You know, those little 17-year-old all-knowing snobs who stand behind the counter and deign to serve you are trying to confuse you, trying to instill a sense of mystery in an overpriced product that will keep you guessing and coming back for more. We can’t do anything about the price, but at least we can help clear up the mystery. In this case, it’s a matter of proportion – latte has more milk.

In this country, cappuccino is a serving of espresso (about 2 ounces) with essentially similar amounts of milk and a rather stiff milk foam. Caffè latte is a serving of espresso with about three times as much milk, topped with a short head of foam. So a latte is milder and has a milkier taste.

While Starbucks has imposed rigid standards at every store in its chain, in practice in other coffeehouses and restaurants around the country, these drinks can vary substantially, and a cappuccino at one place could be similar to another coffeehouse’s latte, or even weaker. But not necessarily less expensive….