cappuccino cups

Hey coffee lovers! Are you ready to compare three classic coffee drinks - frappuccino, cappuccino, and latte? In this in-depth comparison, we're breaking down the milk, espresso, and foam used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these three drinks. Get ready to discover which one will be your new go-to for a satisfying and delicious coffee experience!

Frappuccino vs Cappuccino vs Latte: Overview

Espresso-Based Drinks

Frappuccino, cappuccino, and latte are all popular beverages enjoyed by coffee lovers worldwide. These drinks have a common element - espresso - but they differ in the way they are prepared and the additional ingredients used.

Cappuccinos and lattes both contain espresso shots. A cappuccino features equal parts espresso, milk, and milk foam, while a latte has twice as much milk as espresso. On the other hand, not all Frappuccinos include coffee. A Frappuccino is typically a blended beverage with milk and ice, sometimes with added flavors or sweeteners.

Distinct Features

Each of these beverages has unique traits that make them stand out:

  • Cappuccino: This warm, comforting drink has a frothy milk foam top—a hallmark of the cappuccino—and an espresso to milk ratio of approximately 1:1.5. The milk foam in a cappuccino is thicker than in a latte and is visibly separable.

  • Latte: A latte has a 1:2 espresso to milk ratio and features both milk and milk foam. The foam in a latte is softer and milder, blending more seamlessly with the coffee and milk. Baristas often get creative with lattes, adding flavors or designing intricate art on the froth.

  • Frappuccino: This cold and refreshing drink is blended with ice, resulting in a slightly sweeter beverage with tiny ice chips in each sip. Frappuccinos generally have higher calorie and sugar counts compared to a cappuccino, as they often contain sugar and other sweeteners that overpower the espresso.

Common Coffee Shop Options

Many coffee shops offer a range of Frappuccino, cappuccino, and latte options to cater to customers' preferences. These can include:

  • Traditional flavors, such as caramel, vanilla, and mocha
  • Seasonal flavors, such as pumpkin spice, peppermint, and gingerbread
  • Dairy-free milk alternatives, such as almond, oat, and soy milk
  • Decaffeinated or caffeine-free options
  • Extra espresso shots for a stronger coffee flavor
  • Customizable drink sizes and levels of sweetness

In summary, while Frappuccino, cappuccino, and latte drinks all have a foundation in espresso, the way they are prepared and the additional ingredients used set them apart from one another. By understanding the unique features and common options available for these drinks, coffee lovers can better decide which beverage suits their tastes and preferences best.

Defining Each Coffee Drink

In order to better understand the differences between Frappuccino, Cappuccino, and Latte, let's explore the distinct aspects of each coffee drink.


A Cappuccino is a popular coffee drink that consists of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The cappuccino has a 1:1:1 ratio of these three elements—espresso, milk, and milk foam—giving it a well-balanced taste and texture. The espresso provides the caffeine kick, while the milk softens the flavor, and the foam on top adds a pleasant, velvety texture.

  • Espresso: foundation of the drink, providing strong coffee flavor and caffeine
  • Steamed milk: added to dilute the espresso, provide a creamy taste, and reduce bitterness
  • Milk foam: airy and light, provides a smooth finishing touch


A Latte, another popular coffee drink, also combines espresso and steamed milk, but its ratio differs significantly from that of a cappuccino. Lattes typically have a 1:3 or even 1:9 espresso to milk ratio, resulting in a creamier and more diluted coffee flavor. They are often garnished with latte art, where skilled baristas create intricate designs on the froth, adding visual appeal to the beverage.

  • Espresso: still the base of the latte, but less concentrated than in a cappuccino
  • Steamed milk: present in larger quantities, giving the latte a creamier texture and milder taste
  • Froth: a thinner layer compared to cappuccino, but still adds smoothness and can be used for latte art


The Frappuccino sets itself apart from both the cappuccino and the latte as a cold, blended beverage. It is made with coffee or espresso, milk, ice, and flavorings such as chocolate or vanilla. Frappuccinos are sweetened with syrup and often topped with whipped cream, making them more indulgent and dessert-like than other coffee drinks. Some Frappuccinos may not even contain coffee or espresso, depending solely on their other flavor components.

