main content


The cappuccino is a perfectly balanced coffee that’s a true test of any barista’s skills. Known for the even distribution of coffee and milk and served in a large cup with a dusting of chocolate on top, a cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee types in the UK, seconded only to the latte. If you’re a true frothy coffee lover you may be wondering what is a cappuccino and where it comes from. Keep reading to find out all you need to know…

What is a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is the perfect balance of espresso, steamed milk and foam. This coffee is all about the structure and the even splitting of all elements into equal thirds. An expertly made cappuccino should be rich, but not acidic and have a mildly sweet flavouring from the milk. And, because the milk is not actually mixed in it gives the espresso a stronger flavour.

Cappuccino origins

The cappuccino first came to Europe and America in 1980, around a similar time to the latte. Originating in Italy (as most good coffee does), lots of coffee from there has a name that when translated literally means how it’s made or what it includes – but the cappuccino is a little different. Apparently, the colouring of the espresso and frothed milk bore similarities to the hue of the Capuchin friar robes, and so, the wonderful beverage was dubbed the “cappuccino”.

Macchiato vs. cappuccino – what’s the difference?

If you’re ordering in a coffee shop you may be thinking macchiato vs. cappuccino, what’s the difference and what should I go for? Well, firstly you should understand the differences between the two. The macchiato starts off with a base of steamed milk, two shots of espresso and then a thin layer of milk foam on top – providing a much higher ratio of coffee to milk. A cappuccino on the other hand starts with a shot of espresso, then steamed milk and finishes with milk foam on top, all in a perfectly balanced ratio.

Now you know what is a cappuccino and should have all the information you need for your next macchiato vs. cappuccino debate. Looking for a slightly stronger option? Discover our guide to what is an americano, next.

Cappuccino Milkshake

Cappuccino Milkshake

Get inspired. Try this NESCAFÉ coffee recipe today!

View the recipe

Other articles you might be interested in

  • What is a Americano?

    The americano is often mistaken for just a standard black coffee, but it's so much more than that.

  • What is an Espresso?

    Espresso forms the base of many coffee beverages, but exactly what is an espresso & what makes it different to others?

  • What is a Cortado?

    The cortado is relatively new in the world of coffee and many get it confused with a flat white. So, what is a cortado and what makes it different?

A woman drinking a cappuccino

Make your me-moment matter

Discover our range of NESCAFÉ GOLD frothy coffees for the perfect companion to your me-moment. 

Find out more