Is a Cappuccino Sweet? Info, Tips & More!

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So you like your traditional coffee with cream and sugar, but you feel like you could get more out of your coffee. You’ve considered a cappuccino, but you’re not sure if it’s sweet enough for you. 

Generally, cappuccino is a low-sugar beverage because it is based on one or more espressos. Cappuccinos tend to taste sweet because of the natural sugar in the milk and also due to the optional additives such as sugar or cocoa powder. The rich flavor and thick consistency of this classic Italian coffee make them seem slightly sweeter than regular coffee. 

A well-prepared espresso-based drink can be the perfect step to take your morning to the next level. It’s worth investing some time and experimenting to find out which one is right for you.

How Sweet is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is generally one of the least sweet options among espresso-based drinks. But the drink should still be significantly sweeter than filter coffee that doesn’t have a lot of added sugar and milk.

To understand this, we need to look at how a cappuccino is made. 

How to Make a Cappuccino?


A cappuccino has three basic ingredients and a fourth, optional one:

  • Espresso (single or double)
  • Steamed milk
  • Milk Foam
  • Chocolate powder or cinnamon (optional)

The first three ingredients should be the same. A cappuccino can be made with one or two shots of espresso, adjusting the amount of frothed milk. It can be topped with a layer of milk foam and sprinkled with some chocolate powder.

Apart from the chocolate powder, the cappuccino does not contain any additional sweeteners. However, the drink is two-thirds milk, and milk contains a high amount of natural sugar. 

In addition to this sweetness, the relatively smaller amount of liquid in a cappuccino provides a strong espresso flavor, and the milk foam adds richness and thickness to the overall experience. 

In comparison, the latte has a two-to-one ratio of frothed milk to espresso. A latte contains much more natural sugar, but the espresso flavor is masked a bit more, and it’s not as thick and creamy.

Drip coffee contains no natural sugar, so you would have to add more milk and sugar to make it similarly sweet as a cappuccino naturally is. 

Is a Cappuccino Healthy?

Finding the right coffee is always a delicate balance between evaluating ingredients, serving size, caffeine content, and taste preferences.

Cappuccinos do contain many more calories than black coffee. But for people who like their coffee rich and sweet, cappuccinos provide fewer calories than most lattes and do not require additional, possibly unnatural sweeteners. 

Most cappuccinos have over 100 calories per cup, and those calories come primarily from whole milk, which provides a good mix of protein and fat. A cappuccino contains no unhealthy ingredients, and those calories can round out a good breakfast and keep you fuller longer.

Cappuccinos tend to have fewer calories than lattes because they are made with less milk and don’t require the added sweeteners often added to coffee on tap. However, if you’re one of those coffee drinkers who have several cups a day, those calories add up quickly, and you may want to consider other options.

How to Make a Cappuccino

Coffee shop

Image credit: Stocksnap, Pixabay

If the whole milk in a regular cappuccino has too many calories or you prefer to avoid dairy, you can experiment and make a cappuccino with different types of milk. Just be prepared for trial and error.

If you are concerned about the fat content of whole milk, you can use low-fat or fat-free milk. All these types of milk will produce a slightly different foam, but a foam that does the job. Of concern is that the lower the fat content, the thinner the percentage of steamed milk in the drink and the thinner the taste. 

You can make a cappuccino with 2%, but a lower fat content will result in a taste that tastes like poorly made filter coffee.

If you are lactose intolerant, lactose-free milk still contains the necessary fat and protein to produce the thickness and foam you expect from a cappuccino. But again, go for whole milk.

If you’re looking for non-dairy alternatives, soy milk comes closest to the protein and fat content of whole milk and therefore produces a relatively thick cappuccino with good foam. Other alternatives, such as oat milk and almond milk, can make a good latte, but don’t have enough protein to produce a thick foam needed for a cappuccino. 

With all these options, it’s worth experimenting with different brands to find the one that suits you best. However, if you don’t have a dairy allergy, we recommend enjoying a traditional cappuccino with whole milk in all its glory and then considering lower-calorie coffee options if you need an extra cup. There’s nothing wrong with whole milk, and you’ll get by far the best cappuccino experience.

Finally, if you are thinking of adding buttermilk to your coffee, we would advise against it because buttermilk would make it too salty and acidic.

Should You Add Cocoa Powder to a Cappuccino

Cocoa powder on a table health benefits

Image credit: Getty Images

Although the recipe for a cappuccino is generally accepted, there is some debate about whether cocoa powder in coffee is a good idea.

This depends on where you are and who you are making the cappuccino for. If you’re inspired by Italian cappuccinos, you may want to avoid chocolate, but in many other countries, such as the UK, it’s the norm. In the US, it varies from coffee shop to coffee shop.

However, unless you plan to open a coffee shop, you can go with your personal preferences. Not enough chocolate is added to significantly affect the sweetness or calorie content of the cappuccino. A light dusting adds a hint of chocolate to the flavor and also makes the drink look more elegant. Try both options and see what works best for you. 

Final Thoughts

Is a cappuccino sweet then? Yes, it is sweeter than plain espresso but less sweet than a latte. Luckily, how sweet your cappuccino tastes are within your control.

Just choose the right amount and type of milk, sugar, and additives, or ask your barista to adjust it for you. We hope that you will enjoy your cappuccino!