  • Coffee or espresso: can vary depending on the specific Frappuccino, or may even be absent
  • Milk: combined with coffee or espresso, and responsible for the creamy base of this cold beverage
  • Ice: blended into the drink, giving it a slushy-like texture and desirable cold temperature
  • Flavorings: can be added to complement or replace the coffee taste, lending variety and customization options

Preparing Each Beverage

Cappuccino Preparation

A cappuccino is a classic coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. To prepare a cappuccino, the barista begins by brewing a shot of espresso. The espresso's taste plays a crucial role in the overall flavor of the cappuccino. Next, the barista steams milk to create a smooth, velvety texture. The steamed milk is then poured over the espresso, followed by a thick layer of milk foam. Typically, a cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The cappuccino's temperature should be hot but comfortable to drink, and its consistency should be rich due to the milk foam.

Latte Preparation

Lattes are similar to cappuccinos in their use of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. However, lattes have a higher milk-to-espresso ratio, resulting in a milder coffee taste. To prepare a latte, the barista starts with a shot of espresso. Then, a larger amount of steamed milk is added, followed by a thin layer of milk foam. The temperature of a latte should be hot, and its consistency should be creamy due to the higher content of steamed milk. Latte preparation allows for more variations, such as adding flavored syrups or creating latte art with the milk foam.

Frappuccino Preparation

Frappuccinos are a cold and blended beverage, distinctly different from cappuccinos and lattes in their temperature and consistency. They can be made with regular roast coffee, espresso, or without any coffee at all. The primary similarity to cappuccinos and lattes is the high ratio of milk used in the preparation. To prepare a Frappuccino, the barista begins with a base of ice, milk, and a choice of coffee (Frappuccino roast, espresso, or no coffee). They then blend these ingredients until achieving a smooth, icy consistency. Sweeteners, flavors, and other add-ins can be incorporated into the mix as well, making Frappuccinos highly customizable. The final product is a cold, refreshing beverage with a slush-like texture.

By understanding these preparation processes, it becomes clear how each of these coffee beverages differs in taste, temperature, and consistency. Cappuccinos offer a rich, balanced coffee experience, lattes provide a milder, creamier option, and Frappuccinos deliver an icy, customizable refreshment. The attention to detail in milk and milk foam plays a crucial role in the characteristics of cappuccinos and lattes, while the unique blending process and use of non-traditional coffee sets Frappuccinos apart.

Taste Profiles and Flavor Options

In this section, we will discuss the taste profiles and various flavor options available for cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos. We will delve into each beverage's popular flavors as well as the different additives such as sugar, sweeteners, syrups, and toppings like whipped cream, caramel, chocolate, and cinnamon.

Cappuccino Flavors

A cappuccino is an espresso-based drink with equal parts espresso, milk, and milk foam. The taste of a cappuccino is often bold and rich, with the espresso providing its robust flavor. While cappuccinos traditionally do not have added flavors, many coffee shops now offer flavored versions that include:

  • Caramel: Adds sweetness and depth to the cappuccino.
  • Chocolate: Provides a luxurious, velvety taste that pairs well with the espresso.
  • Cinnamon: Gives the cappuccino a warm and spicy kick.
  • Vanilla: Adds a subtle sweetness and enhances the coffee flavor.

Latte Flavors

A latte, also an espresso-based beverage, contains more milk than a cappuccino, giving it a creamier taste. Lattes often have a broader range of flavors available, with popular choices including:

  • Caramel: Delivers a delicate balance of sweetness and saltiness.
  • Hazelnut: Offers a rich, nutty flavor that complements the espresso.
  • Pumpkin Spice: Introduces a warm and seasonal taste with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • Vanilla: Provides a mild and sweet addition to the creamy beverage.

Many lattes also come with the option to add sugar, sweeteners, and flavored syrups, allowing customers to customize their drink to their liking.

Frappuccino Flavors

Frappuccinos, trademarked by Starbucks, are coffee or cream-based drinks mixed with ice and flavorings. These beverages are typically high in sugar, giving them a sweeter taste than cappuccinos and lattes. The consistency of frappuccinos is thicker and more slush-like. Some popular frappuccino flavors include:

  • Java Chip: Contains coffee, chocolate chips, and a mocha syrup for an indulgent experience.
  • Green Tea: Blends matcha powder for a distinct, earthy taste.
  • Strawberry: Combines fruit puree and syrup for a refreshing, sweet beverage.
  • Double Chocolaty Chip Crème: Offers a rich and creamy chocolate experience without coffee.

