Are you interested in the difference between a cappuccino and an espresso? Can’t really decide which one is better for you? Fika NYC is here to discuss the differences between cappuccinos and espressos and help you decide which one is right for you.
The truth is, apart from having an Italian origin for their name, there really isn’t a lot of similarities between cappuccino and espresso. Each drink gives a vastly different experience thanks to the milk to coffee ratio, leading to two quite separate flavors. Cappuccinos are made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Espressos are made with just espresso with nothing added in. So, which should you choose? Keep reading to find out!
On its own, a shot of espresso is served on a small cup called a demitasse. This drink has a strong unapologetic coffee flavor due to the concentrated liquid extracted from a single pull. It has a darker taste than regular black coffee thanks to the heavily roasted espresso beans, and a single shot packs a lot of caffeine, perfect if you’re after that buzz. Due to its bold flavor, it’s commonly used as a base for other coffee drinks, in which the coffee flavor is toned down by other ingredients such as milk.
Those looking for a milder tasting coffee would enjoy a cup of cappuccino, which is made with ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk, and ⅓ milk foam. The flavor is mild and creamy and it’s a more relaxed drink sensation than the pure espresso. Coffee connoisseurs love this drink not just for its rich, milky flavor, but for the intricate, mesmerizing foam art created by skilled baristas.
Cappuccino and espresso up close
Judging from the serving size, one would assume that cappuccino has more caffeine compared to espresso. Bear in mind that espresso is a concentrated drink, and cappuccino is a mellower alternative. Also, remember that cappuccino uses espresso as their base so, in essence, they both have the same amount of caffeine in each serving regardless of the serving size. For reference, an espresso shot has 63 mg. If you want a stronger caffeine kick, you can go for a double espresso shot.
Both cappuccino and espresso need an espresso machine to produce the coffee concentrate. Although there are alternatives, you may not get the exact same results. When brewing espresso, you’ll need finely ground coffee beans, similar to the texture of sugar. The process ends after pulling the shot from the machine, but a cappuccino involves steaming a cup of milk before mixing it with the espresso. A layer of froth forms over the steamed milk, which sits on top of the milk and espresso mixture as you pour it into the cup. The easiest way to froth milk to get the best texture is using a frothing pitcher.
Espresso and cappuccino coffees differ in a lot of ways, and they suit different tastes as well. If you want a milkier caffeinated drink, go for a cup of cappuccino, but a shot of espresso is great whenever you need a stronger boost in energy levels. However you like your coffee, it’s a personal thing!