to eight ounces.
It’s worth noting that the quality of the espresso used in an Americano can greatly affect the taste of the drink. High-quality espresso made from freshly roasted beans will produce a richer, more flavorful Americano than lower-quality espresso.
In addition, the ratio of espresso to hot water can also affect the taste of the Americano. A higher ratio of espresso to water will result in a stronger, more intense flavor, while a lower ratio will produce a milder taste.
While traditionally, Americanos are made with a single shot of espresso, you can add additional shots to enhance the taste and increase the caffeine intake of your drink.
Ingredients of Cappuccino
Cappuccino is a classic Italian coffee drink that is enjoyed all over the world. It is made with three basic ingredients: espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Here is a breakdown of each ingredient:
– Espresso: It is the foundation of a cappuccino. It is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans under high pressure. The resulting shot of espresso is strong, bold, and full of flavor. The amount of espresso used in a cappuccino can vary, but it is typically one shot (1 ounce).
– Steamed milk is the second ingredient in a cappuccino. It is made by heating milk with steam from an espresso machine. The steam creates small bubbles in the milk, which give it a creamy texture and slightly sweet taste (which comes naturally from milk). The amount of steamed milk used in a cappuccino is usually equal to the amount of espresso (1 ounce).
– Milk foam is the final ingredient in a cappuccino. It is made by aerating milk with steam from an espresso machine. The steam creates large bubbles in the milk, which rise to the top and form a layer of foam. The foam is light and airy, and it has to be thick. The amount of foam used in a cappuccino is usually equal to the amount of steamed milk (1 ounce).
To make a cappuccino, the espresso is poured into a cup, followed by the steamed milk. The milk foam is then spooned on top of the drink. The result is a delicious coffee drink that is perfect for any time of day.
Ingredients of a Latte
If you’re a fan of creamy coffee drinks, then a latte might be your go-to beverage. A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk, and it’s topped with a light layer of frothy milk foam. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients you’ll need to make a latte:
– Espresso: The foundation of a latte is a shot of espresso. A standard latte contains one shot of espresso, but you can add more if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor.
– Milk: To make a latte, you’ll need milk that’s been steamed to the right temperature. What makes a latte different from a cappuccino is the milk texture.
– Light Foam: The final ingredient in a latte is foam. For a latte, the texture of the milk has to be creamier, and the foam level has to be light. The ratio of the milk has to be double the espresso, too.
This is a perfect coffee beverage for someone who enjoys a taller cup of coffee with more milk ratio than the coffee.
Americano vs Cappuccino vs Latte Taste
Is an Americano Sweeter or More Bitter than a Cappuccino or a Latte?
When it comes to taste, it will vary on many things like the kind of beans you use and the ratio of espresso. However, generally speaking, an Americano is more bitter than a Cappuccino or a Latte.
An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. This dilutes the espresso and reduces its bitterness, but it still retains some of its strong, robust flavor. The more water you add to the espresso, the weaker the coffee will taste, but it will also be less bitter.
On the other hand, a Cappuccino is made by combining espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The milk adds sweetness to the coffee and reduces its bitterness. The foam on top adds a creamy texture to the drink, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder coffee flavor.
Similarly, a Latte is made by combining espresso and steamed milk. The ratio of milk to coffee is higher in a Latte than in a Cappuccino, which makes it even milder and creamier. The milk in a Latte also adds sweetness to the coffee, which reduces its bitterness.
If you prefer a stronger, more bitter coffee flavor, an Americano might be the right choice for you. However, if you prefer a milder, creamier coffee with a touch of sweetness, a Cappuccino or a Latte may be more your style.
You can always alter the taste of your coffee drink by adding your choice of sweetener or flavors. Also, you can cut a bit of an Americano’s bitterness by adding milk or creamer to it.
Is an Americano Stronger than a Cappuccino or a Latte?
Coffee strength, here, refers to how strong your coffee beverage can taste. For caffeine content, refer to the next section.
In general, an Americano can be considered stronger than a cappuccino or a latte, even if you decide to add milk to it.
An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. This means that it has a bold, intense flavor that comes from the Espresso. Hot water does dilute the drink a bit, but all it does is break down the concentration of the espresso without taking a lot of its original strength.
Personally, an Americano is a drink that I enjoy waking up to. The kick of two shots of espresso with added hot water gives me a great boost to start the day! My recipe is two Nespresso OriginalLine pods of high intensity with about 4 oz of hot water. I use the Essenza Mini, which I bought way before the Essenza Plus came out, a Nespresso machine that was designed for Americanos.
