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Caffelatte, latte macchiato, cappuccino: what’s the difference?

Milk and coffee are the main ingredients of almost every Italian’s breakfast and are used in the preparation of many popular drinks throughout the country.

In this article, we want to talk about the differences between caffelatte, latte macchiato and cappuccino.
These three preparations are often confused, thinking that they are identical and that the different name is just a fad. Wrong! In reality, they are very different drinks.

The main characteristics that distinguish the cappuccino from the other two breakfast drinks are the percentage of coffee and milk present and the foam.

Caffelatte, latte macchiato, cappuccino: what’s the difference?

Latte macchiato

Latte macchiato is served in a tall glass, such as a tumbler or a similar glass, that can appreciate in all their splendour the three layers of which this preparation is composed: the lowest, predominantly milk part, the middle part, progressively mixed with coffee, and finally the creamy milk part.

The presence of espresso coffee is only hinted at: no more than 5% of the milk, served hot.


This drink has a history of its own, with roots in the tradition of many Italian regions. Today it is consumed almost all over the world: the French call it cafe au lait, the Spanish cafe con leche.
Often this drink is confused with latte macchiato and vice versa; and is basically considered the same as cappuccino, with the only difference being that it has no foam.


Cappuccino is by far the most famous and most recognisable preparation, but it is also the most difficult because, in order to obtain a perfect milk cream, you need good dexterity and a perfect knowledge of the raw materials.

A perfect cappuccino, which you can also make at home, consists of 125 ml of milk and 25 ml of coffee with plenty of milk cream that must be compact and shiny and served in a low, wide cup.

Cappuccino lately is subject to ‘Latte art’ or the new fashion of making decorated cappuccinos using the colour of milk and coffee.

As you may have guessed, at the base of all these drinks is coffee, which must be of excellent quality to enhance the various preparations.