What is the Difference Between a Cappuccino, Latte, and Macchiato?

What is the Difference Between a Cappuccino, Latte, and Macchiato?

When you step into any coffee shop, whether you’re in the bustling streets of Melbourne or the quiet suburbs of Perth, you’ll likely find a menu boasting an array of espresso-based drinks, with cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos among the most popular. 

While they may sound similar, each of these beverages has distinct characteristics that cater to various palates and preferences. For anyone interested in coffee, understanding these differences is not just about getting your order right; it’s about appreciating the art and science that goes into each cup. 

This guide aims to elucidate the unique attributes of these beverages, ideal for those searching for coffee machine equipment suppliers in Australia who want to perfect their home or commercial coffee offerings.

The Basics of Espresso-Based Drinks

At the heart of a cappuccino, latte, and macchiato is espresso, the foundation upon which these drinks are built. Espresso is a concentrated coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans. 

The quality of the espresso can significantly influence the overall taste of any coffee drink, making the choice of coffee machine and grinder crucial for any aspiring barista or café owner.

What Makes a Cappuccino

A traditional cappuccino is a delightfully frothy concoction typically made up of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. This balanced triad makes the cappuccino beloved for its creamy texture and robust coffee flavor, enhanced by the lightness of the foam. 

In Australia, a cappuccino often comes sprinkled with a touch of chocolate powder, adding an extra layer of flavor to the rich coffee.

The Silky Smooth Latte

The latte, or café latte, is famous for its smooth and creamy texture, which comes from a larger proportion of steamed milk to espresso. A standard latte might consist of one part espresso to three parts steamed milk, topped with a small amount of milk foam. 

This results in a milder coffee flavor compared to a cappuccino, making lattes a popular choice for those who prefer less intensity.

The Bold Macchiato

Macchiato, meaning "stained" or "spotted" in Italian, is traditionally a shot of espresso "stained" with just a dollop of foamed milk on top. The drink is starkly different from its latte and cappuccino counterparts due to its strong espresso flavor punctuated only slightly by the sweetness of the foam. 

Over time, variations like the latte macchiato have emerged, which are milk-based and marked with espresso, offering a softer flavor profile.

Milk Frothing Techniques

The technique and equipment used to froth the milk can greatly affect the texture and temperature of the final drink. 

For a cappuccino, the milk is frothed to create a thick and airy foam, while for a latte, the milk is steamed to a smoother consistency with only a light layer of froth. Proper frothing not only affects the taste but also the presentation of the drink.

Art of Layering

The visual appeal of these drinks often lies in the layering. Cappuccinos are served with a distinct layer of milk and a thicker layer of foam, while lattes show a gradual transition from milk to coffee, topped with a small amount of foam. 

The macchiato, with its minimalistic approach, showcases a stark contrast between the dark espresso and the spot of milk.

Serving and Presentation

How these drinks are served can also differ. Cappuccinos are typically served in smaller, thicker cups that retain heat, whereas lattes are often presented in taller glasses or larger cups that showcase their creamy layers. 

Macchiatos, being the smallest of the three, are usually served in espresso-sized cups.

Customisation and Variations

In modern cafés, particularly those catering to a diverse clientele, variations and customization options abound. Customers can choose different types of milk, such as soy, almond, or oat milk, and may add flavorings like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut. 

Each addition modifies the fundamental character of the coffee, allowing for personalized experiences.

Coffee Machine and Grinder Importance

The choice of coffee machine and grinder is vital in creating these drinks. A high-quality machine that maintains consistent pressure and temperature is essential for extracting the perfect espresso. 

Likewise, a grinder that provides a consistent grind size is crucial for achieving the right flavor and crema.

Choosing the Right Coffee Machine Equipment Supplier

For anyone in Australia looking to either enter the café industry or upgrade their coffee-making equipment, choosing the right coffee machine equipment supplier is crucial. 

Suppliers like Dolo Coffee Supplies not only offer a range of top-quality machines and grinders but also provide expertise and support to help you select the right equipment for your specific needs.

Final Thoughts 

Understanding the nuances between cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos allows coffee enthusiasts and café owners alike to better appreciate and craft each drink. 

For those looking to elevate their coffee experience or ensure their café offers the best in coffee craftsmanship, investing in quality equipment from a reputable supplier is key.

If you're in Australia and on the hunt for superior coffee equipment, Dolo Coffee Supplies is your go-to source. We provide a wide array of machines and tools designed to perfect your coffee brewing process, ensuring every cup you serve is exceptional.  

Please give us a call at +61 7 5576 2459 to learn more about our products or leave an enquiry or shop below.
Back to blog