Espresso vs Cappuccino

Espresso vs Cappuccino: Find Detailed Comparison

When you enter the coffee shop, you find so many different types of coffee to choose from. The most popular ones among them are the Espresso and the Cappuccino. You might be definitely aware that these two coffees are apparently different in their looks. In addition to their appearance, they are also at odds with regard to their aroma, texture, and their contents.

Although Espresso is the base of Cappuccino, the latter is unlike the former. Both of these beverages have distinct features, which set them apart. In this guide, you will come across those aspects where their similarities end. Let’s have a glance over Espresso vs Cappuccino

Espresso: The intense beverage

Espresso dates back to the 20th century. It is also an invention from Italy and is a past participle of the word “Esprimere” which refers to “press out.” But have you ever wondered who made the espresso machine? Thanks to Luigi Bezzera, who, with his sharp wit has gifted the world with a machine that prepares coffee expressly. So espresso is made in an espresso machine where you finely grind the coffee beans, press them in a portafilter and run boiling water through the finely ground coffee, giving you a handsome espresso shot within 20 to 30 seconds.

Espresso can be called black coffee since you don’t add any amount of milk to it and is just a combination of hot water and coffee. That’s a strong one, no doubt!

Cappuccino: The best-loved

Do you know what Cappuccino means? Let me explain, “Cappuccino” has been named after “Capuchin Friars”, which is a branch of Franciscan order of priests. That’s strange, why was a coffee named after them? Well, cappuccino was given this name because when the milk was mixed with the espresso to make cappuccino, its hue was the same as that of the “Capuchin robe.” You see the connection now.

Cappuccino is believed to have been created in the 18th century in Vienna and was called  “Kapuziner.” But regardless of this, many believe that the actual cappuccino was only brewed after the invention of the espresso machine in the 20th century. Cappuccino is a concoction of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam, making it completely unique and different from espresso.

Espresso vs Cappuccino

After having become familiar with the basics of espresso and cappuccino, it’s time to go through the differences which make each one of them stand out of the rest:

Milk  No milk is added.Addition of steamed milk and milk foam.  
Cup sizeSmaller cup.Larger cup.  
Caffeine content63 mg of caffeine in an ounce of espresso.The same amount of caffeine as in an espresso, but increases when you add two shots of espresso.  
Calories intakeJust 3 calories.120 calories in a cup.  
Texture and AromaConsists of a chocolaty texture with a smoky aroma.Has a smoother, frothy texture with a distinct coffee aroma.  
TasteDeep coffee flavor.Mild coffee flavor.  
AppearanceDark brown hue, with a tinted crema on top.Shades of brown with milk foam on its top layer.  
ToppingsNo additional toppings.Is topped with cocoa powder or cinnamon powder.

Now that you have an idea of the differences between an espresso and a cappuccino, let’s get to know each of the points in detail:

1. Is milk a part of both the drinks?

Espresso includes hot water and coffee. That’s it. There’s no addition of milk. On the other hand, cappuccino has 30% espresso, 30% steamed milk, and the rest is milk foam making it smoother and mouthful.

2. Are the cups of the same size?

Nope, there’s a vast variation in the cup size. While an espresso shot is of 30 ml which is relatively smaller, a good cup of cappuccino ranges from 150-200 ml depending on how many shots of espresso you prefer.

3. What’s the caffeine content?

Surprisingly, an espresso and a cappuccino contain the same amount of caffeine. An ounce of espresso usually holds 63mg of caffeine. Since only one shot of espresso is also the base of the cappuccino, the caffeine content is same. However, if you prefer a strong flavored cappuccino, you can ask your barista to pull two shots of espresso and enjoy your cup.

4. Which drink includes more calories?

Comparatively, a cup of cappuccino surely holds more number of calories than a shot of espresso. When you sip a shot of espresso, you add only 3 calories to your body. In a cappuccino comprising these 3 calories, you add 120 calories on the whole. Whoa! That’s a great surge. This is due to the milk and added sugars if any. The calories in a cappuccino are prone to differ based on the type of milk used.

5. How does their texture and aroma feel like?

Espresso has a chocolaty, velvety texture with a smoky aroma giving you the wake-up kick. Unlike espresso, cappuccino has a smooth, frothy, creamy body with a perfect coffee aroma giving you a more wholesome feeling.

6. How does it taste?

Do you love bold, intense coffee? Then what are you waiting for? Grab an espresso. That would be the ideal coffee beverage with a full and deep coffee flavor. Besides, if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a milder and softer version of coffee, then a cappuccino is the favorable one.

7. How do they look different?

Espresso is dark brown in colour which is similar to the tint of the coffee bean used. And when it comes to cappuccino, it has a unique shade of brown which is basically a mixture of red and orange. It gives you the aesthetic vibes as they say. 

8. Are they adorned with toppings?

Espresso is very basic and plain and only includes hot water and coffee, there are no additional toppings. But a good shot of espresso does have a layer of crema on top. What’s crema? It is a tanned layer of foam that forms on top of freshly brewed espresso. This crema has a lighter brownish tone as against the espresso.

Espresso has crema, what does a cappuccino have? Cappuccino consists of three layers; at the bottom is the espresso, in the middle is the steamed milk and top most layer is the milk foam. However, in addition to these three layers, cappuccino may also be topped with some cocoa powder or cinnamon powder to enhance its taste. Now that’s the definition of yummy.

[Keep in mind that a cappuccino is different from a “latte.” A cup of latte has more of steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam.]

Let’s wind-up

Reaching the end of this article has prolly given you a thorough understanding of the distinct features of Espresso vs Cappuccino. Which one you choose as a morning beverage or as an afternoon pick-me-up, is a matter of your preference. Both of these drinks are unique in their own way as regards their appearance, aroma and taste. I would undoubtedly go for a cuppa cappuccino. Now it’s your turn, try out these drinks the next time you go to a coffee shop and find out your pick. Have a delectable coffee cup!   


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