Cappuccino vs Espresso: The Difference Explained

3 min

The world of coffee is full of surprises and sometimes can be confusing for most. Iconic drinks such as espresso and Cappuccino are a crowd-favourite. The must-know of these two classic drinks is vital for every coffee lover, and today, we’ll demystify the secrets and indulge with their unique profiles.

These two drinks have their unique texture, taste, and finishes. One can quickly figure out what an espresso is and what’s in a cappuccino when you know their common similarities and differences. Sometimes, your brewing machine, coffee beans, and method of preparation can significantly affect the results of these classic drinks.

Whether you own the latest and top-rated espresso machine sitting at your kitchen countertops, it’s vital to know that espresso is plain coffee, no embellishments. Unlike Cappuccino, which uses espresso as its base and adds a froth or steam milk to build that creamy texture. Espresso features the most delicate layers of aroma and flavour.

While some coffee connoisseurs believe that adding milk to an espresso drink can destroy it’s natural coffee taste, it’s still a matter of preference and opinion from various individuals.

This article will help you understand the unique and beautiful differences of espresso over Cappuccino. Whether you’re thinking about “what’s the best espresso device”, or “what is the best cappuccino machine to purchase”, it’s essential to understand their similarities and respect the differences. Using the right machine can help you achieve the best tasting espresso shots, which also is vital for cappuccinos.

What’s The Difference Between Espresso and Cappuccino?

At first look, there’s nothing similar to espresso or cappuccino drinks as both offer unique taste, smell, or texture. Espresso is a pure coffee that has this distinctive light brown or darker color. It is traditionally served in small cups or glass and offers you a short drink alone.

On the other hand, Cappuccino offers an opposite experience. First, it’s served in large cups and has layers of frothed or steamed milk, plus it has that silkier creamy texture. So there’s nothing similar in these two iconic coffee profiles.

What’s an Espresso?

Using an excellent quality espresso machine, you can pull out a glamorous creamy and great-tasting espresso drink which traditionally runs for about 27 seconds on the device. Going slow or fast affects the pure coffee taste, timing is essential for espresso shots.

Besides traditional espresso shots that are typically about 1 ounce, espresso comes in three types, lungo, doppio, and ristretto. Lungo and doppio are double size regular espresso (2oz). Ristretto, on the other hand, is smaller, about 0.7 ounce, but offers a more concentrated taste as it uses half of the water amount compared to other espresso shots.

Preparation is also a significant factor for every espresso type. Choosing the best coffee beans to grind and the roast is the road to perfection. Generally, medium or dark roast is the best.

What’s In A Cappuccino?

Cappuccino varies per individual preference; it can be dry, bone-dry, or wet. Every cappuccino type defines the ratio of espresso and milk present into your drinks. Classic Cappuccino or ‘wet’ has the same milk and espresso content, that is, 1ounce of espresso and 1 ounce of frothed or steamed milk.

If you prefer dry Cappuccino, then it must contain less froth or steamed milk. Bone-dry Cappuccino features milk froth or foam alone on the top of your espresso. The espresso taste is more pronounced with a bone-dry cappuccino.

Espresso and cappuccino difference in a nutshell:

  • Espresso is made of pure coffee while Cappuccino accommodates milk.
  • Cappuccino has espresso base with latte art.
  • Espresso shots come in small cups while Cappuccino is served in large mugs.

Which One To Select: Espresso or Cappuccino?

Choosing between Cappuccino and espresso is pretty straightforward when you know your preference. Both drinks offer the same caffeine content. Since Cappuccino is espresso-based with added milk on top, they have the same caffeine content, only with a different taste, texture, or finished.

For quick drinks, espresso is an excellent choice. It’ll be ready fast, and you can drink it in just a minute or less. If you’re into the milder taste, then Cappuccino is your best choice. With the milk that adds creamy, silky texture and taste, it’s a must-try for every coffee aficionados.


Whether you go for an espresso or Cappuccino, each classic drink has it’s unique profile suitable for individual preference, style, and demand. While espresso is the base to almost any coffee drinks, Cappuccino is a crowd-favourite with the silky and creamy texture it offers. So when someone asks you the difference and similarities of these two iconic drinks, you’ll quickly identify which is which.

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