Friday, September 9, 2022

Latte vs. Flat White (What’s The Difference?)

by Mads

Coffee latte and flat white are two of the most popular espresso-based beverages in cafés throughout the globe, but what are they and what is the difference? You’ll find the answer in this article.

Caffe Latte

Caffé Latte, also known as a latte, is an espresso-based drink that has two or three espressos and a little bit of steamed milk in it. People used to serve it in tall glasses, but now they’re more likely to serve it in a bigger cup. A lot has changed over the years, too. The traditional latte has only one espresso and a 250ml glass, but as drink sizes have gotten bigger, it’s more common to find your latte served in 350ml cups and with two.
Some things about latte and flat white that are the same as cappuccino are how much foam they have. Latte and flat white should have less foam, and cappuccino should have more. Then, what is less? If the drink is served in a glass, the amount of foam looks bigger than if it is served in a cup. Here are the standards1:

  • Caffe Latte 1-2 cm of foam
  • Flat White 1-2 cm of foam 
  • Cappuccino 2-4 cm of foam

Despite the name, a caffe latte is not a strong cup of coffee; rather, it is a milky beverage with a slight flavor of coffee. It’s ideal for those just getting into coffee or those who like a stronger cup with less coffee flavor. Caramel latte, cafe mocha, and vanilla latte are all examples of latte-based espresso beverages.

Origins of Caffe Latte

In Italy, the word latte means milk. The term “latte” in English-speaking countries means “caffelatte” (caffè and latte) or “caffellatte” (caffelatte and latte). Coffee and milk are what the Italian form means, like the French café au lait, the Spanish café con leche, and the Portuguese café com leite. This is the same as the Italian form.

Preparation of Caffe Latte

It is usually made with one standard shot of espresso (either single, 30mL, or double, 60mL) in a 240 mL (8oz) glass or cup. Then, it is filled with steamed milk and topped with a layer of foamed milk about 12 mm (½ inch) thick. Strong or bold coffee (espresso) may also be mixed with scalded milk in a 1:1 ratio to make a cup of coffee.

Flat White

The flat white, like the vast majority of other espresso-based beverages, had its genesis in Australia. Flat whites may be served in a tiny mug or in a glass, depending on the establishment. Flat whites are often served in 200-ml cups and are made with two espressos, which gives them a stronger coffee flavor than latte and cappuccino. There should be no more than a millimeter of foam in this case, as stated in the name. Flat whites are ideal for latte art because they have less froth and more espresso, allowing for a fantastic contrast between the double espresso and the lightly steamed milk.

Latte Art

Latte art is a way of making coffee that involves putting microfoam into a shot of espresso to create a pattern or design on the surface. It may also be made by “drawing” in the top layer of foam. Latte art is difficult to make consistently due to the requirements imposed on both the espresso and the milk.

Preparation of Flat White

Step 1: Pour around 35ml of espresso into the bottom of your cup using your coffee maker.

Step 2: Add around 1-2cm of foam on top of the milk by using the steamer attachment. The nozzle of the jug should be held approximately 3-4cm above the cup, and the milk should be poured in slowly. Keeping the jug as near as possible to the surface of the drink as you pour, attempt to pour toward the center as volume grows Tilt the milk container so that it’s nearly brushing the coffee’s surface when you’re ready to pour. To produce a pattern, the milk will naturally fold inward toward the cup’s rim as you speed up.

The Main Difference Between Caffe Latte & Flat White

There are many similarities between the standard flat white and latte, but you can identify the difference by looking at your brew when it arrives.

In Australia, a latte is often served in a 7 or 8 oz glass due to the larger cup size. Even if you’re not in Australia, most second wave cafés will let you choose even larger portions.

In contrast, flat whites are often served in a ceramic cup with a capacity of 5 or 6 ounces. There is a distinct taste difference between this smaller amount size and a cappuccino or lattes because of the tighter milk to coffee ratio.

Each beverage has a different quantity of espresso in it. The base of a cappuccino or latte is traditionally made with a shot of espresso. Typically, flat whites contain two espresso shots or possibly a ristretto to add flavor and caffeine.

Ratios & Milk Makes The Cut

A flat white utilizes less steamed milk than a latte, which results in a sweeter drink. The steaming procedure caramelizes the milk’s sugars, resulting in a chemical reaction that causes the milk to thicken.

At least 1cm of milk foam or microfoam are required for latte art to work, but the typical flat white has less than 1cm of milk foam or microfoam, but still enough to generate latte art.

In terms of mouthfeel, the flat white is smoother and more velvety than a latte, which has a richer and more airy frothed milk.

When it comes to foam, things become a little blurry these days since there isn’t much of a difference between lattes and flat whites in terms of flavor. A small coating of frothed milk on top of the steamed milk is all that is needed to generate latte art in certain specialty coffee establishments.

As a former barista, I used to create my flat whites with two espresso shots and additional heated milk in order to give them a more cafe au lait-like texture.


Ratios are everything. This holds true for almost every kind of coffee beverage you can find.

It is advisable to ask your barista questions about the process of making their beverages, particularly if you love to visit a variety of coffee shops. Their take on the beverage may vary from your own or from that of your preferred coffeehouse.

In case you still don’t know which coffee is best for you? Don’t be afraid to try new recipes and drinks. You never know what your new favorite will be!

Either way, just keep on brewing!

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