Cappuccino vs Espresso: which one is right for you?

Cappuccino vs espresso

Cappuccino vs Espresso are top-quality, highly consumed drinks worldwide. If you crave to get a pure flavor of ground coffee, espresso should be the priority drink. But if you want something smoother with milk, cappuccino should be your first choice. Well, the use of milk makes all the difference in coffee flavor.

When we talk about espresso, it is the base drink in almost every flavor. No other flavor has the same intensity and robustness. It adds a solid taste to every drink.

Also, even if you don’t like the bitter taste of espresso, you may still use it in other flavors. However, adding sugar or milk will make it smoother and tastier.

On the other hand, cappuccino is a relatively smoother drink. But it is still a balanced drink with steamed milk and espresso. A perfect espresso replacement if you get bored after consistent use and want a milder flavor drink.

Also, check the difference between cortado and cappuccino.

Anyone who is a coffee enthusiast should know espresso and cappuccino but may not know the precise dissimilarities between the two. It will be interesting to know all the differences in detail.

After reading this article you will get all the differences between cappuccino and espresso.

What is Espresso vs Cappuccino? what are the differences?

You can only complete a coffee discussion by mentioning espresso. No other flavor can compete with it, And cappuccino is another variation of espresso. But how a cappuccino is different from espresso?

Espresso vs cappuccino: What is the difference in Ingredients?

The first difference comes through the use of different ingredients; one uses only ground coffee and hot water, whereas the other adds steamed and foamed milk too.

You can only make a perfect coffee with the right ingredients. An espresso requires ground of higher quality to get the desired results.

Darkly roasted coffee beans with hot water will do the job while brewing espresso. And cappuccino with one espresso requires the same volume of milk.

Doppio is another interesting drink; check the difference between doppio and espresso.

Differences in brewing process

Espresso is the first thing to make in both drinks. While additionally, for cappuccino, foamed and steamed milk is prepared. Adding milk is the difference between both beverages. After brewing espresso, milk is steamed and added to the top.

A cup cappuccino

Use of milk

Milk is one of the integral parts of many coffee flavors. There are different types of milk that can be added to coffee.

  • Regular milk
  • Steamed milk
  • Foamed milk

Cappuccino adds steamed milk, whereas Espresso adds no milk. Adding milk to Espresso will not be called an espresso drink. Espresso with milk will become a cappuccino or latte, depending on the volume of milk.

Related topic.

Almond milk cappuccino: how to make it? A detailed guide

Difference in serving size

Every coffee flavor has its specific serving size. Changes in size during preparation can spoil the taste. You can not prepare a latte in an espresso cup. Similarly, cappuccino shouldn’t be prepared in an espresso-size cup.

An espresso always is prepared in a small serving size to get a highly concentrated, intense drink. In contrast, Cappuccino is made in double or even larger sizes than espresso.

So the standard espresso size is 2 oz size(60 ml), and the cappuccino has 6 oz size(180 ml).


The addition of steamed or foamed topping is quite unique to pure espresso or brewed coffee drinks.

Cappuccino is a good drink for a foamed topping, but if you don’t like foaming, you get topped with steamed milk. In fact, latte art can be applied at the top to get an aesthetic look.

A well-executed brewing process can create a unique crema at the top of the espresso. An espresso fan knows the importance of crema and how much difference it makes to the taste and appearance.

The thick crema is the whole mark of an espresso drink when you ask a regular consumer.

Also, check the difference between cold brew and espresso.

a cup of espresso topping with crema

Cappuccino vs Espresso: Battle between strong and smoother taste

When it comes to the taste of these coffee drinks, both have specific differences. One is bitter and solid and the other is milder and sweeter.

Espresso is a concentrated drink that always comes in a smaller size and has a robust bitter flavor.

You can’t expect it to get smoother since it usually prepares without added flavors. In contrast, a cappuccino uses more milk, making it milder, creamier, and sweeter.

So the use of milk makes all the difference in taste between two drinks.

What is the difference in Caffeine content?

The drink’s caffeine content depends on the type of beans used and the brewing method. Lightly roasted beans have less caffeine than darkly roasted coffee beans.

