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Latte vs Coffee – What’s The Difference?

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: August 18th, 2023

When you go to a coffee shop, the menu can be a bit overwhelming. There are tons of options facing you, and if all of them are types of coffee, how do you know which one to pick?

Well, two of the most basic drinks on the menu are a latte and a cup of brewed coffee. But what’s the difference?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at a latte vs coffee so that you know exactly which one to order. Here are all the details you need to make the right choice.

A Brief Rundown of Coffee


Coffee is basically ground coffee beans poured into hot water and then filtered out. The water acts as an extractor, pulling the caffeine and flavor out of the beans and mixing them into the familiar drink we all know and love.

There really are endless ways to brew coffee. Common brew methods change depending on where you are in the world and what type of coffee you enjoy.

To get a better understanding of coffee, let’s check out a couple of common brew methods that you should know about.


One basic way of making coffee is in an espresso machine. This method forces pressurized water through a disc that contains ground coffee and a filter. Typically, you’ll use a special machine to do so.

The result is a very concentrated type of coffee that’s often mixed with milk to help break up the intensity.

Now, store this coffee-making method away, as you’re going to want to remember it when we get into lattes!

Drip Machine

The most common method of making coffee is with a drip coffee maker. This method involves filtering hot water through coarsely ground coffee at a slow rate to help produce a cup of coffee.

With this method, you’ll use a standard coffee machine that includes a tank for heating the water and a canister for storing your coffee.

Drip machines tend to produce a pretty mild cup of coffee. You can adjust the strength by increasing your coffee to water ratio.

Pour Over

Pour-over coffee doesn’t involve any special machinery. For this technique, all you need is a cone filter, a jar, and your coffee.

The idea behind a pour-over is the same as a drip machine except that you do it manually instead of having a machine do it for you.

To make the coffee, you’ll add the grounds to a paper filter and place them in the cone. Then, pour hot water over the grounds and allow it to drip through the coffee into the cup.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is actually very finely ground coffee beans that dissolve when you mix them with hot water.

Instant coffee is a super-fast preparation method and doesn’t require any filters or machines to make.


One of the newest coffee preparation methods is using capsules. Capsules are small pods filled with ground coffee.

They’re placed into a machine which then injects pressurized water into the capsule. The result is a strong, super-aromatic cup of coffee.

A Quick Look at the Latte

Now that you’ve got the hang of what coffee is, let’s move on to talking about lattes.

Latte is an Italian word meaning “coffee with milk” (caffè e latte). In other words, this beverage is made of a mix of coffee and hot milk. However, it’s not as simple as that.

To make a latte, you can’t use just any type of coffee. You need to use espresso. From there, you mix steamed milk with the espresso to come up with a latte.

How to Make a Latte


Part of really understanding a latte is knowing how to make one. Essentially, a latte is one-third espresso (typically one or two shots) and two-thirds steamed milk. You top the drink off with a layer of foam.

To make a latte, you should use cold milk since it steams better than warm or hot milk. All you need to do is pull your shots of espresso and steam the milk while the shots are pulling.

Then, pour the milk on top of the espresso for a tasty latte!

As a finishing touch, you can use the milk to “draw” designs in the beverage. This is known as latte art and is a way for baristas to show off their unique flair.

Latte Variations

You can actually make a few variations on your latte. For one thing, you can play around with the type of milk you use. Instead of using cow’s milk, try using vegetable milk such as almond, oat, or coconut milk.

Another way you can mix up your latte is to make it as an iced beverage. In this case, however, you’re not really going to get any milk foam.

Finally, you can mix up your lattes by adding flavored syrups. This is a fun way to add some pizzazz to your drink!

Latte vs Coffee: The Major Differences

latte vs coffee the major differences

Alright, so you know what coffee is and you know what a latte is. Now let’s talk about what makes them different! Here are a couple of the key differences between a cup of coffee and a latte.

The Nutritional Information

One key difference between a coffee and a latte is the nutritional information. Because lattes contain milk, they’re higher in fat and sugar. They’re also higher in calories.

However, despite the fact that lattes have more calories, they’re not as strong. Coffee contains more caffeine and has a much deeper flavor.

The Preparation Method

Another significant difference between coffee and a latte is the preparation method. For one thing, you can prepare coffee in a variety of different methods, ranging from espresso to Turkish coffee.

Lattes, however, can only be made with espresso shots. On top of that, you typically make a cup of coffee with medium roast coffee beans, although you can technically use any beans you like.

Lattes, on the other hand, must be made with dark roast coffee beans. That’s so that you can taste the coffee through the milk.

The Ingredients

The ingredients in the beverage also differ between coffee and lattes.

Coffee is made with ground coffee and water. That’s it!

On the other hand, lattes are made with steamed milk, water, and ground coffee. Although the only major difference in ingredients is the milk, that can still make a big difference to the flavor.

The Taste

Finally, the flavor of a latte vs a cup of coffee is a pretty significant difference. A latte generally has a creamy and smooth texture and flavor.

It doesn’t tend to have an overly powerful coffee flavor.

On the other hand, a cup of coffee tends to taste strong and bitter. It’s not as smooth as a latte and is generally very aromatic.

Latte vs Coffee: Which Is For You?

Whether you choose a latte vs coffee is up to you. We just hope that this guide gave you a bit of info that makes your ordering process a bit simpler!

And, if you’ve still got questions? Comment down below and we’ll help you get the answers you need to pick the perfect cup of coffee.

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About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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