Top view of flat white and latte coffee cups with checkered background

Flat White Vs Latte: 11 Differences You Need to Know

Audrey Harrison
Home brewer

Have you ever visited a coffee shop and been overwhelmed with different coffee options?

Don't worry! We all are on the same track. Flat white and Latte are two of the most consumed espresso-based drinks.

Thus picking one from them is no doubt a challenging task. But don't worry! This blog is to help you make the right choice.

Today in this article, I will share with you details about Latte and Flat white.

Not just this, we will also share with you what differentiates them and how you can make it at home.

So let's get started.

Flat White Overview

What is Flat White?

A flat white is a smooth and creamy espresso-based drink. It consists of steamed milk, an espresso shot, and a thin layer of microfoam. It is a perfect balance of bold and slightly sweet flavors.

Flat white coffee served in white cup

Origins of Flat White

There is no clear answer when it comes to the origin of the flat white. It originated in the 1980s.

It came into the picture to serve coffee lovers who wanted a creamy drink beyond cappuccino which is sweet yet smooth enough. It is enjoyed worldwide but people of Oceania prefer it for their caffeine intake.

How to make Flat White?

Step 1: Pull an espresso shot

Begin by brewing a double shot of espresso using your reliable espresso machine. Here we are using 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk.

Step 2: Start steaming your milk

Steam your milk till it reaches the perfect temperature—around 140°F (60°C). You will observe the velvety microfoam over it when it is steamed well.

Step 3: Mix espresso and milk

Once done, gently pour the steamed milk over the espresso. Make sure that you hold back the foam over it with a spoon. Combine the espresso and milk with a thin layer of microfoam on top.

Step 4: Finish with extra foam

Lastly add a fine touch of foam on top of your flat white, if you want it to be more creamy. You can also create different intricate patterns or designs on top to make it more appealing.

Latte Overview

What is latte?

A latte is a coffee drink that's brewed using an espresso shot and steamed milk. It is more sweet. Also called the Caffe Latte in Italy, it is today consumed all over the world by coffee lovers who want their coffee to be more infused with milk.

Latte coffee served in a white cup with cookie

Origins of latte

The origin of the latte belongs to Italian coffee culture. In the 20th century, it became coffee lovers' favorite by serving as a variation of traditional espresso drinks that can be easily customized.

Latte is generally made using a ratio of 1:2 espresso to milk. Flavored and iced lattes have been popular for their versatility and adaptability to match the coffee preferences of different coffee lovers.

How to make a latte?

Step 1: Brew your espresso

Use an espresso machine and brew a concentrated espresso shot. Around 30 ml is enough. You can go for espresso or a strong coffee.

Step 2: Steam your milk

Turn the heat on and steam your milk, till it is smooth and creamy in consistency. Around 60 ml will be good enough. Make sure you don't scald the milk.

Step 3: Mix espresso and milk

Now take a mug and add the freshly brewed espresso into it. Once done, gently pour the steamed milk over it and create a foamy layer on top.

Step 4: Add flavorings for additional flavors

Top it with flavorings like vanilla syrup or caramel sauce to enhance the taste of your Latte.

Your latte is ready to sip.

Flat White vs Latte: Differences Explained

The main differences between a flat white and a latte lie in the milk-to-espresso ratio, texture, and flavor. Flat whites have a higher coffee-to-milk ratio, a smoother texture, and a bolder coffee flavor, while lattes have a higher milk content, a creamier texture, and a milder coffee flavor.

1) Origin

Flat white is believed to have originated in Australia or New Zealand, where it became popular in the 1980s before spreading to other parts of the world. Latte, on the other hand, has its roots in Italy and has been a staple of Italian coffee culture for centuries.

2) Milk

Both flat white and latte are made with espresso and steamed milk, but the milk-to-espresso ratio differs between the two drinks. A flat white has a higher ratio of coffee to milk, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor, while a latte has more milk, giving it a creamier texture and milder coffee taste.

3) Texture

The texture of a flat white is smooth and velvety, with a thin layer of creamy foam on top, achieved through steaming the milk to create microfoam. In contrast, a latte has a creamier and frothier texture due to the higher milk content and thicker layer of foam.

4) Size

Flat whites are typically served in smaller cups than lattes, with a standard flat white being around 5-6 ounces. Lattes, on the other hand, are usually served in larger cups, ranging from 8-12 ounces or more, due to their higher milk content.

5) Flavor

Flat whites are known for their strong and bold coffee flavor, with a slightly sweet and creamy taste from the steamed milk. Lattes have a more balanced flavor, with the milk adding a creamy texture and mellowing out the espresso flavor.

6) Foam

The foam in a flat white is thin and velvety, adding a smooth texture to the drink. In a latte, the foam is thicker and more frothy, sitting on top of the milk and espresso mixture.

7) Preparation

To prepare a flat white, baristas steam the milk to create microfoam and pour it over a shot of espresso. A latte is made by pouring steamed milk over a shot of espresso and topping it with a thick layer of foam.

8) Strength

Flat whites are stronger in coffee flavor compared to lattes, as they have a higher coffee-to-milk ratio. Lattes have a milder coffee taste due to the higher milk content.

9) Popularity

Flat whites have gained popularity in recent years, particularly in specialty coffee shops and cafes, where they are seen as a more sophisticated alternative to lattes. Lattes, on the other hand, have been a popular choice for coffee drinkers for many years and are widely available at coffee chains and cafes worldwide.

10) Variations

While both drinks have traditional recipes, there are variations of flat white and latte that incorporate different flavors or ingredients. For example, flavored syrups can be added to lattes to create different flavor profiles, while flat whites can be made with different types of milk, such as almond or oat milk.

11) Serving Style

Flat whites are served in a ceramic cup, while lattes are often served in a glass or tall cup to showcase the layers of espresso, milk, and foam.

Latte or Flat White: Which coffee should you choose?

The choice between a flat white and a latte narrows down to personal taste preferences.

If you are someone who enjoys a stronger, bolder coffee with a denser texture and little sweetness, then flat white is a perfect match for you.

On the other hand, if you want a milder, more balanced coffee experience with a creamier texture and a thicker layer of foam, then a latte might be ideal.

Wrapping up

Here, I have got you covered with the differences between latte and flat white.

That's all for latte versus flat white. I hope now you can confidently choose between a Flat White and a Latte based on your taste buds.

Thus if you're in the mood for a bold and intense coffee experience or a smooth and creamy treat, there's a perfect drink waiting for you to enjoy.

Are you team Latte or team Flat white? Share with us in the comments below.


Audrey Harrison

Team TAB
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I am a coffee aficionado based in Seattle. I have devoted my passion and expertise to perfecting the art of home coffee brewing. I became known for my exquisite pour-over and espresso creations. I source coffee beans from local roasters and explores ...