If you’re new to the world of coffee, you might be wondering how a cappuccino and a regular cup of coffee differ.

Quick Answer: What’s the difference between cappuccino and coffee?

The main difference between a cappuccino and regular coffee is that cappuccinos are made with espresso, steamed, and foamed milk. You can make regular coffee with any roast of coffee beans and many different coffee brewers.

Cappuccino vs. Coffee: All the Differences You Need to Know

I’ll go over all the differences between cappuccino vs. coffee so you have all the information you need to decide which suits you better.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy learning about two of the most popular drinks in the world.

Cappuccino vs. coffee, the differences

Before getting into detail about these drinks, you can have a look below to see how they differ:

The difference between a cappuccino and coffee is explained.

Espresso is a type of coffee that is made by forcing pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans. The resulting coffee is rich in flavor and has a thick consistency.

Milk and foam are added to cappuccinos to create a creamy, frothy beverage.

Espresso is best made with dark roasted beans because they have a higher concentration of oils necessary for producing the signature espresso flavor.

Have a look below for an overview of all the main differences between a cappuccino and coffee:

Which coffee?One espresso shotBrewed coffee
Milk used?Yes, 1/2 cup (0.12 l)No milk used
TasteA smooth and creamy flavorQuite robust and balanced flavor
Caffeine content68mg of caffeine170mg to 220mg of caffeine
Calories per serving70 caloriesVirtually no calories
Coffee roastDark roastAll coffee roasts
Topping?A dusting of cocoa powder or cinnamonNo topping

What is the difference in preparation between a cappuccino and coffee?

The main difference between a cappuccino and coffee is the milk. A cappuccino has more foam than coffee, and it is usually served in a cup. The milk in a cappuccino is frothed before it is added to the coffee, while coffee is just brewed with hot water.

Cappuccino vs. coffee comparison.
Cappuccino on the left. Coffee on the right.

For the cappuccino, espresso coffee is brewed first. Then, milk is steamed and frothed until a nice layer of foam is present on the milk.

This is then combined in equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam on top.

Coffee is prepared by brewing ground coffee beans with hot water. There are many ways to brew coffee at home. Some options you have for brewing coffee are as follows:

  • You can brew coffee with a pour over brewer like a Chemex or Hario V60. This will yield a well-balanced coffee flavor.
  • For a stronger cup of coffee, you can brew coffee using the French press.
  • Alternatively, you can make an Americano. An Americano is made by combining espresso coffee and hot water. This is also considered regular coffee for most people.

So the biggest difference you’ll notice when trying out these drinks is that one is made with 2/3 milk (the cappuccino), and coffee is just plain coffee without any milk added.

Is a cappuccino stronger than coffee?

A cappuccino is not stronger than coffee. It is made with espresso and steamed milk, whereas coffee is just brewed with water, giving it an overall stronger flavor because no milk is added.

Espresso has a more intense flavor because it is made with finer ground coffee beans and has more caffeine (which I’ll go into detail about further down). But the added milk makes it more diluted, sweeter, and milk-forward tasting.

As I’ve talked about above, you can make coffee with various brewing techniques, which will make your coffee have different tastes and strengths.

An Americano is made with espresso and hot water. And a cup of coffee is made with brewed coffee beans. So, all of these drinks have different levels of strength.

Brewing espresso shots.

Darker roasted coffee will often have a more intense flavor, which is most often used for espresso coffee and works well with French press coffee.

Did you know that blonde-roasted coffee is considered stronger than dark-roasted coffee? You can check out this article where I compare the two coffee roasts.

What is the difference in calories between a cappuccino and coffee?

The difference in calories between a cappuccino and coffee is pretty small, but a cappuccino has more calories because of the milk. A regular cup of coffee has virtually no calories, while a cappuccino has about 60-70.

So, if you’re watching your calorie intake, it’s best to stick with regular coffee.

If you prefer adding a sweetener to your coffee or cappuccino, you’ll increase the number of calories in your drink.

Most often, regular sugar or brown sugar is added to hot coffee. Did you know honey also tastes great with your daily coffee? You can read more about it here!

Adding brown sugar to a cup of coffee.

Many coffee add-ins like coffee syrups also work great with these coffees and can give your coffee the flavor you prefer the most. You can check out some amazing homemade add-ins here.

Cappuccino vs. coffee, caffeine difference

There is a big difference in caffeine when comparing a cappuccino with coffee. Have a look below:

  • A cappuccino has 68mg of caffeine based on one espresso shot.
  • Coffee has between 170 and 220mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup of coffee.

Regular coffee can be made using various brewing methods that make different-tasting coffee with a different amount of caffeine per serving.

Pour over coffee has the lowest caffeine per serving, coming in at 170mg. On the other hand, French press coffee has the highest caffeine per serving, coming in at 220mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. (source)

Which suits you better, a cappuccino or coffee?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question – it all depends on your personal preference.

Some people prefer cappuccinos because they like the added sweetness and creaminess, while others prefer coffee because they like the more intense flavor.

Homemade cappuccino.
Homemade cappuccino

Personally, I enjoy both drinks, but I usually drink cappuccinos in the morning and coffee in the afternoon.

Decaf coffee is my go-to after dinner, so I have that amazing coffee taste without the caffeine that normal coffee has.

Did you know decaf coffee doesn’t taste much different from the regular coffee you’re used to? You can find more information about it here!

Are you still a bit unsure which might be the better pick for you? Then I suggest the following:

  • Cappuccinos are better for those who want a creamy, rich coffee drink. Plus, I think it’s more visually appealing with the frothed milk on top.
  • Coffee is a better choice for those who want a strong, slightly bitter drink that packs more caffeine per serving.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you like best. The ultimate way of choosing which one suits you better is to taste them side by side.

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the cappuccino and normal hot coffee compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!


So, there you have it. Those are the differences between a cappuccino and regular coffee. I hope this article has been helpful for you in deciding which coffee might suit you better.

There are a lot of differences between the two, but at their core, they’re both coffee.

Have you tried both drinks and have a strong preference one way or the other? What’s your favorite type?

Coffee recipes to try

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