Is a Cappuccino Sweet? (Plus How to Make It Sweeter)

Coffee lovers all over the world adore cappuccinos. This popular drink, when made well, is a perfect balance of flavors.

One of the intriguing aspects of cappuccinos is their delicate balance of flavors. These flavors include sweetness and although cappuccinos are not very sweet on their own, they are sweeter than some other espresso-based drinks.

In this article, we will delve into the subject of cappuccinos and their sweetness. We will also explore how this delicious drink can be tailored to satisfy individual taste preferences.

What is a Cappuccino?

Before we look into the sweetness of cappuccinos, let’s start with the basics. A traditional cappuccino consists of one-third espresso, one-third milk foam, and the last third is steamed milk. Both the quality of the ingredients and the skill in crafting the drink play really important roles in making the perfect cappuccino.

The Quality of the Ingredients

The Role of Milk

As a cappuccino consists of two-thirds milk, it stands to reason that the role of the milk you use is quite important. Milk contains a natural sugar called lactose. It gives a natural sweetness to the drink. This means that a cappuccino is sweeter than a cortado, for example, because a cortado is equal parts milk and espresso. However, it is still not quite as sweet as a mocha with added chocolate.

Frothed milk has a creamy texture and enhances the overall flavor profile of the cappuccino.

Whole milk works best for frothing milk, but if you can’t or don’t want to drink whole milk, two percent milk also does the trick. However, if you are aiming for a sweeter cup of coffee, milk with a higher fat content is a bit sweeter than those with less fat.

Milk Alternatives

Lactose-free milk is a substitute for normal milk. It still makes quite good foamed milk and is actually a bit sweeter than normal milk. This means that if you use it, your drink might be a tiny bit sweeter.

Another option for a milk substitute is soy milk. In terms of fat and protein content, it is quite similar to regular milk, so, it makes pretty good milk froth. You could also try almond milk if you want.


Quite often you will hear that people order their cappuccino with cream. In these cases, the thick layer of foam on top is replaced with whipped cream. In many cases, whipped cream is actually sweetened. However, normal unsweetened cream is also sweeter than milk.

This means that ordering your cappuccino with cream instead of a layer of milk foam will also add to the sweetness of your drink.

The Espresso Factor

While the milk brings some sweetness to the cappuccino, it’s important to note that the espresso itself is not inherently sweet. In fact, espresso tends to have a robust and sometimes bitter taste. The combination of the bold espresso and the naturally sweet milk creates a harmonious balance that characterizes a well-made cappuccino.

However, some coffee beans tend to give you a bit of a sweeter brew. For example, one of the differences between Starbucks’s blonde and normal espresso is that blonde roast espresso is a bit sweeter.

Customizing Sweetness

Cappuccinos can be customized to suit individual preferences for sweetness. Here are a few ways to adjust the sweetness of your cappuccino:


​You can, of course, always add sweeteners to your drink to make sure that your cappuccino tastes as sweet as you would like it to.

Something like white or brown sugar, simple syrup, or even sweeteners like xylitol, erythritol, or stevia.

If you want to use one of these to sweeten your cappuccino, start by adding a little bit and then increase it until you are satisfied with the taste. Just remember that the added sugar or other sweeteners will add some extra calories to your drink.

Flavored Syrups

Another thing that you can use to sweeten your cappuccino is to add a flavored syrup. There are almost a limitless amount of flavors and kinds available on the market. Although you might not be able to find it in all convenience stores, chances are that one of the bigger grocery stores near you will stock them.

The flavors that you can try include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and even chocolate syrup. I quite like vanilla or caramel syrup in my coffee as a special treat.


​This option might seem strange to you, however, many spices have a sweet taste. If you add one of them to your cappuccino, you will not only add a special flavor to it, but also a hint of sweetness.

Spices that you can try include cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom. Just be careful not to add too much. You don’t ruin your perfectly good cappuccino. Like with the sweeteners that I mentioned earlier, start with a little bit and increase it until you get the desired taste.

Other Toppings

You could also try other sweet toppings with your cappuccino.

Adding some chocolate shavings on top, for example, will not only make your cappuccino pretty, it will also add some sweetness. The same goes for chocolate powder or even cocoa powder

Like with your other options, always remember that the amounts you add are based on personal preference. So, don’t add too much at once.

Where Can You Get Fancy Cappuccinos?

Okay, so let’s be honest. You won’t get these fancy cappuccinos at just any coffee shop. Some specialty coffee shops might stock them. However, I’ve not seen flavored cappuccinos quite often as a standard item on menus at coffee shops.

That doesn’t say that you can’t get them, though. You can just ask the barista to add some syrup or whatever to your drink.

Of course, you can always make your own. This will give you far more freedom to experiment with the different flavors.

Conclusion: Is A Cappuccino Sweet?

Cappuccinos are one of the most popular coffee drinks. It’s natural sweet flavors are not very strong and if you want a really sweet drink, you would have to add some other ingredients.

So, next time that you make a cappuccino or order one from your favorite coffee shop, maybe try something new.

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