On the other hand, a cappuccino and a latte are both made with espresso and milk. The difference lies in the amount of milk and foam used. A cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, while a latte has more steamed milk and less foam.
Because of the milk and foam, a cappuccino and a latte have a milder flavor than an Americano. However, the milk can also add a creamy sweetness to the drink that some people prefer.
Between a Cappuccino vs Latte, the Cappuccino has the stronger coffee flavor due to less milk being used. Latte has the least coffee flavor strength. This is provided that you use a single shot in each drink. If you want to increase the coffee flavor of either drink, all you have to do is add an additional shot of espresso. But do note that it will increase the caffeine content of your drink, too.
Cappuccino vs Latte vs Americano Caffeine
|Americano||63-126 mg per 8 oz.|
|Cappuccino||63-126 mg per 8 oz.|
|Latte||63-126 mg per 8 oz.|
Looking at the table above, did you immediately notice that an Americano, latte and cappuccino have the same caffeine content?
Yes! That’s not a mistake.
All of these drinks are made using the same main ingredient: a single shot of espresso which equals to 63mg of caffeine on average. So if you’re consuming an americano, a latte or a cappuccino made with a single shot of espresso… you are getting the same equal amount of caffeine (provided you’re using the same coffee ground for each drink).
Adding ingredients like hot water, milk, milk foam, sugar, flavors… none of these affect the caffeine content. It only affect the strength of the flavor (which is exactly why I wrote two different sections for strength vs flavors).
So, how do you control your caffeine content when it comes to Americano, cappuccino or latte? By adding espresso shots. The more shots you add, the more caffeine you have.
Americano vs Cappuccino vs Latte Calories
|Coffee Type||Calories per 8 oz|
|Americano||Less than 3|
When it comes to choosing between Americano, Cappuccino, and Latte, one of the factors to consider is the calorie count. If you are watching your calorie intake, it’s important to know how many calories are in each of these popular coffee drinks.
Here’s a breakdown of the approximate calorie count for each of these coffee drinks:
Calories in Americano
Americano, like most black coffees out there, virtually has no calories. A shot of espresso has less than 3 calories, so that’s what you’re getting in an americano. That’s if you keep it black. If you add in milk or creamer, then you’ll simply have to measure the calories for the amount you are adding. Otherwise, americano is a simple drink with little to no calories.
Calories in Cappuccino
A Cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The calories in a Cappuccino comes from the milk you use. Assuming that you are using whole milk, your cappuccino will have around 138 calories per 8 oz cup. Low fat milk is around 90 calories per 8 oz.
If you use milk alternatives, you can cut the calories tremendously: an 8 oz of almond milk will amount to 40 calories only, same for coconut milk. However, oat milk is just as high in calories as whole milk.
Calories in Latte
Just like a cappuccino, a latte’s calories comes from the milk used in it. And a latte’s ratio is higher in milk than a cappuccino, so it is higher in calories.
A 12-ounce cup of Latte contains approximately 220 calories.
As you can see, the calorie count for each of these coffee drinks varies. If you are looking for a low-calorie option, a black Americano is the way to go. However, if you prefer your coffee with milk and don’t mind the extra calories, Cappuccino or Latte might be a better option for you.
It’s important to note that the calorie count can vary depending on the size of the cup and the type of milk used. For example, using skim milk instead of whole milk can significantly reduce the calorie count of Cappuccino and Latte.
Another thing to keep in mind is added ingredients. If you add in sweetener, syrups or any additional ingredient to your americano, cappuccino or latte, you’ll have to count those calories in too.
Is a Latte the Same as Americano With Milk?
If you’re wondering whether a latte and an Americano with milk are the same, the answer is no. Although both drinks contain espresso and milk, they are prepared differently and have distinct flavor profiles.
|Latte||1 shot||Steamed milk||None||Frothed milk|
|Americano with Milk||1 shot||Steamed milk||Hot water||None|
A latte is made by combining a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a small layer of frothed milk on top. The ratio of milk to espresso is around 3:1, which results in a creamy and mild taste.
On the other hand, an Americano with milk is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso and then adding steamed milk. The ratio of espresso to water is usually 1:2, which results in a stronger coffee flavor than a latte. The addition of milk makes the drink creamier and smoother than a regular Americano.