Flat White vs Latte: Ending the Debate

Updated: Jun 12

Espresso, latte, cappuccino, and Americano—are only some of the most popular coffee blends we love getting from coffee shops or making at home.

Either one of these blends is a great way to jumpstart your day and improve your overall mood and vibe.

If you are a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard about flat white coffee, which we often compare with a latte.

Some say it’s just a type of latte with a slightly different mix, while others think it offers a unique kick compared to a latte.

Today, we’ll talk about the minute differences between flat white vs latte in hopes of helping you figure out which is the better choice.

What Is a Flat White Coffee?

Getting to the bottom of how flat white coffee came to be is more complicated than you might first believe. This is because more than a few people claim to have invented this coffee blend.

New Zealand and Australia both want to take credit, but there are also claims that it was first blended in England way back in the 1950s.

If you haven’t had both a latte and a flat white, it can be very easy to mistake the two. This is especially true if you don’t have any idea how to make them.

Similar to a latte, flat white we serve with two shots of espresso mixed with steamed milk.

Others refer to it as a small latte because of its relatively similar taste and preparation. This drink comes in a smaller cup, though.

Why do we call it Flat White?

The term “flat white” is derived from how the drink is prepared. You’d find that it has a thinner layer of steamed milk than latte.

“Flat” came from the thin layer of milk, and “white” refers to the milk’s color.

From this, we can conclude that the name “flat white” came from the visual appearance of this type of coffee blend.

Compared with latte, the “white” or milk is not too much, and it looks flat.

Can You Make Flat White at Home?

If you are eager to try this blend, you will be glad to know that you can actually prepare flat white at home.

This coffee blend is not too different from latte and cappuccinos.

As long as you have an espresso machine, you can try making your own flat white at home. The only thing that you need to master is the proper mixing and steaming of the milk.

You can use different techniques to steam milk, and you have to follow specific steps depending on the coffee blend you want to prepare.

Are Flat White Coffees the Same Anywhere in the World?

No, flat white coffee can be very different depending on where you are located.

Although there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to preparing a cup of flat white coffee, most baristas have their own versions.

Some use bigger cups, and others use more milk, making it hard to distinguish whether it is actually a flat white or a latte.

Flat White vs Latte

As mentioned, the difference between flat white and latte is not easy to establish.

In fact, even if you love coffee and you’ve tried both flat white and latte, it will be hard to notice the difference.

You’d have to look closely at several factors to try to distinguish one from the other.

flat white vs latte

Difference Between Latte and Flat White

To know how these two coffee blends differ, you’d have to ask several questions:

1. What Size Cup Do We Serve it in?

The most noticeable difference between a latte and flat white is the serving size.

A regular latte is served in a 240 ml cup, while a flat white coffee is only served in a 160 ml cup.

You have to take note that these values may change depending on what country you are currently in or the coffee shop you’re ordering from.

However, these are the general rule of thumb when serving flat white and latte.

You cannot call it latte if you serve it in a smaller cup, and this goes with flat white, as well.

2. Is Flat White Stronger than Latte?

If you know what is a flat white coffee, it is pretty easy to figure out which one is stronger.

Remember that both drinks have the same amount of espresso. Usually you serve both latte and flat white with two shots of espresso.

If you drink coffee often and you’ve tried both flat white and latte, you can easily tell that flat white is stronger.

With a 160 ml cup, the flat white mix would have a much stronger coffee flavor because of the difference in the amount of milk added.

Although served with the same amount of espresso, the latte has more milk, which would smoothen the taste of the coffee.

You serve Latte in a bigger cup, which means it would contain more milk, making it creamier.

3. How Do You Prepare the Milk?

The difference between latte and flat white is actually in the milk.

You top flat white with a thin layer of steamed milk compared to the steamed milk and foamed milk added to a latte.

Also, the steamed milk used in a flat white coffee is different from latte. Because they refer to it as “microfoam.”

The milk has a glossy finish and a more velvety texture compared to the milk used for latte.

The preparation for the milk is completely different for latte and flat white. Which is why it should produce a different taste, as well.

4. How Different Do They Taste?

The biggest difference between flat white and latte is their taste.

We’ve mentioned that flat white is stronger, and latte is milkier. Still, it doesn’t explain the actual taste of the coffee blends.

You make both of them are made with two shots of espresso. However, the milk preparation is what made the taste different for both types of coffee.

When you use a steam wand to froth the milk, you form three layers:

  1. Liquid milk at the bottom of the pitcher

  2. Velvety microfoam at the middle

  3. Stiff froth or large bubbles

When preparing a flat white, you need to have a good mix of liquid milk and froth. The velvety microfoam in the middle should mix with the liquid milk at the bottom of the pitcher.

Most baristas would free pour the milk into the cup to achieve this.

As for latte, the target is the liquid milk from the bottom. Typically, you use a spoon to hold back the froth from mixing and then top it off with froth.

Because of this, a latte is like coffee with a lot of milk. While flat white is like a yummier version of espresso.

The combination of froth and milk would make the espresso creamier. But the milk will not overpower the taste of the espresso.

5. What Is Healthier Flat White or Latte?

In terms of fats and calories, flat white is healthier compared with latte.

If you are trying to lose weight or want to maintain your weight. It is not a good idea to drink latte regularly since it has more fats and calories.

The same goes for flat white. They both contain a lot of fats and calories. But it is a better alternative than a latte if you want to stay slim.


For coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts, there is no meaning to the comparison between latte and flat white.

They are different in many ways. There are so many factors to point out, that would differentiate one from the other.

Still, you will find hundreds of flat white vs latte comparisons online, and they all have the same conclusion.

Both of these blends are amazing in their own right. It’s just that some prefer a milkier mix, while others like flat white because of its bolder and stronger taste.

The unique kick of the espresso is still there, but it gives a hinge of milk and creaminess.

The type of coffee you want would be based on your own preference, so there really is no winner or loser on this debate.