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From Macchiatos to Lattes: A Guide to Milk-Based Espresso Drinks

Types of Milk-Based Espresso Drinks

When it comes to coffee, there are few things more satisfying than a strong espresso with a dash of steamed milk. But did you know that there are various milk-based espresso drinks to choose from?

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of milk-based espresso drinks you can get at your local coffee shop.


The macchiato (meaning “stained” or “marked” in Italian) is a small shot of espresso with a bit of foamed milk on top. This drink is perfect for those who like their coffee strong and bold.

There are different variations of macchiatos, including the zebra macchiato (half mocha, half white chocolate), marble mocha (mocha with white chocolate swirls), latte macchiato (more steamed milk than espresso), and cortado (equal parts espresso and milk).


The cappuccino is a classic coffeehouse beverage that consists of a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Its name comes from the Capuchin monks, who used to wear brown hoods that resembled the color of the drink.

The cappuccino originated in Italy and was introduced to Vienna in the 1700s. It wasn’t until the invention of the espresso machine in the early 1900s that the cappuccino became popular.

Some variations of the cappuccino include the dry cappuccino (more foam, less milk), wet cappuccino (more milk, less foam), and the addition of cocoa powder for a sweet touch.


The latte is a popular coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and a small amount of foam on top. The word “latte” comes from the Italian caff latte, which means “milk coffee.” In Europe, it’s called Milchkaffee, and in France, it’s known as a caf au lait.

The latte is the perfect drink for those who prefer a creamier, less intense coffee flavor. There are various latte recipes around the world, such as the Italian latte (lots of milk, a touch of foam), American latte (similar to the Italian latte, but often larger in size), French caf au lait (equal parts coffee and hot milk), and South African red latte (made with red espresso, a caffeine-free alternative to coffee).

The Difference Between


Latte, and


While cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos all contain espresso and milk, there are slight differences in taste, texture, and appearance.


Before we delve deeper into the differences between cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos, let’s talk about mochas. A mocha is a drink made with a shot of espresso, hot chocolate (or chocolate syrup), and steamed milk.

It’s a great option for those who want a sweet, chocolaty coffee drink. The word “mocha” comes from the Red Sea port of

Mocha, where some of the world’s finest coffee beans were once traded.

Latte vs


One of the main differences between lattes and cappuccinos is the ratio of milk to espresso.

Lattes contain more milk than cappuccinos, resulting in a creamier taste and texture.

Cappuccinos, on the other hand, have a stronger coffee flavor and a crisp texture due to the equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Some people also prefer to add an extra shot of espresso to their cappuccino for an extra punch of caffeine.

Macchiato vs


A macchiato is essentially a latte with a bit of steamed foam on top. It’s served in a glass instead of a mug, which allows the layers of espresso and milk to be visible.

The small amount of foam adds a creaminess to the drink, while the espresso provides a strong coffee flavor.

Lattes, on the other hand, have more milk and less foam, resulting in a creamier, less intense coffee flavor.

Macchiato vs


The main difference between macchiatos and cappuccinos is the amount of milk used.

Macchiatos have less milk than cappuccinos, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor and a creaminess from the steamed foam.

Cappuccinos, on the other hand, have equal amounts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, resulting in a crisp texture and a balanced coffee flavor. Healthier Option:

Latte vs


If you’re looking for a healthier option between lattes and cappuccinos, it’s important to consider the sugar and calorie content.

Lattes tend to have more sugar, especially if you opt for flavored syrups like caramel or vanilla.

Cappuccinos, on the other hand, contain less milk than lattes, resulting in fewer calories.

However, if you’re watching your dairy intake, keep in mind that both drinks contain milk. You can also opt for non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk or oat milk.

Milk Ratio in

Cappuccino or


Finally, it’s important to note that the milk ratio in your cappuccino or latte can vary based on your preference. Typically, a cappuccino is made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, while a latte contains more milk and less foam.

However, you can customize your drink by asking for whole milk, half-and-half, or skim milk, depending on your desired creaminess and fat content.


In summary, there are various types of milk-based espresso drinks to choose from, including the macchiato, cappuccino, and latte. Each drink has its own unique taste, texture, and appearance.

It’s important to consider the milk ratio and sugar content when choosing between a latte and cappuccino. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try new variations of these classic drinks or opt for a mocha for a touch of sweetness.

In conclusion, milk-based espresso drinks have a lot of variations that can appeal to different coffee lovers. This article stresses the importance of understanding the differences between popular beverages like the macchiato, cappuccino, and latte.

Understanding important points like the milk ratio, sugar content, and flavor profile can help you decide which beverage to choose. We hope that this article has provided valuable information to help you make an informed decision the next time you’re in a caf.

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