The tradition of drinking coffee with milk is fairly recent because for a long time, coffee was consumed black, and only the Turks and Greeks added sugar. Milk and coffee probably had their first encounter in Europe, quite possibly in Paris. Milk was added as a neutralizer to counteract the bitter taste and acidity caused by a lack of knowledge of the correct brewing process or errors in cultivation or roasting. Today, these drinks represent la dolce vita, the Italian way of life. But what’s the difference between a cappuccino and a latte macchiato? Let’s take a detailed look at macchiato vs. cappuccino.
Latte Macchiato vs. Cappuccino: The Differences at a Glance
Visually, the two coffee specialties are easy to distinguish because cappuccino is served in a medium-sized cup and latte macchiato in a tall glass. The real difference between latte macchiato and cappuccino, however, lies in the way it is prepared.
For a cappuccino, the espresso is poured into a cup and then the foam is poured over it in one go. The hot milk mixes partially with the espresso and gives it its typical appearance.
For a latte macchiato, you start by pouring the milk and foam into a tall glass, and then you add the espresso. The espresso settles on top of the warm milk underneath the foam, creating the typical triple layer in the glass.
How to Prepare the Perfect Cappuccino
People often wonder how many shots of espresso are in a cappuccino, and traditionally, it should be one. However, 2 shots can also be used. In this case, the amount of espresso in the recipe below should be doubled.
To make a typical Italian cappuccino, the ratio of milk and espresso is vital. It should be ⅓ espresso, ⅓ of hot milk and ⅓ of foam, and therefore you need about 25 to 30 ml of espresso and 50 to 60 ml of milk.
Here's how to do it:
- Brew one shot (30 ml) of espresso.
- Now pour the cold milk into a milk jug and froth it using a milk frother of your choice or your portafilter machine.
- Then pour the espresso into a cup and slowly add the milk and the foam so that the crema of the espresso mixes with the milk.
How to Make the Best Espresso
Naturally, you require high-quality espresso for a really delicious cappuccino! At Coffee Annan, we recommend our 100% Arabica espresso beans, which have a distinct chocolate note rather than a fruity one. Our Canephora, which is 100% Robusta beans and produces a fantastic crema, can also be used for a cappuccino. It tastes full-bodied, with notes of nuts, chocolate, and a hint of dried fruit. Our House Blend tastes similar, consisting of 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta beans for an absolutely delicious brew!
Our specialized coffee grinders can be used to finely grind the beans so that you get the best consistency for a portafilter.
This is how you make a delicious espresso with a portafilter:
- Preheat the espresso machine and grind the coffee beans.
- Pour the coffee grounds into the portafilter and run your finger over the edge of the portafilter to distribute the coffee evenly.
- Use a tamper to press the grounds into the portafilter. This takes some practice until you find the right pressure.
- Rinse your espresso machine with hot water.
- Now insert the portafilter and start extracting. This takes about 26 to 32 seconds.
Of course, you can also make cappuccino with an automatic coffee maker, an espresso maker, or capsules, although it is advisable to look for an environmentally friendly option.
Superb Milk Foam for Your Cappuccino
For this popular drink, foam of a special consistency is required. This can be made with the hot water nozzle of the portafilter or fully automatic coffee machine; alternatively, you can use a milk frother or whisk.
When using the hot water nozzle, make sure that the nozzle stays below the surface of the milk while heating so that it does not splash. Continue to froth the milk until it has doubled in volume.
For cappuccino, the foam should not be too thick or contain air bubbles. Whole milk or semi-skimmed milk is ideal to give the foam the right consistency. If you briefly tap the container on a table after frothing, this will help the air bubbles escape.
Many fully automatic coffee makers have an integrated milk container that froths milk at the touch of a button and pours it directly onto the coffee. Please remember to always clean the milk nozzle, the hose, and the container thoroughly to ensure that there is no residue.
Professionally Made Latte Macchiato: A Good Start to the Day
Latte macchiato translates as “stained milk” because the milk content is significantly higher than the espresso content. Originally, this hot drink was intended for children. These days, it is especially popular with women, many of whom first skim off the foam with a long spoon, and then drink the mixture of espresso and hot milk with a straw. You'll need a tall glass, 150 to 200 ml of milk and 30 ml of espresso to make it.
- Heat two-thirds of the milk to 60 °C (140 °F).
- Now froth the remaining third until the foam is very firm.
- First pour the liquid milk into the glass.
