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Latte vs. Coffee: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
A latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk, while coffee refers to a brewed drink made from roasted coffee beans.

Key Differences

Latte and coffee, both caffeinated beverages, have distinct preparations and flavor profiles. A latte primarily consists of espresso and steamed milk, producing a creamy, smooth drink.
Coffee, in its broadest sense, refers to a drink made by brewing water with ground coffee beans. The result is a stronger, more robust flavor compared to the milk-heavy latte.
The primary difference lies in the ingredients and proportions. While a latte has a substantial amount of milk, making it creamier, a black coffee has no milk and presents the pure taste of the coffee bean.
Many coffee aficionados differentiate their beverages based on strength and flavor. A latte, with its milk content, might be considered milder, while a straight coffee can offer a more intense caffeine kick.
In many coffee shops, ordering a latte will often result in receiving a drink with a small amount of foam on top. In contrast, ordering a coffee might give various options like black, with cream, or sugar, depending on how the individual likes their brew.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredient

Ground Coffee Beans


Steamed Milk (and sometimes foam)
Can be consumed black or with cream/sugar


Creamy and mild
Strong and robust

Caffeine Content

Varies based on espresso shot count
Varies based on brew strength


Often served with foam on top
Typically served plain or with added condiments

Latte and Coffee Definitions


Lattes are often topped with a small amount of foam.
He was skilled in making lattes, even crafting art with the foam on top.


Coffee offers a robust flavor and caffeine content.
After a long night, a strong coffee is exactly what I need.


A latte typically has a milder coffee flavor due to the milk content.
For those who find black coffee too strong, a latte is a perfect choice.


Coffee can be served black or with additives like sugar and cream. He takes his coffee with two sugars and a splash of cream.


Lattes primarily consist of espresso and milk.
She prefers a latte in the morning because of its creamy texture.


Coffee is a staple beverage in many cultures worldwide.
While traveling, he loves exploring different regional coffee variations.


A latte is a coffee-based beverage with steamed milk.
I ordered a vanilla latte from the cafe.


Coffee is a brewed drink made from roasted coffee beans.
Every morning, she starts her day with a cup of coffee.


Lattes can be flavored with various syrups.
Today, I'm in the mood for a caramel latte.


Coffee beans come in various roasts, influencing the drink's flavor.
She prefers a medium roast coffee for its balanced taste.


A caffe latte.


Any of various tropical African shrubs or trees of the genus Coffea, especially C. arabica or C. canephora, widely cultivated in the tropics for their seeds that are dried, roasted, and ground to prepare a stimulating aromatic drink.


A drink of coffee made from espresso and steamed milk, generally topped with foam.


The beanlike seeds of this plant, two of which are found in each fruit.


A similar drink, where the espresso is replaced with some other flavoring ingredient such as chai, maté or matcha (green tea).


Same as cafe latte; a type of espresso coffee served with foamy steamed milk, and usually served in a tall glass or mug.


Strong espresso coffee with a topping of frothed steamed milk


How does the taste of a latte differ from black coffee?

A latte is creamier and milder due to the milk, while black coffee has a robust and pure coffee flavor.

What is the primary ingredient in a latte?

The primary ingredient in a latte is espresso, mixed with steamed milk.

Can both latte and coffee be served cold?

Yes, both can be served as iced versions.

How do coffee beans impact the flavor of the drink?

The roast, origin, and grind size of coffee beans can significantly influence flavor, strength, and aroma.

Can you make a latte at home without an espresso machine?

While espresso machines make it easier, you can replicate a latte by using strong brewed coffee and frothed milk.

Are there health benefits to drinking coffee?

Moderate coffee consumption is linked to various health benefits, but it's essential to consume it responsibly.

Why does a latte have foam on top?

The foam on a latte is formed when steamed milk is frothed, creating tiny air bubbles.

Are lattes always made with dairy milk?

No, lattes can also be made with alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk.

Which drink is a better option for someone lactose intolerant?

Black coffee contains no lactose, but many cafes offer lactose-free milk options for lattes too.

How does the brewing method impact coffee's taste?

Different methods (e.g., drip, French press, espresso) extract flavors differently, affecting strength and taste.

What gives a latte its distinct creamy texture?

The steamed milk, which is a primary component of a latte, gives it its creamy texture.

Can you add flavors to both latte and coffee?

Yes, both can be flavored, but it's more common to add flavored syrups to lattes.

Can you make a decaffeinated latte?

Yes, a latte can be made using decaffeinated espresso.

Which is richer in taste, a latte or an Americano?

An Americano, which is espresso diluted with water, typically has a richer coffee taste compared to the milk-heavy latte.

Can you have a latte without coffee?

Traditional lattes contain coffee (espresso), but there are variations like chai or matcha lattes that don't.

Which has more caffeine, a latte or a coffee?

It varies based on preparation, but generally, a regular-sized coffee may have more caffeine than a single-shot latte.

Is coffee the same worldwide?

While the base ingredient is the same, preparation, strength, and additives vary by region and culture.

Which is creamier, a latte or black coffee with cream?

A latte is typically creamier due to the larger proportion of steamed milk.

Why is coffee sometimes referred to as a "cup of joe"?

The exact origin is unclear, but it's a colloquial American term for a cup of coffee.

What's the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

While both have espresso and milk, a cappuccino has equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, while a latte has more steamed milk and less foam.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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