Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato — What’s the Difference?

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By: Tom Valenti


You can be a coffee aficionado and still find it a bit difficult to appreciate the differences that exist between popular caffeine-infused beverages such as cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. Each drink has a different caffeine level, nutritional value, and set of ingredients. This begs one of the most frequently asked questions – Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato – what’s the difference?

For all three beverages, espresso is used – now that’s a similarity. So a cappuccino has espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. A latte includes espresso and just steamed milk (no milk foam). And a macchiato is only espresso and a splash of milk (no steamed milk and no milk foam either). But how much espresso is added to each drink is what differs.

Cappuccino, latte, and macchiato have all come from Italy, and that’s another thing they share in common. Now let’s get into the details and differences!

Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato – What’s the Difference?

How They’re Prepared

EspressoOther IngredientsTexture/Taste/Flavor
Cappuccino1 espresso shot (1/3)Steamed milk (1/3)
Milk foam (1/3)
Smooth, creamy, and rich texture.
Latte1 espresso shotSteamed milk
Light foam layer (optional)
Sugar or sweetener (optional)
Slightly sweet and more mild flavor.
Macchiato1 espresso shotSmall splash of milkMuch stronger taste.

Key Takeaway

A cappuccino contains equal parts of everything, with steamed milk plus milk foam of course. A latte is made by pouring steamed milk into a cup of espresso. And a macchiato is entirely different in that it has only espresso with just a splash of milk.

How Much Caffeine Do They Have

Size of DrinkCaffeine Content
Cappuccino16-ounce (475 ml – medium)173 mg per serving
Latte16-ounce (475 ml – medium)173 mg per serving
Macchiato2-ounce (60 ml)A little over 85 mg per serving

Key Takeaway

If cappuccino, latte, and macchiato were triplets, cappuccino and latte would have more in common since both beverages are packed with the same level of caffeine. While macchiato is the odd one out with only half the amount of caffeine.

What Is Their Nutritional Value

No. of CaloriesProteinCarbsTotal Fats
Latte (16-ounce)206 calories13 grams20.5 grams8 grams
Cappuccino (16-ounce)130 calories8 grams13 grams5 grams
Macchiato (2-ounce)13 calories0.7 grams1.6 grams0.5 grams

Key Takeaway

The amount of milk in all three coffee beverages varies – cappuccinos have steamed milk and milk foam, lattes have only steamed milk, and macchiatos have only a splash of milk.

Furthermore, what type of milk is used also has an influence on the nutritional profile of each drink. Plus, if you include sugar or any other sweeteners.

A latte is a high-calorie beverage in comparison to its low-calorie, low-fat sibling – the macchiato. As for a cappuccino, it’s somewhere in the middle with a decent serving of calories, protein, carbs, and fats.

Cappuccino, Latte, or Macchiato – Which One to Choose?

Getting confused about whether to drink a cappuccino, latte, or macchiato is only natural. But there is one right choice for you based on what you like and your preferences.

For a more well-rounded and balanced flavor, nothing beats a cappuccino.

For more milk and less coffee, a latte is the best option. Plus, there’s that Instagram-worthy latte art too!

For stronger coffee, on the other hand, a macchiato is sure to quench those cravings. If you’re fond of classic Americano coffee, you’re most likely to also develop an inkling for a macchiato.

Also, on a hot summer day, these same drinks can be had iced as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Stronger, Cappuccino or Latte?

Latte contains more milk than cappuccino, which means the latte is stronger than the former. But you can easily add two espresso shots, instead of just one, in both beverages to make them stronger.

What Is Stronger, Cappuccino or Macchiato?

Macchiato is made using only a splash of milk whereas cappuccino is prepared with steamed milk plus it includes milk froth. By that logic, a macchiato is stronger in comparison to a cappuccino.

What Is Stronger, Latte or Macchiato?

Lattes consist of espresso and a greater amount of milk (steamed milk to be more precise). This is why a latte would not be as strong as a macchiato, which includes just a splash of milk with espresso.

Cappuccino, Latte, or Macchiato, Which Is Sweeter?

A latte contains the highest ratio of milk, which makes it comparatively sweeter than a macchiato or even a cappuccino.

It’s important to note here that all three beverages, traditionally speaking, are served sweetened. On top of that, if you would like to add more sugar to make your coffee drink sweeter, you can easily do so.


All three drinks are made differently even though all three have espresso in them. The texture and flavors are not the same, which is why not all coffee drinks like each one as equally as the other.

The level of caffeine and nutritional value vary in a cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. How they’re prepared is also different. And that’s the gist of it.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

1 thought on “Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato — What’s the Difference?”

  1. That’s like saying a pound of feathers weighs less than a pound of lead… Macchiato is not weaker than a latte if they have the same amount of shots in them, duh


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