Espresso vs Cappuccino: Difference and Comparison

Both Espresso and Cappuccino are caffeine-based drinks, and one tends to build upon the other. Almost everything about the two drinks is not similar.

They not only differ in taste and smell but also look different. Therefore, although espresso and cappuccino are coffee-based drinks, they differ significantly in almost every way. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Espresso is a concentrated coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans, while cappuccino is a beverage made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.
  2. Espresso has a stronger, more intense flavor, while cappuccino has a smoother, creamier taste due to the milk content.
  3. Cappuccinos are larger in volume than espressos because of the milk components.

Espresso vs Cappuccino 

The difference between Espresso and Cappuccino is that Espresso is served in a smaller cup, and it resembles pure coffee with its significant dark or lights brown colour. On the other hand, Cappuccino is served in a bigger cup and is filled with layers of steamed milk and froth.  

Espresso vs Cappuccino
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An espresso is a black coffee that is stronger than most other coffees because it is brewed by forcing boiling water over ground coffee beans, and the result is a thick coffee beverage.

The espresso is served in a smaller cup, and there are three types of espresso shots besides the standard one, which is one ounce. It is a Doppio, Ristretto, and Lungo.  

Stronger than Latte, Cappuccino has a rich taste. This aromatic concoction is made from equal parts espresso, milk, and cream.

It is served in a bigger cup and is filled with layers of steamed milk and froth. You can get a cappuccino wet, dry, or even bone-dry.

The names indicate how much each drink contains espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth. 

Comparison Table

  Parameters of Comparison   Espresso   Cappuccino  
 Cup    It is served in a smaller cup.  It is served in a bigger cup. 
 Texture   Pure coffee with a dark or light brown colour.  Coffee filled with layers of steamed milk and froth. Therefore, it has a creamy texture.  
 Additions   Pure and simple coffee with no extra additions.  Has additions of steamed milk and cream. 
 Types   Has three types- Doppio, Ristretto, and Lungo.   Has three types- wet, dry, or even bone-dry. 
 Caffeine    Has more caffeine than Cappuccino.  Has less caffeine than Espresso. 

What is Espresso? 

An espresso is a black coffee that is stronger than most other coffees because it is brewed by forcing boiling water over ground coffee beans, and the result is a thick coffee beverage.

It has more caffeine than Cappuccino and is responsible for giving a cappuccino its aromatic concoction.

Espresso comes in smaller cups, and it resembles pure coffee because of its dark to light brown colour.  

Espresso comes in three types, other than the standard type, which is around one ounce. The three types of Espressos are- Doppio, Ristretto, and Lungo.

The Doppio and Lungo espressos are almost double the size of a regular espresso would be.

Therefore, the drinks are around 2 ounces. Ristretto, on the other hand, is smaller than the standard espresso and is roughly 0.7 ounces.   

Due to the use of less water in the Ristretto espresso, the coffee is more concentrated.

Each type of espresso requires a different preparation technique.

A perfect grind depends on the type of roast picked up. Generally, medium-dark and dark roasts yield the best results. 

espresso

What is Cappuccino? 

Stronger than Latte, Cappuccino has a rich taste. This aromatic concoction is made from equal parts espresso, milk, and cream. It does not have as much caffeine as Espresso.

However, it comes in bigger cups and is filled with layers of steamed milk and froth. Therefore, it has a creamy texture.  

You can get a cappuccino wet, dry, or even bone-dry. The names indicate how much each drink contains espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth.

Approximately one ounce of espresso and steamed milk are combined with some froth/milk foam on top for the wet or classic cappuccino.

A dry cappuccino is prepared with less steamed milk, and a bone-dry cappuccino has no steamed milk at all but only milk foam/froth on top.   

The taste of espresso flavours is more distinct with a bone-dry cappuccino. Served in ceramic cups, Cappuccinos primarily contain one or more shots of espresso.

However, it is crucial to tap the ground coffee into the portafilter tightly and equally to ensure a good consistency and crema. 

cappuccino

Main Differences Between Espresso and Cappuccino 

  1. Espressos are served in smaller cups, whereas, Cappuccinos are served in bigger ceramic cups or glasses. 
  2. Espressos resemble pure coffee with a dark or light brown colour. On the other hand, Cappuccinos are filled with layers of steamed milk and froth. Therefore, it has a creamy texture. 
  3. Espressos are pure and simple coffee with no extra additions. On the other hand, Cappuccinos have the extra additions of milk and cream. 
  4. Espressos significantly have more caffeine than Cappuccinos. On the other hand, Cappuccinos have less caffeine content than Espressos. 
  5. Espressos have three types, namely, Doppio, Ristretto, and Lungo. On the other hand, Cappuccinos can be served as wet, dry, or even bone-dry. 
Difference Between Espresso and Cappuccino
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S095032930000015X 
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15428052.2020.1824834 

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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