One of the most popular drinks at a coffee shop is cappuccino. But if you’ve never had a cappuccino, you’re probably wondering how it’s different from coffee.
The main difference between cappuccino and coffee is that cappuccino uses espresso and milk, while coffee is coffee grounds brewed with hot water. Both drinks will appeal to coffee lovers for different reasons.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about cappuccino and coffee. You will know the key differences and be able to decide which drink appeals most to you after reading this.
Table of Contents
- What is Coffee?
- What is Cappuccino?
- Does Cappuccino Have Caffeine?
- Does Cappuccino Have More Caffeine than Coffee?
- Does Instant Cappuccino Have Caffeine?
- Does Cappuccino Have Milk?
- Does a Cappuccino Have Sugar?
- Does a Cappuccino Have More Calories than Coffee?
- Cappuccino vs. Coffee at Starbucks
- Final Thoughts
What is Coffee?
Coffee is a drink made by putting coffee grounds in a filter. Hot water is then poured over the grounds to produce the coffee.
Coffee will be made using a drip brew machine or the pour-over method. These are some of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make coffee.
Many people will add milk, cream, sugar, or syrups to their coffee. But for simplicity’s sake, when we refer to coffee, we will generally talk about plain black coffee.
What is Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is an espresso shot topped with steamed milk and milk foam. The espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam should be in exact equal ratios to be a true cappuccino.
It is traditionally served in a glass mug and comes to about 150 to 180 milliliters. To give you an idea, that comes out to 6 fluid ounces or less.
So, a cappuccino’s total liquid volume is generally less than one traditional eight-ounce cup of coffee. But this smaller drink will still give you plenty of delicious coffee flavor.
Does Cappuccino Have Caffeine?
Many of us drink coffee because of the caffeine, so you might be wondering if a cappuccino has caffeine like coffee.
Of course, a cappuccino will contain caffeine. The caffeine comes from the shot of espresso.
Espresso is a concentrated fine and ground form of coffee that makes about one fluid ounce. It’s brewed with high-pressure hot water to create a strong and bitter flavor.
Traditionally a cappuccino will only have one shot of espresso. But you can add additional shots of espresso to increase the overall caffeine content.
Does Cappuccino Have More Caffeine than Coffee?
You might be surprised to learn that, in most cases, a cappuccino will have less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
One shot of espresso has about 64 milligrams of caffeine. And since most cappuccinos only have one shot of espresso, this is the amount of caffeine in them.
One cup of coffee that’s eight ounces will have anywhere from 75 milligrams to 120 milligrams of caffeine. The caffeine in the coffee will vary based on the type of roast as well as the type of bean.
Now, if you order a cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso, it could have equal or slightly more caffeine than a small cup of coffee.
So if you want to prioritize caffeine as the most important factor in your coffee drink, plain coffee may be a better decision.
Does Instant Cappuccino Have Caffeine?
Another option when it comes to cappuccinos is instant cappuccinos. These will generally be powder mixes that you add to either hot water or milk.
Instant cappuccino will still have caffeine. But in many cases, the amount of caffeine in an instant cappuccino is less than a standard cappuccino.
The powder formulation and how it brews with your hot liquid reduces the amount of caffeine in an instant cappuccino.
The average amount of caffeine in one serving of instant cappuccino is about 27 milligrams. However, some mixes can have up to 60 milligrams of caffeine. Be sure to read the label if caffeine is of high importance to you.
Does Cappuccino Have Milk?
Recall that a cappuccino has both steamed milk and milk foam. So yes, a cappuccino has lots of milk.
Milk is the majority ingredient of the drink because it makes up two-thirds of a cappuccino. So if you don’t like milk, think twice before ordering a cappuccino.
Traditionally, a cappuccino has whole milk. The fat in the whole milk makes a rich and creamy taste while producing a consistent foam topping.
However, you don’t have to use dairy milk when you make a cappuccino. If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can substitute dairy milk for various plant-based milk types.
Standard options to substitute for dairy milk include almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Not all plant-based milk will froth or taste as creamy as whole milk. This may also slightly change the flavor of the cappuccino.
Does a Cappuccino Have Sugar?
A standard cappuccino does not contain any added sugar. Consequently, this drink will not have a sweet flavor and will taste like espresso with milk.
However, there are naturally occurring sugars in a cappuccino. These sugars come from milk and are called lactose.
Milk contains about 12 grams of sugar or lactose per cup. A cappuccino has about 85 milliliters of milk which is equal to 4 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
These naturally occurring sugars or lactose do not spike your blood sugar like cane sugar, making them overall healthier for you. So you don’t need to be concerned about sugar in your cappuccino unless you add it yourself.
Does a Cappuccino Have More Calories than Coffee?
In most cases, a cappuccino will have more calories than coffee. This is because of the milk present in the cappuccino.
The standard cappuccino with no add-ons will have about 80 calories. A cup of plain black coffee will have about 5 calories per cup.
However, many people do not drink their coffee black. If you add creamer or sugar to your coffee, this can add up quickly.
So if you drink your coffee black, coffee will have far fewer calories. But if you drink it with cream and sugar, it will come out about equal to the calories in a cappuccino.
Cappuccino vs. Coffee at Starbucks
If Starbucks is your go-to coffee shop, you might be wondering about how these drinks differ there. They both make great drink choices at Starbucks, depending on your personal preferences.
A grande cappuccino at Starbucks is made with 2% fat steamed milk and foam with two shots of espresso. It comes out to about 140 calories and 128 milligrams of caffeine.
A grande black coffee at Starbucks will have about 10 calories and approximately 310 milligrams of caffeine. You can add any syrups, milk, or sugar if you’d like, but this will also add calories.
A plain grande cappuccino will cost you $3.65, while a grande coffee with no add-ons will cost you $2.10. They are relatively inexpensive compared to many of the drinks available at Starbucks.
If you enjoy milk and the taste of espresso, the cappuccino at Starbucks won’t disappoint. But if you prefer simple coffee, many of the roasts at Starbucks will also hit the spot.
The primary difference between cappuccino and coffee is what’s in them: a cappuccino has espresso and milk, while coffee is just grounds brewed with hot water. Both drinks are great choices when it comes to your coffee.
A cappuccino will have equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Typically, it comes with just one shot of espresso.
Cappuccinos will have caffeine from the espresso. However, a standard cappuccino will have less caffeine than a cup of coffee. And instant cappuccinos will have less caffeine than normal cappuccinos.
Milk is a primary ingredient in a cappuccino. If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can switch out dairy milk for plant-based milk in your cappuccino. Because of the milk content, cappuccinos will have more calories than black coffee.
Now you don’t have to feel confused when you hear people ordering cappuccinos in line at the coffee shop. You may discover that you can even become one of those people after giving cappuccino a try.