Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha, and Macchiato: Differences Explained

Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha, and Macchiato are all popular espresso-based coffee beverages, differing in their preparation, ingredients, and taste profiles. This article discusses all of these beverages in detail to help you master their differences once and for all. But first, here’s a quick rundown of their features.

Latte Vs Macchiato Vs Cappuccino Vs Mocha: Comparison Chart

Composition1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, a small amount of foam1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/6 cocoa powder or chocolate syrup, 1/6 foam1 shot of espresso with a small dollop of milk foam
Flavor ProfileMild, creamy, with a subtle coffee tasteBalanced, with equal parts coffee, milk, and foamChocolatey, rich, with a subtle coffee tasteStrong espresso flavor with a hint of milkiness
StrengthMild to medium, depending on the espresso shotMediumMild to medium, depending on the espresso shotStrong, due to its concentrated espresso content
FoamThin layer of milk foamThick, velvety layer of milk foamThin layer of milk foamSmall dollop of milk foam
Topping OptionsOptional: cocoa powder, cinnamon, whipped cream, or flavored syrupOptional: cocoa powder, cinnamon, or chocolate shavingsOften topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolateNone, typically
OriginItaly, inspired by the French café au laitItalyCombination of Italian espresso and American hot chocolateItaly
Cup SizeUsually 8-16 oz (240-480 ml)Typically 5-6 oz (150-180 ml)Varies, but usually 8-12 oz (240-360 ml)2-3 oz (60-90 ml)
Calories12 calories per oz10 calories per oz30 calories per oz30 calories per oz
Caffeine per serving128 mg173 mg152 mg85 mg

Please note that these descriptions are general guidelines, and individual cafes may have their unique variations or preparation methods.

Latte Vs Macchiato Vs Cappuccino Vs Mocha: Difference Explained


A latte is the most popular Italian coffee drink. It’s known for its creamy, smooth texture and mild coffee flavor. The word “latte” comes from the Italian term “caffè latte,” which means “milk coffee.” 

  • A latte typically comprises:
  • One-third espresso
  • Two-thirds steamed milk
  • Thin layer of milk foam on top. 

The espresso provides the coffee flavor and caffeine content, while the steamed milk creates a smooth, velvety texture. The foam on top adds a light, airy mouthfeel and a visually appealing finish to the drink.

Lattes can be customized with various toppings and flavorings, such as whipped cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or flavored syrups, to suit individual tastes. Additionally, lattes can be made with alternative milk options, like soy, almond, or oat milk, for those who prefer non-dairy options or have dietary restrictions.

Lattes are typically served in larger cups compared to other espresso-based beverages, such as cappuccinos or macchiatos, and range from 8 to 16 ounces (240 to 480 milliliters). 

Because of  the higher milk content and lower espresso ratio, lattes are milder in taste and less concentrated than other espresso drinks, making them a popular choice for those who enjoy a more subtle coffee flavor.


Cappuccino is another most loved Italian coffee drink. 

It’s typically made

  • Espresso
  • Steamed milk
  • A layer of frothed milk on top. 

The name “cappuccino” comes from the Capuchin friars, a religious order that wore brown hoods that resemble the color of the drink.

To make a cappuccino, a shot of espresso is pulled into a small cup, followed by a layer of steamed milk. The steamed milk is typically heated to around 150-160°F (65-70°C) and creates a creamy texture. 

A layer of frothed milk is then added to the top of the drink. This frothed milk is created by aerating the milk with a steam wand to create a light, airy foam.

The ratio of espresso to steamed milk to frothed milk can vary depending on personal preference and regional traditions. In Italy, for example, cappuccinos are typically smaller and served in the morning, while in the United States, they are often larger and enjoyed throughout the day.

Overall, cappuccino is a classic and beloved coffee drink that is enjoyed by many people around the world.


Unlike the previous two types of coffee drinks, Mocha roots back to Yemen’s city “mokha.”

It’s a type of coffee beverage that combines espresso with chocolate. 

To make a mocha, a shot of espresso is first brewed and then combined with steamed milk and chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. The ratio of this combination is 1:3.

The resulting drink is rich, creamy, and has a chocolate flavor that compliments the boldness of the espresso.

The amount of chocolate used in a mocha can vary depending on personal preference and regional traditions. Some variations include white chocolate mochas, dark chocolate mochas, and peppermint mochas.

Mochas are often served topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for added indulgence. They can be enjoyed hot or iced, and are a popular menu item at coffee shops around the world.

Overall, mocha is a delicious coffee beverage that is perfect for those who love the combination of coffee and chocolate.


The word “macchiato” is Italian for “stained” or “marked,” and refers to the small amount of milk that is added to the espresso to create a layered effect. This drink is typically served in a small demitasse cup, which helps to highlight the rich flavor of the espresso.

To make a macchiato, a shot of espresso is pulled and then a small amount of steamed milk is added to the top. The milk is not frothed, and is simply used to “stain” the espresso. The ratio of espresso to milk is typically around 4:1, which means that the drink is very strong and has a bold flavor.

A traditional macchiato is usually consumed as a morning or midday pick-me-up. It’s perfect for those who want a strong, rich coffee that is not too sweet. 

It’s a great choice for espresso lovers who want to try something a little different, and is often seen as a more sophisticated option than a regular espresso shot.

You can find several variations of the macchiato, such as:

  • The latte macchiato, made with steamed milk and a shot of espresso
  • The caramel macchiato, made with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, foam, and a shot of espresso, topped with caramel sauce

However, a traditional macchiato remains a classic and beloved coffee drink that is enjoyed by many around the world.

In a Nutshell

Latte is a milky coffee made with espresso and steamed milk, often served with a small amount of foam on top.

Cappuccino is also made with espresso, but has equal parts steamed milk and foam, creating a drier texture than a latte.

Mocha is made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate, resulting in a sweet and creamy flavor.

Macchiato is an espresso-based drink with a small amount of foam on top and a dollop of steamed milk, creating a bolder and stronger taste than a latte or cappuccino.

Overall, the main differences between these drinks lie in the ratios and types of ingredients used, as well as the texture and flavor profiles they create.




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