- Add the solid foam on top.
- Prepare 30 ml of espresso.
- Now carefully pour the espresso into the center of the foam and wait until the three layers of color have formed.
It is important that the espresso has been freshly brewed so that it is hotter than the milk; otherwise you won’t get the three layers.
So, when it comes to latte macchiato vs. cappuccino, the main difference is the amount of milk because there is the same amount of espresso in both drinks.
If you use Coffee Annan beans for your espresso, you can be sure that you're getting sustainably grown coffee that is fairly traded and comes directly from the country of origin.
Latte macchiato can also be made with an automatic coffee maker, portafilter, capsules, or an espresso maker.
Making the Optimal Milk Foam
The milk foam, especially for a latte macchiato, is a real challenge for many, as the firm consistency is not easy to achieve. Here are a few tips on how to make the perfect foam:
- The fat content of the milk plays a major part! Ideally, it should be between 3.3 and 4 percent. It is also important that the milk is fresh and has the right temperature. In an automatic coffee maker it works best straight out of the refrigerator, but in a milk frother it should be at room temperature.
- When frothing, please take care that the milk doesn’t boil, as it requires a temperature between 60 and 70 °C (140 to 158 °F).
- When preparing milk with the nozzle of a portafilter or coffee maker, it’s critical to fill the container only two-thirds full of milk so that the nozzle can penetrate deeply enough.
The integrated milk container of a fully automatic coffee machine certainly comes in handy! At the touch of a button, you get a latte macchiato with exactly the right composition. However, you have to pay attention to keep your machine clean.
Calories Play a Big Part!
There's another important difference between latte macchiato and cappuccino: the calorie content! A cappuccino has about 50 calories, while a latte macchiato has about 130 calories! This is due to the milk content, as latte macchiato requires much more milk, and a higher fat content to boot. So, if you’re watching your weight, a cappuccino is the better choice for you.
Fun Facts About the Popular Coffee Specialties
To put it in a nutshell: latte macchiato is milk with coffee compared to cappuccino, which is coffee with milk. Both drinks contain the same amount of espresso and thus the same amount of caffeine. But the caffeine contained in the shot of espresso is dispersed in about 150 to 200 ml of milk in a latte macchiato, whereas it’s only about 60 ml in a cappuccino.
Germans usually drink their first coffee at home to wake up properly, while Italians tend to drink it in a café on their way to work. The Swiss and Italians prefer to drink espresso, the Spanish love their cortado, which is an espresso with just a tiny bit of warm milk. The French drink Café au lait in the morning and espresso for the rest of the day, while the Germans typically prefer an Americano or Cappuccino.
In Italy, caffè always means espresso and Italians hardly ever drink coffee from a paper cup. If they are in a hurry, they’ll drink it standing up in a café or at the bar, where it is even cheaper. Visitors will always be offered a coffee, but cappuccino and latte macchiato are only served at breakfast time; ordering one of these drinks after lunch is a big faux pas. As a general rule, coffee has priority over everything else in Italy: while you’re enjoying your brew, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep others waiting.
By the way: the name cappuccino derives from the robes worn by the Capuchin monks, as it has a similar color.
The Coffee Code: You Are What You Drink!
How do you like your coffee? This can provide an interesting insight into your preferences and personality. Psychologists have come to interesting conclusions in their observations, which go beyond the simple choice of latte macchiato vs. cappuccino:
- A preference for black coffee indicates a dynamic, very success-oriented, resourceful and active person.
- People who love café au lait are considered compassionate, optimistic, and emotional.
- If you like filter coffee with milk and sugar, this means that you are open-minded and like to be comfortable. A hectic life and lots of stress are not your thing.
- Espresso drinkers are loud, sexy, cool, hectic, go-getters and passionate coffee lovers.
- Latte macchiato drinkers are communicative, playful, friendly, nice, and they enjoy the pleasant things in life.
- Cappuccino drinkers like to cuddle. Their main attributes are that they are romantic, sensitive, sociable and crave harmony.
The Bottom Line
With regard to latte macchiato vs. cappuccino, the difference, apart from your lifestyle choices, is simply the amount of milk because the amount of espresso is the same. But what would these hot drinks be without the coffee? Just hot milk!
With our high quality and sustainably produced coffee from Coffee Annan, you can make excellent coffee drinks. Become part of the Roasting-at-Origin movement and give the producers of your coffee the appreciation they deserve.