There are few things more satisfying than a hot cup of coffee, especially when it’s cold outside.
Most of us have our favorite way of making coffee — whether it’s an automatic machine, a French press, or a hand-held espresso machine. Some people like to order it at a local coffee shop.
But what is the difference between a latte and coffee?
The main difference between a latte and coffee is that a latte has added milk, whereas coffee has no milk. A latte is typically composed of 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a layer of foam. In comparison, coffee is just brewed coffee without add-ins.
In this article, I’ll go into detail about the main differences between these drinks, which is the stronger of the two, the number of calories, and which might suit you better.
Latte vs. coffee, the main differences
Now that you know that a latte is an espresso with steamed milk and a little foam on top and regular coffee is just brewed coffee, it’s time to get into detail about their differences.
Have a look below for all the key differences between these coffees:
|Coffee?||Yes, one espresso shot||Brewed coffee|
|Milk?||Yes, 3/4 cup (0.18 l)||No milk|
|Taste||Smooth, creamy texture and a rich caramel flavor||Strong, bitter, and acidic flavor|
|Strength||Low to medium strength||Medium to high strength|
|Caffeine content||68mg of caffeine||170mg to 220mg of caffeine|
|Calories per serving||110 calories||Virtually no calories|
|Coffee roast||Usually, a dark coffee roast||All coffee roasts|
|Topping?||A milk foam top||No topping|
|Add-ins?||Sugar, coffee syrups||Sugar, coffee syrups, coffee creamer, milk|
Now that you know about the main differences, it’s time to go in-depth about each comparison.
What is coffee, and how is it made?
Brewed coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans, which are then filtered out.
The water extracts the flavor and caffeine from the beans, and the resulting liquid is coffee.
Brewing methods can vary in terms of the temperature of the water and how long it’s left in contact with the beans, but most methods fall into one of two categories: immersion or drip.
In immersion brewing, such as French press, the water is poured over the grounds and left to steep for a while.
With drip brewing, hot water is poured over the grounds in a filter cone and allowed to drip through to a carafe below.
Chemex and Hario V60 are popular coffee brewers when talking about drip coffee. They make amazing coffee but can have a steep learning curve.
What is a latte, and how do you make it?
A latte is an espresso-based coffee drink made with steamed milk and textured milk foam. It usually has a light layer of foam on the top. A latte is typically served in a tall glass.
To make a latte, you can follow the steps below:
- Start by brewing a strong shot of espresso.
- Then pour that espresso into a tall glass.
- Next, steam some milk until it’s hot and frothy.
- Finally, pour the steamed milk into the glass with the espresso, and top with some foam.
Make sure to use a dark roasted coffee bean for your latte to make it extra powerful. (Which you can learn more about here)
You can check out this article where I talk about the difference between espresso beans and coffee beans.
Plus, check out this article here to learn more about what a latte is.
Is a latte stronger than coffee?
Latte coffee is actually weaker than regular coffee. A latte is made up of espresso and steamed milk, so it has a higher milk-to-coffee ratio than regular coffee. This makes it less potent and lower in caffeine.
The coffee beans that are used in preparing the espresso coffee for the latte make a big difference.
If you use a dark roasted bean for your coffee, it will have a more intense flavor than if you use a blonde roasted bean, for example, when making a blonde latte.
Tip: Check out my favorite coffee beans for the perfect latte at home.
The same goes for brewing coffee with a light roast or a darker roast. Medium roasted coffee beans are often used for brewed coffee, while espresso coffee is most likely made with a dark roast.
While espresso coffee is stronger than regular coffee, the amount of milk that is added to the latte makes it have a more balanced and even a slightly sweet flavor, while regular coffee tastes quite robust.
How many calories are in a latte vs. coffee?
A latte comes to about 110 calories per serving, based on using whole milk and no added sweeteners.
You can lower this amount by using low-fat milk, or your favorite dairy-free milk as they are usually lower in calories compared to whole milk.
The calories may be higher depending on what you add to your regular coffee. If you love adding homemade coffee creamer to your coffee, this will increase the number of calories.
A splash of milk is also a great way to make your coffee a bit more exciting. If you want to find out the differences between coffee creamer and milk and which tastes better in coffee, you can get more information here.
What is the caffeine content of a latte and coffee?
There’s a big difference in caffeine when comparing a latte and coffee. Have a look below for the caffeine levels:
- A latte has 68mg of caffeine because one espresso shot is used.
- Coffee has between 170mg and 220mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving of coffee.
Pour over coffee (Chemex or Hario V60) will have the lowest amount of caffeine per serving, coming in at 170mg.
On the other hand, French press coffee has the most amount of caffeine per serving, coming in at 220mg per 8-ounce cup. (source)
Some coffee bars serve their latte with a double espresso shot, which will double the amount of caffeine. However, this is not always the case, and regular coffee will most likely still have more caffeine per serving.
Which suits you better? A latte or coffee?
In general, a latte is a better choice than regular coffee because it contains more milk and less coffee. This makes it sweeter and creamier, which most people prefer.
However, coffee is lower in calories than a latte. So if you’re looking for a healthier option that still tastes good, go with coffee!
If you’re unsure which might be the better pick for you, I recommend the following:
- A latte is richer and creamier than a regular coffee. This drink is perfect for you if you prefer a milk-forward flavor with just a bit of coffee flavor.
- Regular coffee might be the better pick if you prefer a stronger drink that is higher in caffeine that has almost no calories.
Personally, I prefer regular coffee because I like the flavor of pure coffee without any added flavors, but I know some people who prefer lattes.
It just depends on your personal preference and if you like to add milk to your coffee.
Related coffee comparison articles
Are you wondering how the latte and normal hot coffee compare to other coffees?
Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:
- Hot Coffee vs. Americano
- Hot Coffee vs. Espresso
- Hot Coffee vs. Iced Coffee
- Latte vs. Café Au Lait
- Latte vs. Cappuccino vs. Macchiato
And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!
In this article, I’ve talked about the differences between a latte and regular coffee. One uses milk and espresso, and the other is just brewed coffee that you can customize to your liking.
Both coffees have a unique flavor, and one might suit you better than the other? Do you have a new favorite coffee you’re going to try next?
As I’ve said above, I prefer regular coffee over a latte, especially in the morning. However, an occasional latte is something I can thoroughly enjoy as well.
Do you like these coffee comparisons? You can check out some more articles below where I go in-depth about more coffee drinks and their differences.