Barista Blog

Do you know your cap from your latte?

By Emily Braybrooke

Do you really know the difference between your favourite caffeine based beverages?

If not, let us help with our handy guide to what makes a latte, a cappuccino and a flat white.


  • The Cappuccino: Let’s start from the bottom. The first portion of a cappuccino is made up of the espresso. For a regular size, (usually a six to eight ounce cup) this is typically one shot.
    The next stage is the pouring of the steamed milk over the shot of espresso. This should fill a third of the cup. The cappuccino is then topped off with the final third being thick, smooth milk froth. Oh, and of course the chocolate dusting.

    Photo credit: Gail. Taken from Flickr.
  • The Latte: The question that I get asked a lot as a barista is ‘what is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte?’ A lot of people believe it is just the cocoa powder, or the fact that a latte often comes in a taller glass, rather than a cup.
    Some people prefer to make their lattes by pouring the milk first, and then adding the espresso last. If you do it this way, pouring the espresso over a teaspoon helps to create layers.
    Personally, I prefer pouring the milk onto the espresso as this way you can create latte art by free pouring.
    Like a cappuccino, you will start with one shot of coffee. The milk for a latte should not be as frothy as the cap and should be poured from a greater height to begin with, in order for the milk to fall underneath the espresso. The latte is topped with a thin layer of foam.flat-white
  • The Flat White: “Isn’t that just a small latte?” No. The flat white is more than just a small latte.
    Unlike the other two drinks, a flat white begins with two shots of coffee rather than one and is served in a slightly smaller cup.
    Rather than thick foam, the milk that is free poured into a flat white should be smooth micro-foam. Unlike a latte, there should be no foam topping this drink.So now you know what makes up the three different coffees!
    Which is your beverage of choice?

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