Both these drinks have a similar amount of caffeine. Because all the caffeine adds through espresso, and both drinks have one espresso shot.

One shot of Espresso comprises 68 gm of caffeine. So, both drinks have 68 gm of caffeine. However, the caffeine content will increase if a double espresso uses for a cappuccino.

Cappuccino vs espresso, a cup of cappuccino

Which drink has more Calories?

It is important to note that an espresso shot has almost five calories per shot. All the calories come from the milk sugar or added flavors. Since espresso has fewer calories, you can consume as many as you like.

Cappuccino drink has around 40 to 50 calories per drink. The calorie content depends on the type of milk used for the Cappuccino. Usually, whole milk or skimmed milk is used for a cappuccino.

Espresso vs cappuccino vs latte: How espresso and cappuccino are different from Latte?

Every flavor has some unique features that make it different from other drinks. What makes latte different from espresso and cappuccino is the volume of milk it adds.

It depends if you prefer a high volume of milk. The latte should be your ultimate choice, even though it adds espresso as its base.

Cappuccino and latte have milk as a key ingredient, but the volume of latte is higher than in cappuccino. If you love high-volume drinks, nothing is more perfect than a latte. Also, the latte has a uniqueness of latte art at the top.

But interestingly, both latte and cappuccino use espresso as the base drink. Espresso is perfect for those who don’t care about milk but only want a robust coffee flavor.

Another significant difference is the serving size of all the drinks. Latte led the way by having almost double the size of cappuccino and three times the size of espresso.

Cappuccino vs Espresso: Do they make in different variations?

Espresso and cappuccino both drinks have many variations. However, Espresso is the base drink for many drinks. Here is a list few well-known coffee drinks that adds espresso as the base.

  • Americano
  • Cappuccino
  • Flat white
  • Latte
  • Cortado

 Also, Espresso drink has a few popular variations.

  • Doppio espresso or double Espresso is prepared with two shots of Espresso.
  • Ristretto is the smallest drink of Espresso. It is made half the size of an espresso shot.
  • Macchiato is an espresso drink with milk foam at the top.

A cappuccino has Espresso as the base with milk. Dry and wet Cappuccino are two of its main variations.

espresso vs cappuccino
  • Dry Cappuccino prepares with an espresso shot and foamed milk. It contains no steamed milk, so it calls a dry cappuccino.
  • The wet Cappuccino comes with an espresso shot and steamed milk. It also has a thin layer of milk foam.
Which coffee beans are suitable for Espresso and Cappuccino?

Picking the right coffee beans is essential to get the best taste and aroma. Every coffee flavor has its taste and aroma. It largely depends on which coffee beans are used and how beans are roasted.

Espresso requires a specific type of coffee bean that can handle the high-pressure extraction process without losing its flavor or complexity.

Arabic coffee beans

Arabic coffee beans are mainly used for espresso. These beans have a mellow taste and low acidity. These coffee beans are highly consumed worldwide.

A better option to make milky drinks. Flavors like cappuccino, cortado, and latte can use these beans since these beans go well with milk.

Robusta coffee beans

It has a bitter, intense taste and is higher in caffeine than Arabic coffee beans. These beans are also used for espresso to get a strong flavor and more crema at the top.

Coffee enthusiasts who love pungent, bitter coffee always prefer robusta beans to brew espresso.

Espresso blends

A combination of arabica and robusta coffee beans to get a balanced espresso shot. Often espresso blends are used to make espresso when it is made to use as a base for other coffee flavors.

So espresso blend is a better option for Cappuccino. Also, mediumly roasted beans are an excellent choice for Cappuccino.

Dark roasted beans give a more robust coffee flavor. The dark roast also adds a smoky, slightly sweet taste that pairs well with the milk.

Do you know the cortado vs cappuccino?

What is Espresso, and how to brew it?

Espresso is perhaps the purest form of coffee. It prepares when boiling water passes through a fine ground of coffee. This process takes not more than 30 seconds.

Arabica coffee beans usually use in espresso. Also, espresso is a thick, concentrated drink, generally served in a 2 oz. Cup size. When it comes to taste, Espresso has a bold and bitter flavor.