Frappuccinos are often topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of syrup, such as caramel, chocolate, or fruity flavors, to enhance the taste and presentation of the beverage.

By exploring these various taste profiles and flavor options, one can better appreciate the unique qualities of cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos.

Milk Options and Their Effects

Whole Milk vs Low-Fat Milk

In frappuccinos, cappuccinos, and lattes, milk plays a significant role in determining the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the beverage. Whole milk, for instance, typically creates a richer, smoother, and creamier taste and texture in these coffee drinks compared to low-fat milk options. Whole milk contributes more fat and calories to the beverages, but it also enhances their luxurious mouthfeel.

On the other hand, low-fat milk (such as 2% or skim milk) offers a lighter texture and fewer calories in frappuccinos, cappuccinos, and lattes. However, this may result in a less satisfying and thinner consistency for those who prefer a richer coffee experience. Some coffee aficionados argue that low-fat milk can cause the foam in cappuccinos to dissipate more quickly, which might impact the traditional presentation of the drink.

Dairy-Free Alternatives

For those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply prefer a dairy-free option, there are a variety of plant-based milk alternatives available for frappuccinos, cappuccinos, and lattes. Common alternatives include almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and coconut milk.

Almond milk tends to be naturally sweet and adds a subtle nutty flavor to the beverages. However, it may not froth as well as other types of milk, which could affect the foam in cappuccinos and lattes.

Soy milk, on the other hand, has a creamier texture and foams well, making it a popular dairy-free choice for both cappuccinos and lattes. Oat milk has gained popularity recently due to its rich, creamy texture and neutral flavor, which complements the taste of coffee well.

Lastly, coconut milk imparts a distinct coconut flavor to the beverages, which could be enjoyable for those who appreciate the tropical taste. However, its foam may separate more easily compared to other dairy-free alternatives, affecting the presentation of cappuccinos and lattes.

In conclusion, the type of milk used in frappuccinos, cappuccinos, and lattes has a significant impact on the final presentation, flavor, and texture of the drink. Whole milk, low-fat milk, and dairy-free alternatives each offer different qualities that cater to individual preferences and dietary needs.

Caffeine Content and Strength

When comparing Frappuccino, Cappuccino, and Latte, one of the most important aspects for coffee lovers is the caffeine content and strength of each beverage. Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee beans, varies depending on the number of espresso shots used and the type of coffee beans, such as light roast or dark roast. In this section, we will explore the caffeine content and strength of Frappuccino, Cappuccino, and Latte.

Caffeine Content:

  • Frappuccino: Frappuccinos are typically made with a coffee base that can either be instant coffee, espresso, or Starbucks' unique Frappuccino roast. As a result, the caffeine content in a Frappuccino may vary depending on the base used. It is essential to check the specific product details for accurate caffeine content.

  • Cappuccino: A standard cappuccino contains an espresso shot, contributing to its caffeine content. On average, a single-shot cappuccino has 77 mg of caffeine, while a double-shot cappuccino contains about 154 mg, and a triple-shot cappuccino has around 231 mg of caffeine.

  • Latte: In comparison, a Latte typically has a higher proportion of coffee to milk than a Cappuccino. A 16-ounce (475-ml) latte contains around 173 mg of caffeine.

Strength and Flavor: The strength and flavor of these coffee beverages are influenced by the ratio of coffee to other ingredients, the type of coffee beans used, and the roast level of the beans.

  • Frappuccino: Frappuccinos often have a milder flavor compared to cappuccinos and lattes since they include a higher proportion of ice, milk, and sweeteners. The strength of a Frappuccino can be adjusted by using more or less coffee in the blend.

  • Cappuccino: Cappuccinos have a well-balanced flavor profile, with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The strength of a cappuccino can be adjusted by varying the number of espresso shots used. Generally, the more shots, the stronger and more bitter the taste.

  • Latte: Lattes contain a greater amount of steamed milk compared to cappuccinos, resulting in a creamier and slightly milder flavor. However, since lattes have a higher proportion of coffee to milk, they can still deliver a strong coffee taste, especially when made with dark roast coffee beans.

