Latte and skinny latte are both espresso beverages that are made using milk. However, the difference mainly lies in the type of milk used and the overall calorie content. Ultimately, the better drink between the two depends on your palate/personal preferences.
What is a latte?
A latte, or café latte, is a coffee-based beverage that’s basically a mixture of espresso and steamed milk. Traditionally, to make a latte, baristas mix one parts espresso with two parts steamed milk. They then top off the drink with a thin layer of milk foam.
You can also substitute the coffee in a latte with tea, in which case it becomes a chai latte and not a café latte. For a richer flavor, you can also add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, and mocha syrups to your latte.
Lattes are great for those who wish to enjoy coffee-based drinks but don’t fancy the strong taste of coffee by itself. The milk in the latte dilutes the strong espresso for a milder, sweeter beverage.
The traditional latte uses whole milk which has a distinctively rich and warm taste when steamed. However, due to seasonal demands, health concerns, and consumers picking up animal activism, there are other latte variations, as described below:
i. Iced latte– this type of latte substitutes steamed milk with chilled milk and ice cubes. Iced lattes are a popular cod beverage in the hot summer months.
ii. Skinny latte– this type of latte uses low-fat milk. It’s great for those with health concerns who prefer not to consume whole milk which has a high-fat content.
iii. Vegan latte– vegan lattes substitute animal milk with plant-based milk products such as almond milk or coconut milk.
What is a skinny latte?
A skinny latte is a type of latte that’s made using low-fat/skimmed milk instead of whole milk. As a result, this type of latte has a lower calorie content and is considered healthier than a standard latte.
Since a skinny latte uses 2% milk, it lacks the full flavor that’s characteristic of traditional lattes. What’s more, a skinny latte typically uses a higher amount of espresso and a lesser amount of milk, resulting in a more robust flavor.
Skinny lattes also replace sugary ingredients with low-calorie/sugar-free syrups for added flavor. And since more espresso is used (pure espresso is almost calorie-free), the calorie content is lowered even further. As a result, a typical cup of skinny latte has about only 80 calories.
Latte vs skinny latte differences
The regular latte differs from the traditional latte in terms of the type of milk used, calorie content, espresso content, flavor, and texture.
Here is a table that summarizes the differences between a standard latte and a skinny latte:
|Made with whole milk||Made with skimmed/non-fat milk|
|Has a high fat/calorie content||Has a low fat/calorie content|
|Made using a single shot of espresso||Made using a double shot of espresso|
|Has a rich, creamy flavor||Has a mild, aromatic flavor|
|Has a dense texture with a thin layer of foam||Has a thin texture with an even thinner layer of foam|
Type of milk used
Latte is made using whole milk, which has a full, sweet taste and a thick texture. Skinny latte, on the other hand, is made using skimmed/low-fat/non-fat milk for lower calorie content.
A cup of latte has a significantly higher calorie content compared to a similar-sized cup of skinny latte. A latte contains about 110 calories while a skinny latte contains about 77 calories. As such, skinny lattes are preferable for those who want to steer clear of fats and sugars for health and dietary reasons.
A standard latte uses a single shot of espresso, whereas a skinny latte is typically made using a double shot of espresso. As a result, a regular latte has a fuller flavor while a skinny latte has a stronger taste. Additionally, a cup of skinny latte has a higher caffeine content (136mg) than a similar-sized cup of traditional latte (68mg).
A skinny latte has a light taste since it uses skimmed milk instead of whole milk. It’s also more aromatic due to the extra shot of espresso. By comparison, the traditional latte has a creamy, milky flavor and a weak coffee taste since it uses whole milk and has lesser espresso.
Also, you can add sweeteners to either of these drinks or take them without any sweeteners. However, lattes are typically made using sugary sweeteners, while skinny lattes are typically made using sugar-free sweeteners. The use of sugary vs sugar-free sweeteners results in about a 20-gram calorie difference between a regular latte and a skinny latte.
Latte has a thick, creamy texture due to the use of whole milk which has a high-fat content. By comparison, a skinny latte has a lighter texture with a watery consistency due to the use of skimmed milk which has minimal fat content. The thinner texture is also due to the fact that the skinny latte is topped off using less foam than the latte.
Which is better: latte or skinny latte?
The better choice between these two beverages depends on your personal preferences. When considering whether to make or order a latte or a skinny latte, consider the various differences.
For instance, if you prefer an espresso beverage with thin consistency and lower calorie content, you should go for a skinny latte. On the other hand, if you prefer something with a thicker texture and fuller taste, a traditional latte is recommended.
If you prefer healthy drinks with minimal calorie content, a skinny latte is what you should order. Skinny lattes are also the preferred option amongst vegan coffee enthusiasts since animal-based milk is often substituted with plant-based milk products like almond milk.
On the contrary, if you don’t fancy a drink with a high caffeine content, go for a standard latte which is usually made using a single shot of espresso instead of a double shot of espresso.