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Most of the espresso machines on the market will let you brew both latte and cappuccino. So is there really a difference between the equipment that brews latte or cappuccino?Yes, there is a difference, and that difference could save you serious money. Most manufacturers won’t tell you what that feature is, because they want you to buy the more expensive equipment. However, latte machines are less expensive.
Learn here what's the difference between a cappuccino vs a latte maker, and between an espresso and a cappuccino machine and how to save money on equipment.
What Is the Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino Machine?
Let me explain this. Ask any barista what are the ingredients for a cappuccino and they’ll tell you espresso and milk; the same for a latte. The difference is that latte contains a lot more milk than a cappuccino, and many times they contain some flavors as well.
We can say that cappuccino is a coffee beverage, and latte is a milk beverage. In a cappuccino, the featured ingredient is still the espresso shot. If the espresso tastes funny, you will notice it right away. In a latte, the espresso shot is there just to provide you with the jolt of caffeine, and to add a little flavor to your milk. Coffee chains, like Starbucks, will take advantage of this and use mediocre espresso because nobody knows how it tastes since it is drenched in milk. Here is an article we wrote about the difference between cappuccino and latte.
Latte and Cappuccino Maker Buying Guides
They are filled with tips and tricks and a few reviews.
What Is the Difference Between Espresso and Cappuccino Machines?
We talked about cappuccino a bit earlier and we said that it is a coffee beverage. We want to distinguish the sharp, yet not overly bitter, flavor of the espresso coffee. The milk doesn't completely mask the espresso aroma. This is what makes cappuccino different from a latte. From this perspective, an espresso machine is the same as a cappuccino machine. But let's go deeper into the subject.
For an espresso, all you need is hot water pushed under pressure through a puck of coffee. The pressure could be obtained from a pump, or from steam, or from a lever-operated pump.
A cappuccino needs the espresso shot, an equal volume of steamed milk, and an equal volume of frothed milk. From a flavor perspective, the frothed milk is almost neutral; it does not affect the beverage. The froth gives the beverage the aesthetics and it helps to keep it warm by providing a little insulation. This is why for a cappuccino we also need a milk frother.
From a purely technical perspective, the best espresso and cappuccino maker is a pump-operated semiautomatic espresso machine.
If you are on a tight budget, we recommend you to read our inexpensive espresso machines list.
If you want a more convenient solution, our review of some popular super-automatic espresso machines is a great start.
If you are new to espresso preparation, we recommend our article on how to make the perfect espresso. Is a great read.
The advantage with this combination is that the two pieces will last you longer than a pump-driven espresso machine.
The disadvantage is that the brewing method is more complicated and the results are different.
We have a great Moka pot brewing guide if this is your choice. At the end of the day, the macchinetta is still the choice of many Italians when it comes to preparing cappuccino at home.
How to Save Money on Equipment
Based on the difference we talked about, if latte is your beverage of choice, you can save some serious money. You don’t have to buy an expensive machine to make lattes. The espresso-making side of the machine can be easily replaced with any other cheaper brewing equipment. For lattes, you can buy a cheap coffee maker with a built-in milk frother. For cappuccinos though, you still need a machine with a good espresso unit, and this makes it more expensive.