In summary, the caffeine content and strength of Frappuccinos, Cappuccinos, and Lattes vary depending on factors such as espresso shot quantity, coffee-to-milk ratio, and coffee bean type. It is essential to consider these aspects when choosing the perfect beverage to savor and enjoy.

Art, Texture, and Aesthetics

Latte Art

Latte art showcases the creativity and skill of baristas as they craft intricate shapes or drawings with milk foam. This visual accompaniment elevates the overall coffee experience while also demonstrating the perfect balance of espresso, milk, and microfoam. Popular designs include hearts, leaves, and even animals, providing an appealing and indulgent presentation for latte lovers.

Cappuccino Foam Layers

Cappuccinos are characterized by their distinct foam layers, setting them apart from other espresso-based drinks. The traditional cappuccino consists of three layers: the bottom layer with espresso, the middle layer with steamed milk, and the top layer with rich, velvety milk foam. The layers create a harmonious blend of strong coffee flavor, creamy milk, and a delicate, frothy finish. In Europe and artisan coffee shops in the USA, cappuccinos are typically served in a 160ml size. Often, a dusting of cocoa powder or a sprinkle of chocolate shavings enhances the visual appeal and adds a touch of sweetness to the drink's overall flavor profile.

Frappuccino Toppings

Frappuccinos possess a more playful appearance compared to their warm counterparts, such as cappuccinos and lattes. A popular blended beverage created by Starbucks, Frappuccinos can be customized with a variety of flavorings and toppings. Topping options include:

  • Whipped cream: A generous swirl of whipped cream adds a rich, indulgent element to the drink.
  • Drizzles: Flavored syrups like caramel, chocolate, or strawberry provide an additional burst of taste and color.
  • Cocoa powder or crushed cookies: A sprinkling of sweet, dry toppings gives the Frappuccino an exciting texture while enhancing its flavor.

In conclusion, the art, texture, and aesthetics of espresso-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and Frappuccinos not only contribute to their visual appeal but also impact their taste and overall experience. Each drink presents a unique combination of flavors and textures, appealing to various preferences and occasions.

Popular Variations and Specialties

In this section, we'll discuss popular variations and specialties of Frappuccinos, Cappuccinos, and Lattes. We'll delve into Starbucks Classics, Iced Cappuccinos and Iced Lattes, and ways to customize your drink.

Starbucks Classics

Starbucks, a well-known coffee chain, has a trademarked menu featuring a wide range of Frappuccinos, Cappuccinos, and Lattes. Two of the most popular Frappuccino options are the Caramel Frappuccino and the Java Chip Frappuccino.

  • Caramel Frappuccino: A sweet and cold blend of coffee, milk, ice, and caramel syrup, topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
  • Java Chip Frappuccino: A rich and chocolatey option, featuring coffee, milk, ice, and chocolate chips, topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

Their hot Cappuccinos and Lattes, which are espresso-based, can also be found on the menu, with a variety of additional flavors and options available.

Iced Cappuccino and Iced Latte

For those preferring a refreshing, cold coffee beverage, iced Cappuccinos and Lattes are great alternatives to Frappuccinos. These drinks start with a base of espresso and vary in the quantity of milk and ice.

  • Iced Cappuccino: Made with equal parts espresso, milk, and ice, it offers a balanced coffee flavor accompanied by a creamy texture.
  • Iced Latte: A more milk-dominant option, the Iced Latte features a higher ratio of milk to espresso, resulting in a creamier, milder coffee experience.

For both the Iced Cappuccino and Iced Latte, you can choose from different types of milk (such as almond or soy milk) and add various flavors to suit your taste.

Customizing Your Drink

There is immense flexibility when it comes to customizing your Frappuccino, Cappuccino, or Latte. Here are some suggestions to make your drink truly unique:

  • Syrups and sauces: Flavor your beverage with a diverse range of syrups, like vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel, and sauces like mocha or white chocolate.
  • Milk selection: Choose from a variety of milk options, including whole, skim, or plant-based milk such as oat, almond, or soy.
  • Extra espresso shot: Boost the coffee flavor in your drink by adding an extra shot of espresso.
  • Toppings: Complete your drink with the perfect topping, such as whipped cream, cinnamon, or chocolate shavings.

