Coffee lovers are usually very picky with their drinks. But sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between two coffees. Isn’t all coffee the same? Well, today, we will discuss the question of flat white vs latte!
A flat white is basically an espresso with added steamed milk. A latte is usually larger, has more milk foam, and is more diluted than a flat white. Their difference lies mainly in size and milk amount.
Let’s dive deeper into these two coffee styles and see what they have to offer.
The Flat White
Let’s start off by understanding what a flat white coffee is. This will give us context for the differences between a flat white vs latte.
This is a cup of an espresso shot mixed with foamed milk poured to create the perfect sleek flavor and texture. Starting off with one or two shots of espresso, the hot milk is then poured over the coffee.
The uniqueness of a flat white really comes from the microfoam. The milk added to the coffee must be steamed with a machine wand. This is called “microfoam” due to the small barely-visible bubbles formed inside the milk during this process. It really is micro since these balls are hardly noticeable. These bubbles can easily break, so the temperature must be kept consistent throughout the entire steaming process.
Top Tip: The milk must be foamed correctly; otherwise, you aren’t really drinking a flat white, but a regular coffee with milk. This consistency is almost liquid and fuses with the coffee beautifully.
The elegant foam is what helps the flat white achieve its distinct texture and taste, allowing the coffee and milk mixture to receive its title
Pouring is also essential in order to create the perfect even mixture.
Ideally, a flat white will be served a 160-165ml tulip cup. This is smaller than a cup for a latte and is meant to be enjoyed quickly!
A Brief History of the Flat White
In order to realize what makes this drink so special, we must first dive into the history of it. People tend not to take coffee seriously, but this is a drink that has evolved over thousands of years. The roots of the flat white reach back several decades.
When the second world war ended, many people from Italy and Great Britain moved to Australia to continue their life. Of course, they brought not only suitcases but also their culture with them. A large part of this was the tradition of coffee making. If you took a trip around Australia at the time, you would notice lots of cafes serving all types of different coffees. These were specialties you couldn’t find anywhere else.
But the English people were a bit behind on the coffee trend and didn’t really know about the cappuccino or the latte. So, they honored their roots by adapting their tea making techniques and methods to create the “Flat White“ coffee.
During the 80s, coffee was very much integrated into Australian society and trade. This was because of the Third Wave coffee movement. The flat white was further developed with more professional foam and pouring methods. Baristas noticed that by pouring in different ways and speeds, different patterns formed on the coffees. This is where latte art took off, and they started decorating cups with beautiful and unique motifs.
To prepare a delicious cup of flat white, you are going to need:
- A milk foamer or a coffee machine with a steam nozzle preparing milk foam
- A jug for milk
- A cup for the coffee
- A double espresso (~35 ml)
- Fresh milk
Start by making a double espresso shot on your machine or however you prefer, and pour it into the bottom of your cup.
Next, prepare a different cup or jug and place your milk inside. Steam it with your steamer until you notice around 2cm of foam building up. Then, stop steaming and hold the jug until the tip is around 4cm above your coffee cup. Pour out your foam steadily into the coffee.
Once you notice the volume of your mixture rising, bring the milk cup close to the surface while pouring into the center area. Then, start tilting it to accelerate your pouring rate. Once the pouring starts to speed up, the milk will form a pattern on the top, creating a beautiful and refreshing flat white coffee.
Food Pairings for a Flat White
A flat white is great alone, but sometimes it needs a partner. Here are some of our favorite pairings for a flat white coffee.
A light and fluffy muffin is perfect for this coffee. Blueberry muffins are easy to bake and can be enjoyed with your daily cup of joe! If you are feeling adventurous, we recommend going for a savory muffin such as one with meat and cheese. These contrasting flavors will bring a new and unique taste to your palate.
These goodies are very light and are a perfect match for the delicious coffee and milk mixture that is the flat white. The buttery flavors of the croissant will deliciously mix with the creaminess of your coffee, creating a smooth texture in your mouth. We are getting hungry just writing about this pairing!
What is a better pair for coffee than coffee? An affogato, which is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a little bit of espresso poured on top, is the perfect match for a flat white. Once you try this duo, you won’t be able to get enough!
Biscotti is truly a perfect match for any coffee, and a flat white is no exception. The combination of a creamy coffee with a dry and crispy treat is just fantastic.
You truly can never go wrong with a chocolate and coffee pairing. This duo works every time, no matter what your preferred flavors are, and is a great way to relax during your work break.
Author Note: A smooth flat white is a perfect match for a piece of milk of dark chocolate. Even chocolate-dipped fruits fit into this category. Chocolate goes great with both flat white vs latte.
