The Flat White and Latte are two of the most popular coffee shop drinks worldwide. In this article we will go into depth into what each drink is, the differences between them, and what drink you should order.
The Flat White
The Flat White is New Zealand’s claim to fame, although our Australian friends would beg to differ. Flat Whites first emerged in New Zealand and Australia in the 1980s and quickly became a symbol of the third-wave coffee movement.
It was thought to be created in reaction to the popular beverage at the time; the cappuccino. These cappuccinos were heaped high with airy froth, while coffee enthusiasts were wanting a flat, white coffee. And so the Flat White was conceived. Since then, the Flat White has gained notoriety in many parts and has become a staple on coffee shop menus worldwide.
What Is A Flat White?
The Flat White is best described as a small, strong Latte. It is always made with a double shot of espresso and steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of foam. The ratio of espresso to steamed milk ranges from 1:2 to 1:4, although 1:3 is most common. The steamed milk is textured to create a velvety consistency with a layer of microfoam on top. Flat Whites are usually served in a 150-180ml cup and topped with latte art.
What Does A Flat White Taste Like?
Flat Whites have a strong coffee flavor, with a velvety texture and creamy consistency. In many ways, they blend the coffee hit of a cappuccino with the textural qualities of a latte.
The Latte or Caffè Latte is one of the most popular espresso drinks worldwide. Caffee Latte is an Italian word that translates as milk coffee, which is a good interpretation of the drink. At its basic level, the latte is a sweet, milky drink with a mild coffee flavor. The drink consists of a double shot of espresso blended with steamed milk. Lattes are served in a larger cup than a Flat White, usually around 200-240 ml, to allow for more steamed milk and a little more foam on top.
While the concept of adding milk to coffee has been around for a long time, the modern latte appeared in the 1980s and was popularized in the US. Ironically, despite the Italian name, the latte did not originate in Italy and is not very common there. In fact, if you order a latte at an Italian cafe you will likely find yourself with a cup of milk.
Today the Latte has become a staple in coffee shops, with many variations; flavored lattes, chai latte, iced latte and milk alternatives.
What Is A Latte?
A Latte is prepared by combining a double shot of espresso with steamed milk and a little foamed milk on top. Lattes are usually served in larger 200-240ml glasses or cups to allow for a higher ratio of milk. While the ratio of espresso to milk varies, it is typically somewhere from 1:4 to 1:7.
The steamed milk is very similar to that of a Flat White with a creamy consistency that blends well with the espresso and allows baristas to pour latte art.
What Does A Latte Taste Like?
The Latte is popular with people who like a sweet, milky beverage with only a mild coffee flavor. The coffee flavor in a latte is a lot more subdued. In addition, a latte works well as a base for flavored drinks like a caramel or vanilla latte. It is also commonly paired with teas or alternative milks.
Flat White vs Latte- What Is The Difference?
There are several key differences between a Flat White and Latte.
Espresso To Milk Ratio
The first, and most important, is the espresso-to-milk ratio. While both drinks are typically made with a double shot of espresso, the Flat White is served in a smaller cup with less steamed milk. The Flat White has a ratio of 1:3 espresso to milk, whereas the Latte is around 1:4 or higher.
This means that the Flat White has a concentrated, bold espresso flavor, while the Latte is a more milky, mild drink.
The second difference is that Lattes and Flat Whites are served in different-sized cups. A Flat White is usually served in a cup of around 180ml, while a Latte is served in a larger glass or cup, around 240 ml. This allows room for the extra steamed milk that is added to Latte.
When it comes to milk texture, both the Latte and Flat White are very similar. The milk is steamed to create a velvety and creamy texture with a glossy finish. The milk texture is very important to enable the barista to pour latte art.
Historically, a Latte would have had slightly more foam on top than a Flat White, but the modern Flat White and Latte are now very similar with little difference in foam.
Which Is Stronger?
A Flat White is a stronger coffee drink, given the higher ratio of espresso to milk. A Flat White has a more concentrated espresso taste and is commonly drunk as is with no additives.
The Latte is a weaker drink, with a sweet, milky flavor. It is commonly paired with flavored syrups, teas, or alternative milks.
Which To Order- Flat White or Latte?
So which of these coffee drinks is right for you? In the end, it comes down to what type of coffee drinker you are. If you are into specialty coffee and enjoy tasting the nuanced flavors of a coffee, then the Flat White will be a better option for you. The Flat White is a stronger coffee drink with a bold flavor.
If you enjoy sipping as a larger drink and like to customize or add sweeteners to your coffee then a Latte is your best bet. The Latte is a mild, milky drink that pairs well with syrups, teas, and alternative milks.
Flat White vs Latte – In Summary
We hope this article has given some clarity on the difference between a Flat White vs Latte. Both drinks are coffee shop classics. The Flat White is a stronger drink, commonly served with 1 part espresso to 3 parts steamed milk. It is served in a smaller cup and has a concentrated coffee flavor, making it popular with espresso enthusiasts.
The Latte is a sweet, milky drink, that consists of 1 part espresso to 4-7 parts steamed milk. The latte is served in a larger cup and commonly paired with flavored syrups or teas, making it popular with general coffee lovers.