Cappuccino vs Cortado vs Latte

by Anne Franklin 5 min read

Cappuccino vs Cortado vs Latte

The beauty of the coffee world is that there is so much variety that anyone can find something for themselves. Whether you prefer your beverage to have flavored coffee as a base or want to go more classic with an espresso-based drink, there are plenty of possibilities as far as coffee goes.

Cappuccino, cortado, and latte are a few of the more popular options where espresso is one of the elements that make up the drink - but how do they differ from each other? That’s what we will be exploring in this article. 

Cappuccino vs Cortado vs Latte – What Are They?  

Cappuccino, cortado, and latte are all espresso-based drinks with milk. The difference between them lies in the amount of milk used, as well as how that milk is prepared. 



Cortado is a coffee drink originating from Spain, made from equal parts espresso and hot milk (steamed, not frothed). Cortados are usually served in four-ounce espresso glasses. 

It is typically made with a double shot of espresso, and that’s how you’re most likely going to get it served in a cafe - however, you can also use a single shot. The milk is there to cut down the espresso’s acidity while not affecting the strength of the drink too much - that’s actually where the name comes from, as “cortar” means “cut” in English. 

When it comes to how it tastes, cortado is known for its smooth texture, with a little bit of sweetness that balances the boldness and bitterness of espresso. 



A latte drink is made with espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. The typical proportions of this drink are one part of espresso and three parts of milk, with an addition of a milk foam layer on top. If you’re not the biggest fan of espresso’s bitter taste, then this drink might be worth giving a try. Because of the high contrast between the amount of coffee and milk, it tastes creamier, and the bitterness is not as noticeable. 

How much coffee goes into a latte drink? Well, that all depends on your preference. Generally speaking, you should use anywhere from 1 to 3 shots of espresso in your drink.

Lattes are usually served in tall glasses, with a capacity between 11 and 15 ounces. 




A cappuccino drink is another drink that originated in Italy, with its history traceable to as far as the 17th century. It ismade of espresso, steamed milk, and froth milk, all in equal proportions. You can opt for a single or a double shot, depending on how strong you want it to be. 

Since there’s more frothed milk compared to a latte, the taste of espresso is more noticeable, as less milk is used to dilute the coffee. 

Cappuccinos are typically served in cappuccino cups, which are typically about 5 to 6 ounces big. 

Cortado vs Cappuccino vs Latte - The Differences 

Now that you know what those drinks are, it’s easy to tell at least a few differences between them. 

Preparation and Ingredients

First of all, they differ in the amount of milk, as well as how it is prepared. While cortado only contains steamed milk, both latte and cappuccino contain frothed milk, although in different measurements. In cappuccinos, frothed milk makes up about ⅓ of the drink, while in lattes, it’s just a thin layer on top. 

Then, there’s also the preparation method of the whole drink and the level of difficulty. Preparing a cortado is pretty straightforward - you prepare the espresso and milk and combine them. One difficulty here is thatyou need to steam the milk properly, as otherwise the drink might not taste as good. When it comes to lattes and cappuccinos, the matter is slightly more complicated, as aside from steaming the milk, you also have to prepare the milk foam. If you prepare it incorrectly, the foam won’t hold. 


Now, what about the taste? Well, because of the equal parts of milk and espresso, cortado’s flavor is balanced - the espresso is noticeable, but it doesn’t overpower the overall taste of the drink. Latte has a creamy taste and is the weakest of the three, while the cappuccino is in between the two, as the use of just a thin layer of milk foam allows the espresso to shine through without being too strong. 


As far as calories go, it’s hard to say precisely. However, in general, cortado would have fewer calories than latte and cappuccino simply because it’s the smallest one of the three. However, things like milk choice can affect the overall calorie count. 

Serving Size

Finally, we have the serving size. As mentioned, a latte is served in the biggest glass out of the three drinks, with a capacity of 11 to 15 oz. Then, we have the cappuccino in cups that can hold about 5 to 6 oz of coffee beverage, with cortado being the smallest one, typically served in small 4 oz glasses. 

Cortado vs Latte vs Cappuccino - An Overview 

Here is a short overview of the characteristics of the different types of espresso-based drinks. 










Espresso, steamed milk

Espresso, steamed milk, frothed milk

Espresso, steamed milk, frothed milk



1:3 (+ a layer of milk foam)


Serving size 

4 oz

11 - 15 oz

5 - 6 oz

Taste and intensity

Balanced but strong

Creamy and mild

Distinct flavor, intensity in-between






What is a cortado vs cappuccino difference? 

As mentioned, when it comes to cortado coffee vs cappuccino, it all comes down to how they’re made - cortado coffee is made of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, while cappuccino is made of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. 

What is the difference between cortado and latte? 

Their main difference is intensity. While cortado has equal parts of espresso and milk, in a latte, the ratio is one part espresso to three part milk. 

Macchiato vs cortado vs latte - what’s the difference? 

You already know the difference between cortado and latte, but how about “macchiato”? How does it differ from the two? 

“Macchiato” means “stained” in Italian, which is the perfect word to describe this beverage. Contrary to cortado, where there’s an equal amount of milk and espresso, and latte, where milk makes up the majority of the drink, macchiato has a small amount to “stain” the espresso. 

The Bottom Line 

And there they are - the differences between a cappuccino, a latte, and a cortado. As you can see, in the end, since they’re all espresso-based drinks, the differences can all be attributed to the amount and type of milk used. 

This depends on how you like your coffee. If you want it to be lighter and for the espresso to blend within the drink rather than stand out, then a latte will be your best option, with cappuccino right behind. On the other hand, if you prefer your coffee to be stronger, then cortado will be more suitable for you. 

Whichever drink you choose, at Angelino’s Coffee, we have everything you need to make it taste so good you’ll want to make it again as soon as you finish. Take a look atour collection of espresso coffee pods and see for yourself! 




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