An espresso coffee is usually made with an espresso machine, or you can use any manual method.


  • Ground coffee
  • water

Espresso Recipe

Follow these steps to make Espresso at home.

  1. First, finely grind darkly roasted coffee beans. Around 8 grams of coffee beans will be needed for a single cup of Espresso.
  2. Add coffee to the filter in the espresso machine.
  3. Turn the machine on and let the hot water pass through the ground coffee for 25 seconds.
  4. The coffee will start pouring into the cup.
  5. An excellently brewed espresso will create a layer of thick crema at the top.

A 2 oz. cup-size espresso is ready to drink.

a cup of espresso

What is Cappuccino, and how to make it?

The cappuccino includes an espresso shot, steamed milk, and foam. It is a creamier and sweeter coffee. If you are looking to brew strong coffee with the use of steamed milk, the cappuccino is the best option. It has more calories than espresso.

Cappuccino has 1/3 Espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk. Steamed and foamed milk makes it a creamer and tastier drink.

However, cappuccino coffee is a customizable drink. Two espresso shots add to make it a stronger coffee. Similarly, more steamed and foamed milk can be added to make it sweeter and creamier.

Making a cup of cappuccino is easy. A good espresso machine with a steam wand is enough to get an ideal cup of Cappuccino. There is bone-dry cappuccino check how to make it, and what is it?


  • One espresso shot
  • Milk


  1. In the first step, make steamed milk with a steam wand or with a saucepan.
  2. Now start Whipping the milk to get a milk foam.
  3. Make a cup of Espresso following the steps given above.
  4. Pour the Espresso into the cup.
  5. Slowly pour steamed milk into it.
  6. Milk foam at the top
  7. You can add sugar and chocolate powder.

The cappuccino cup is ready to drink.

Cappuccino vs Espresso: which drink is healthier?

It is essential to note that any coffee is healthier with fewer calories. Also, a good balance of caffeine makes coffee healthier. An espresso includes only five calories per cup. And it also comes with 68 gm of caffeine.

In contrast, a cup of Cappuccino with steamed and foamed milk has 50 calories. However, the caffeine content is the same in both drinks.

Therefore, espresso coffee is a healthier option. You can drink as many cups as you like per day. But should maintain a good balance of caffeine. Still, cappuccino is a good pick if you are not worried about the calorie intake.

Espresso vs Cappuccino: The better option for you?

If you want something creamier smoother, and sweeter, cappuccino is the best pick. On the other hand, Espresso has a strong and bitter flavor without sugar and milk.

If you don’t like strong coffee, don’t go for espresso.

Cappuccino is more of a balanced coffee with milk and sugar. So it is up to you to pick a drink according to your choice. You can choose any coffee depending on your personal like and dislike.

Related article.

Ristretto vs long shot: what are the differences?

Final thoughts

Well! here is a comparison of two great coffee flavors. Both have certain features that you cannot get in other flavors. You can’t pick one drink over the other as the better option. It purely depends on which flavor you prefer.

When you look to get a solid caffeinated coffee, there is nothing better than espresso or even doppio espresso (double shot espresso). It will give a fresh, rejuvenating taste any time of the day. However, if you are new to the coffee world, the bitter taste of espresso might be unbearable for you.

In that case, I would recommend adding some milk to the espresso for a smoother start. Cappuccino is the best option to accustom yourself to the coffee taste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an espresso with milk called?

When an espresso is added to milk, it is called a cappuccino or a latte. It depends on the amount added.

What is one-shot Espresso called?

One shot of Espresso is called a solo or single shot of Espresso.

Is cappuccino made with milk or water?

An ideal creamier and milder cappuccino is made with milk. When you only add water to Espresso, it will be called an Americano.

Cappuccino vs Espresso: which one is right for you?
Article Name
Cappuccino vs Espresso: which one is right for you?
espresso is the base drink in almost every flavor. No other flavor has the same intensity and robustness. It adds a solid taste to every drink. A cappuccino is a relatively smoother drink. But it is still a balanced drink with steamed milk and espresso
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my latte coffee
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