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latte vs coffee with milk

Latte vs Coffee with Milk: No, they’re not the same

Coffee Drinks Comparisons May 14, 2023

If you enjoy milk based coffee drinks, you already know what a Latte is. And you’re also familiar with a cup of coffee that has milk added to it. These are classic coffee drinks that have been around since forever.

The real question is, is a Latte the same as coffee with milk?

No, they are not the same. The only similarity is that both have milk in them. But they’re different in preparation, taste and in caffeine and calorie content.

In this guide, I will explain the difference between a latte vs coffee with milk, the caffeine content, preparation and which you should try first.

Latte vs Coffee with Milk – What’s the Difference?

DrinkCoffee Content
LatteEspresso + Steamed Milk + Foam
Coffee with MilkBrewed Coffee + Milk

The main difference between a Latte vs Coffee with milk is the type of coffee used and the milk to coffee ratio:

  • A Latte is an Espresso based coffee drink. It has 1 or 2 shots of espresso, steamed milk and a thin layer of foam.
  • Coffee with milk is simply brewed coffee, made in a drip coffee maker, french press or any brewing tool, with a splash of milk added to it.

Espresso and Brewed coffee are totally different in taste, which means, a Latte is different to coffee with milk.

Is latte just coffee with milk?

This is a common question I see regarding coffee with milk vs latte. Latte is seemingly just coffee with milk, so are they just the same?

No, coffee with milk and latte are not the same. Each is prepared differently and has different milk ratios.

Does the word “latte” just mean with milk?

In Italian, the word Latte means milk. But when Cafe Latte got popular around the world, people started referring to the coffee drink simply as Latte.

In Italy, Espresso is the default coffee. They do not drink filtered coffee. So asking for coffee will simply get you a shot of espresso. Therefor, Cafe Latte does mean coffee with milk, but that’s just in Italy where this coffee drink originated.

In the rest of the world, where there are several types of coffees (espresso or filtered) if you want an Italian Cafe Latte, you have to say ‘Latte’ and not Coffee with milk will get you a cup of filtered coffee + splash of milk.

What’s in a Latte?

latte vs coffee with milk

Let’s break down the ingredients of a regular cup of Latte

1- The first ingredient in a latte is espresso. Espresso is a concentrated coffee that’s made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It’s the base of the latte and provides the drink with its strong, rich flavor.

2- The second ingredient in a latte is steamed milk. Milk is added to the espresso to create a creamy, smooth texture. The type of milk used can vary, but most lattes are made with whole milk. For a latte, the milk has to be steamed using an espresso machine’s steam wand, this is what gives it it creamy and luscious texture that every latte lover enjoys so much.

3- The final ingredient in a latte is foam. Foam is created by steaming milk and adding air to it. The foam is then added to the top of the latte to create a frothy layer. The foam is an essential part of a latte, as it adds to the overall texture and taste of the drink. However, ideally, a latte has a thin layer of foam only. That’s one of the differences between a latte vs cappuccino, the foam density.

What’s in Coffee with Milk

coffee with milk vs latte

This classic drink is a staple in many coffee shops and homes around the world. But what exactly is in coffee with milk?

Coffee with milk is a simple beverage made by adding milk to a cup of coffee. The type of milk used can vary, but most people prefer to use whole milk for its creamy texture and rich flavor. Some people also like to use alternative milk options such as almond, soy, or oat milk for a dairy-free option.

When it comes to the coffee itself, there are many different types and roasts to choose from. Some people prefer a light roast for a milder flavor, while others opt for a dark roast for a bolder taste.

The ratio of coffee to milk can also vary depending on personal preference. Some people like a stronger coffee flavor and add just a splash of milk, while others prefer a creamier taste and add more milk. Most people will add an ounce or less of milk to their 8 oz of black coffee.

Coffee with milk is not a specialty coffee drink. While you can get it anywhere on the go, it’s popular drink to make at home using whatever brewing method available to you. Unlike a latte that requires a special machine (espresso machine) to be made.

Latte vs Coffee with Milk Taste

When it comes to taste, lattes and coffee with milk have some key differences.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Flavor: Lattes have a creamy, smooth flavor thanks to the steamed milk and microfoam added to the espresso. Coffee with milk, on the other hand, has a more straightforward taste that still allows the coffee’s natural flavor to come through.
  • Sweetness: Lattes can be sweetened with syrups or sugar, but even without added sweetness, the milk in a latte can give it a naturally sweet taste. Coffee with milk can also be sweetened, but it may require more added sugar to achieve the desired level of sweetness.
  • Strength: Lattes are generally less strong than coffee with milk because the milk dilutes the espresso. If you’re looking for a stronger caffeine kick, coffee with milk might be the way to go.
  • Texture: Lattes have a smooth, velvety texture thanks to the steamed milk and microfoam. Coffee with milk can be a bit thinner in texture, even with the milk added, because it won’t be steamed like it is in a latte.

