What is Cappuccino Coffee?

So what is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino, in short, is a very popular Italian drink that is served hot and features espresso as the coffee component of choice. But espresso is only a part of what you’ll find in this beverage. You’ll also find plenty of milk in what’s called ‘microfoam.’ Let’s back up here and give you the breakdown.

Cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 milk foam. Generally, it’s served in 6-ounce servings, which means it’s one shot of espresso with equal amounts of steamed milk and milk foam. What that means is it’s easy to increase the size of your cappuccino whenever you want because you just even out all the ingredients.

Of course, if you want to really upgrade your drink you could choose to add cream or you could add different types of syrups and spices to get a totally unique flavor profile.

Difference between Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino, and Latte?

With so many different types of coffee-based drinks out there it can be difficult to keep them all straight, but we’re going to try and make it a little simpler by breaking down four of the basic coffee drinks and what makes them different from one another.

Coffee – When you hear the term ‘coffee’ you probably think of it as a catchall term for just about any caffeinated beverage that isn’t soda or tea. Well, that’s how the term is used a lot but ‘coffee’ is made with coffee beans and roasted in hot water before the grounds are strained out or the water is passed through the grounds to get the coffee.

Espresso – Now, espresso can be made with coffee beans, but it’s generally made with espresso beans, which are slightly different. No matter what type of beans it’s made with it is ground very fine and then compressed into a very dense block or ‘puck’ and then water is pushed through the grounds very hard and fast to get even more pressure than you would get with a cup of coffee. This ‘extracts’ the flavor in a matter of only seconds rather than a cup of coffee which can take several minutes to brew. This results in a stronger flavor profile.

Cappuccino – Next up, cappuccino, which is made with espresso as the base, so it has a bit stronger flavor, then coffee would to start. Then you add your steamed milk and milk foam to get the cappuccino flavor. The milk products make the drink a little creamier and take away some of the bitterness that can come from the espresso itself. What makes this drink more unique is the fact that the milk is ‘frothed’ to get a larger volume out of it (and a creamier texture).

Latte – Now, a latte starts out very similar to cappuccino because it also uses espresso as the base for a strong flavor. Then it uses double the amount of milk as espresso which is heated and then poured together into a cup with the espresso. You’ll generally have a little microfoam left in the cup from using the steam wand to heat up the milk, this is poured on the top. And then you have a latte.

Cappuccino vs. Regular Coffee

Okay, so now you’re considering whether you really want a cappuccino or a standard coffee. What’s the difference? Well, the first difference is that coffee is made with coffee beans the way we’ve discussed above and cappuccino is actually made with espresso. That means the base flavor of the cappuccino is stronger than that of a coffee beverage.

The Basics

Cappuccino is based in Italy and it uses a 1:1 structure for all three of the ingredients, which was actually quite standard back in the 1940’s. Also, this drink is generally served in a glass rather than a standard cup because this allows the layering to really make an impact.

Coffee, on the other hand, is brewed in a drip machine and does not require any additional elements except to match your flavor preference. Some people choose to add milk, cream, sugar, or other elements to get a slightly milder flavor to the drink. In general, however, it’s made with water and coffee grounds.

Milk and Foam

In a cappuccino milk and foam are essential parts of the drink. If you don’t get steamed milk and milk foam then you just have a cup of espresso, which is fine, but not the same drink at all. Also, the milk products should be equal in quantity to the espresso and they should all be layered one over the other.

With a standard cup of coffee, however, you’re going to have no milk or cream or any other dairy (or non-dairy) products unless you add them yourself. Milk is not a component of coffee unless it’s for your preference.


The grounds for coffee and cappuccino are different as well. This is primarily because coffee is made with coffee beans, which are generally ground coarse so they don’t pass through the filter when brewing a cup of coffee with a standard coffee machine.

Cappuccino, on the other hand, is made with espresso beans, which are ground very fine so they pack firmly together and so you get that stronger flavor profile from the espresso itself.

When to Drink It

If you’re not sure when to drink your beverage don’t be too concerned. You can actually drink it whenever you want and both coffee and cappuccino are consumed throughout the day by many people. However, cappuccino is generally served at breakfast time rather than around any meals or later in the day.

Coffee, on the other hand, tends to be an anytime drink that people will enjoy early in the day, later in the day, or anytime in between.

Health Factors

Overall, coffee has about 2 calories for 8 ounces if you don’t add anything to it. Cappuccino has about 110 calories in a 6-ounce cup, which is primarily because of the milk ingredients as espresso also does not have many calories.

You can choose different milk products for your drink, however, and this will help you decrease the calorie count on that cappuccino.

How Could the Cappuccino Evolve?

So, is there more to come for the cappuccino? It’s entirely possible. In fact, some are calling for ore specificity when creating a cappuccino to ensure that it is exactly what someone is looking for. And that seems to have a good backing. Professional competitions have even changed the way that they label the cappuccino.

What does all of this mean? It means that there will always be new ways to brew a cappuccino and new ways that people enjoy them. So, it’s up to everyone to make their own decision about what they prefer.

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