Distinguishing Espresso & Cappuccino

Coffee is the world’s most popular hot drink, with many people beginning their day with a cup of espresso or cappuccino. While coffee is the generic term for the beverage made from coffee beans or coffee powder, there are various types of coffee drinks depending on the ingredients and preparation process. Espresso and cappuccino are two distinct beverages that can be confusing for some when ordering at a coffee shop.


Espresso refers to both the machine and the beverage produced using this machine with ground coffee and hot water. Coffee powder is placed inside the machine, and very hot water at high pressure is forced onto the ground coffee to extract all of its flavors. The resulting drink is almost syrupy, consisting of dissolved and solid coffee powder. This process of making coffee produces a cream, as the oils in the coffee are released and converted into a colloid. An espresso machine uses an electric pump to create the required pressure to turn coffee powder into espresso. Water is heated to 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit and passed over ground coffee at a high pressure of 8-10 atmospheres.


Cappuccino is a type of beverage made using espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, all in equal proportions. Espresso is mixed with steamed milk and poured into a cup, with frothed milk added on top. Cappuccino is characterized by the presence of foamed milk at the top, which is often presented in artistic ways by baristas.

Key Takeaways

  • Espresso is the basic beverage made with ground coffee by forcing hot water at high pressure over it.
  • Cappuccino is produced by combining espresso, steamed milk, and froth milk in equal proportions.
  • Espresso is dark brown with no milk, while cappuccino contains both hot milk and foamed milk.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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