Is Latte Stronger Than Coffee?

When it comes to taste and caffeine content, coffee with milk has a stronger coffee flavor and more caffeine than a latte.

To prepare a cup of coffee with milk, you are brewing 8 oz of coffee then adding milk to your liking, most of the time, it’s less than an ounce. But of course, it always goes down to your personal taste.

A Latte, on the other hand, is made mostly of milk. If you want your Latte to taste of stronger coffee, ask for a double shot instead of a single one.

As for caffeine content, continue to the section below…

Latte vs Coffee with Milk – Milk Ratio

Does a Latte Have More Milk than Coffee with Milk?

Yes, traditionally, a latte has a higher milk ratio than coffee with milk.

A latte is typically made with 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a layer of foam. In comparison, coffee with milk can vary in the amount of milk added, depending on personal preference. But many people only add a splash of milk or even cream to a full cup of coffee.

If you prefer a stronger coffee taste, then coffee with milk may be the better choice for you. However, if you enjoy a creamier, smoother taste, then a latte may be more up your alley.

Latte vs Coffee – Which Has More Caffeine

When it comes to caffeine content, coffee is the clear winner.

A 12 oz cup of brewed coffee contains around 136mg of caffeine. As for a Latte, it can contain between 63mg to 126 mg of caffeine, depending on how many shots of espresso is in it.

Yes, espresso is actually lower in caffeine than brewed coffee.

I do have to remind you that these are just estimated numbers. Because caffeine is affected by the type of beans (Pure Arabica or Arabica/Robusta blend) or roast of the beans used (lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker ones).

If you’re looking for a caffeine boost, coffee is the better choice. But if you’re sensitive to caffeine or just want a milder pick-me-up, a latte might be a better option.

Latte vs Coffee with Milk Calories

When it comes to calorie count, regular coffee with milk is a better option than a latte.

A 12-ounce cup of coffee with 2 ounces of milk contains around 25 calories, while a 12-ounce latte made with whole milk contains around 180 calories.

However, if you swap whole milk for skim or almond milk, the calorie count of a latte can be reduced to around 100-120 calories.

If you are someone who watches their calorie intake, choosing coffee with milk over a latte can be a smart choice. But keep in mind that if you add sugar or flavored syrups to your coffee, the calorie count will increase. A teaspoon of sugar adds around 16 calories to your drink, while a tablespoon of flavored syrup can add up to 50 calories.

It is essential to remember that calorie count is not the only factor to consider when choosing between a latte and coffee with milk. Lattes are often more satisfying and filling than regular coffee due to the higher milk content. This can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce the likelihood of snacking between meals.

Between a Latte and Coffee with Milk, Which Is Easier to Make at Home?

When it comes to making a latte or coffee with milk at home, there are a few factors to consider.

Equipment Needed

Latte vs Coffee with Milk: No, they're not the same

To make a latte at home, you will need an espresso machine (like a Nespresso machine), a milk frother, and a pitcher for steaming milk. Alternatively, you can make a latte using a moka pot.

On the other hand, to make coffee with milk, you only need a coffee maker and a way to heat up milk, such as a microwave or stovetop.

Time and Effort

Making a latte at home requires more time and effort than making coffee with milk. You need to pull an espresso shot, steam and froth the milk, and then combine the two. Making coffee with milk, on the other hand, only requires brewing coffee and heating up milk.

Skill Level

Making a latte requires a certain level of skill and practice. You need to know how to pull a perfect shot of espresso, steam and froth milk to the right consistency, and combine the two in the right proportions. Although if you’re using a single-serve espresso machine, it is much easier. Making coffee with milk is much simpler and requires no special skills.


Latte vs Coffee with Milk: No, they're not the same

Espresso machines and milk frothers can be expensive, so making a latte at home can be more costly than making coffee with milk, but it’s less costly than buying them regularly from a cafe. Making brewed coffee requires a coffee maker of any kind, those are not expensive at all, especially manual tools like french press or pour over brewers.

Overall, making coffee with milk is easier and requires less equipment, time, and skill than making a latte. However, if you enjoy the process of making a latte and have the necessary equipment, it can be a fun and rewarding experience to make one at home.