Flat White vs Latte: Ending the Debate
Updated: Oct 20
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 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 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 in the 1950s.
If you haven’t had a latte and a flat white, it can be very easy to mistake them. This is especially true if you don’t know how to make them.
Like a latte, we serve flat white with two shots of espresso mixed with steamed milk.
Others call it a small latte because of its similar taste and preparation. This drink comes in a smaller cup, though.
Why do we call it Flat White?
The term “flat white” derives from the prepared drink. You’d find that it has a thinner layer of steamed milk than a 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 a latte, the “white” or milk is not too much and 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 prepare flat white at home.
This coffee blend is not too different from Latte and cappuccinos.
If you have an espresso machine, you can try making your flat white at home. The only thing you need to master is the proper mixing and steaming of the milk.
You can use different techniques to steam milk, and you must 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 your location.
Although there is a general rule of thumb when preparing a cup of flat white coffee, most baristas have their versions.
Some use bigger cups, and others use more milk, making it hard to distinguish whether it is a flat white or a latte.
Flat White vs. Latte
As mentioned, flat white and Latte differences are difficult to establish.
Even if you love coffee and have tried flat white and Latte, it will be hard to notice the difference.
You’d have to look closely at several factors to distinguish one from the other.
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 serving size is the most noticeable difference between a latte and flat white.
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, which also goes with a flat white.
2. Is Flat White Stronger than Latte?
If you know what a flat white coffee is, 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 espresso shots.
If you drink coffee often and try 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 would contain more milk, making it creamier.
3. How Do You Prepare the Milk?
The difference between a 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 differs from a latte. Because they refer to it as “microfoam.”
The milk has a glossy finish and a more velvety texture than the milk used for the Latte.
The preparation for the milk is completely different from a latte and flat white. This 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 made the taste different for both types of coffee.
When you use a steam wand to froth the milk, you form three layers:
Liquid milk at the bottom of the pitcher
Velvety microfoam in the middle
Stiff froth or large bubbles
When preparing a flat white, you must 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 the 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. In contrast, 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?
A flat white is healthier than a latte in terms of fats and calories.
Suppose you are trying to lose weight or want to maintain your weight. Drinking a latte regularly is not good 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 comparing 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 preference, so there is no winner or loser in this debate.