Caloric and Nutritional Information

When comparing Frappuccinos, Cappuccinos, and Lattes, it's essential to understand the differences in their caloric and nutritional content. These popular beverages can vary significantly in ingredients, leading to diverse nutritional values.


Frappuccinos are a blended, icy drink offered by Starbucks, resembling milkshakes. With a base of sweetened ice, whipped cream, and flavored syrups, they typically have a high sugar content. For example, a Java Chip Frappuccino contains 470 calories, which is even higher than a Bacon McDouble from McDonald's.


A cappuccino is an espresso-based beverage that includes equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. In a 16-ounce (480-gram) serving, a cappuccino typically contains about 173 mg of caffeine and approximately 190 calories. Overall, its nutritional aspects include:

  • Fat: 7 grams (9% of daily values)
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 grams (23% of daily values)
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg (10% of daily values)
  • Sodium: 170 mg (7% of daily values)
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams (7% of daily values)
  • Sugars: 18 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Caffeine: 150 mg


Lattes, similar to cappuccinos, are espresso-based drinks with a higher proportion of steamed milk, resulting in a creamier texture. They also contain about 173 mg of caffeine per 16-ounce (480-gram) serving. A Toffee Nut Latte from Starbucks, for example, has 301 calories. Below is the nutritional information for a standard latte:

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg
  • Sodium: 170 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams
  • Sugars: 18 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Caffeine: 150 mg

It's worth noting that the nutritional content of these beverages can be altered by customizing the ingredients, such as using almond milk, sugar-free syrups, or different types of espresso. For instance, an Iced Caffe Latte with almond milk contains 80 calories and 4 grams of sugar. By experimenting with different ingredients and making informed choices, consumers can enjoy their favorite drinks while managing their caloric and nutritional intake.

Making Your Own Coffee Drinks

In this section, we will delve into the art of crafting your own coffee drinks at home, specifically focusing on cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos. These popular drinks originate from Europe but have gained massive popularity in the USA, thanks to ubiquitous coffee shops. By understanding their unique flavors and characteristics, you can create your own delicious versions in the comfort of your home.

Homemade Cappuccino and Latte

Cappuccinos and lattes are both espresso-based drinks, but they differ in terms of milk content, ratio, and presentation. A cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. In contrast, a latte has a higher milk content, with a ratio of either 1:3 or 1:9 of espresso to steamed milk. Lattes are also known for their beautiful art created on the frothy surface.

To make a homemade cappuccino and latte, you will need:

  • An espresso machine or a way to brew strong coffee (instant coffee or ground coffee can be used as substitutes)
  • Milk (any type you prefer)
  • A milk frother or a method of frothing milk (such as a jar with a lid or a small whisk)

For a cappuccino, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a shot of espresso.
  2. Steam and froth the milk to create a velvety texture.
  3. Pour the espresso into a cup, followed by the steamed milk.
  4. Top it off with a dollop of milk foam.

For a latte, use the same ingredients but adjust the milk ratio:

  1. Prepare a shot of espresso.
  2. Steam and froth milk to create a smoother texture with less foam.
  3. Pour the espresso into a cup, followed by a larger amount of steamed milk.
  4. Create latte art by pouring the milk foam on top, forming designs or patterns.

Homemade Frappuccino

Frappuccinos are cold coffee beverages that resemble a milkshake or smoothie, offering a sweeter taste and smoother texture than cappuccinos and lattes. To create a homemade frappuccino, you don't need an espresso machine or any special equipment.

Ingredients needed:

  • Freshly brewed coffee (stronger flavor preferred)
  • Milk or a milk substitute
  • Ice
  • Sweetener (sugar, syrup, or your preferred sweetener)
  • Flavorings (optional, such as vanilla, caramel, or chocolate)
  • A blender

Follow these steps to make a homemade frappuccino:

  1. Brew a cup of strong coffee and let it cool.
  2. In a blender, combine the cooled coffee, milk, ice, sweetener, and any flavorings you'd like.
  3. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Adjust the caffeine amount or use decaf coffee if you desire less caffeine in your frappuccino. You may also add a macchiato-inspired twist by drizzling some caramel or chocolate sauce on top before serving.

Latte information
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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