Fruits and Cheese
Berries, dried fruits, and sharp cheeses are the perfect match for any espresso-based drink. Try to choose fruits that aren’t too sour in order to avoid making the coffee taste bitter. Go for a handful of blueberries and enjoy your flat white!
Okay, enough about the flat white, let’s move on to lattes.
What Is A Latte?
This is a drink you have surely tried a few times in your life; it is one of the classics. This drink consists of some espresso and steamed milk, just like the flat white. Even the name from Italian translates straight to “coffee & milk.”
Combine 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, a layer of microfoam, and you are ready to go. Compared to an espresso shot of a flat white, these drinks are usually prepared in larger mugs or glasses.
To make your own latte, you are going to need:
- A cup of espresso (prepared by yourself or from a machine)
- A milk frother
- A jug for milk
- Around 8 ounces of fresh milk
- A cup for the coffee
Start by preparing your espresso in a mug, then leaving it be for now.
Add your milk into a jug for steaming, then angle it, so the steam wand is located in the lower right quadrant. Turn the machine on to start the frothing process. This part can get loud, so be warned.
The milk should be moving round and round by now. The tip of your want should only be two inches below the surface, without touching the jug walls. Try to maintain this position as steady as possible. If you start to notice overflowing, then the wand is too close to the surface and should be in deeper. Your milk bubbles should be tiny and barely noticeable.
When the jug is hot enough to hold for only a few seconds, stop the machine. Tap and swirl your milk, so you get rid of any larger bubbles there may be. In the end, you should have an even layer of tiny bubbles. Gently pour out a three-quarter-inch layer of foamy milk onto your espresso slowly.
Compared to a flat white, this is much more milk in your cup! If you prefer a more diluted and creamy flavor, this is the coffee for you.
Latte Food Pairings
Lattes come with a lot of “strings” attached; here are some of our favorites.
The cocoa in a chocolate spread like Nutella is a perfect match for coffee. If you are feeling brave enough, you can even add it to your latte. Otherwise, spread it on a piece of toast and enjoy!
French Toast and Belgian Waffles
Speaking of toast, another famous latte pairing. Whether it is gourmet French toast or just a classic one, this is a great match for your cup of joe. To mix it up, try adding salted caramel, nuts, or berries to your bread and feel your mouth explode with flavor.
Author Note: Another popular breakfast food is Belgian waffles. These fluffy and light goodies are also great with a latte. Pair it once, and you won’t be able to stop!
Once again, what is better with coffee than coffee! This incredible cake has coffee in the recipe, so of course, it is going to be a good match for your latte. The tiramisu’s smoothness and the creaminess of the coffee are a duo like no other!
Scones and tea are a tale as old as time. But this doesn’t mean your latte doesn’t like a good blueberry scone! Fruity scones are a perfect match for your cup of coffee. If you don’t like the sweetness, go for an unsweetened scone. The latte’s creamy flavor will compensate for the lack of sugar, so you won’t be missing out on anything!
As you can tell, these buttery and flaky treats are a match for any coffee. The textures combine to form fireworks in your mouth. A latte will only intensify the flavor of your croissant, whether it is plain or with chocolate and nuts. Try it out for yourself and see!
No matter if you like oatmeal and raisin cookies or chocolate chip cookies, this is the perfect treat for a coffee. The light flavor and texture of a cookie go great with your cup of joe.
If you aren’t a fan of sweets, this is the option for you. Eggs and ham are a great pairing for your latte. The eggs could be in any form, whether it is boiled or an omelet that you prefer. So next time you are at brunch, keep this duo in mind when you make your order.
Flat White vs Latte
As you can see, these coffees are very similar yet have a few differences. A flat white tends to have less steamed milk when compared to a latte. The latte usually comes in a larger mug with more diluted coffee.
Texturally, the milk also differs, with flat white milk being more liquid while that of a latte is more frothy. If you love a strong coffee, the flat white is for you. A latte is for those who love to have a coffee with breakfast without feeling the bitterness and kick of it directly.
In the end, it is really up to you to choose which coffee you prefer. We can tell you all about it here, but unless you try them both for yourself, you won’t really know. So take some time to go grab a coffee from your local barista or make it yourself. Try both and see which becomes your next go-to coffee.
We hope you understood the difference between a flat white and a latte, so you can impress your friends at the next brunch! You can even help them pair their coffee with the perfect menu food. Keep our tips in mind, but don’t forget, coffee is all about experimenting! We hope you enjoyed this article on the differences between a Flat White vs Latte.
Stay caffeinated, friends!