Understanding the Art of Coffee: Latte Vs. Flat White Showdown

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on July 26th, 2023

Do “flat white” and “latte” sound familiar? If you’re a fan of artisanal coffee but can’t quite pinpoint the differences between these two beloved brews, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ll get into the distinctive features of both drinks, shedding light on their origins, components, and preparation methods. By the end of this piece, you’ll have the knowledge you need to create the perfect cup of coffee, tailored to your taste buds.

Flat White Vs. Latte

Unraveling the Mystery: What is a Flat White?

Flat white, a coffee beverage that has claimed the hearts of many, has its roots in Australia and New Zealand. Its birth in the 1980s has sparked quite a debate, with both countries vying for the title of “Flat White Originator”. While Aussies attribute its inception to Sydney’s thriving coffee culture, Kiwis argue that the flat white sprang from Wellington, popularized by the “Wild Bean Cafe” chain.

Here’s what you need to whip up a flat white:

  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 4-6 oz. of steamed milk (whole or 2% milk does wonders)
  • A steam wand or milk frother

To create your flat white:

  • Warm up your espresso machine and brew a shot of espresso in a small cup.
  • Utilize a steam wand or milk frother to heat your milk until it reaches a balmy 140-150°F, resulting in a creamy texture with minute bubbles.
  • Pour the steamed milk into the espresso shot slowly, beginning at the center and moving outward. The milk and espresso will blend to form a single layer of frothy goodness on top.
  • Hold back the foam with a spoon and add the remaining milk into the cup, crafting a small circle in the center.
  • Spoon the residual foam atop the drink to create a thin, silky layer that covers the entire surface.
  • Voila, your homemade flat white is ready! Savor it immediately for the best taste.

A Journey Through Time: What is a Latte?

The history of the latte stretches back to 19th-century Italy where it was christened “caffè latte”. It earned its place in American hearts during the 1980s and 1990s, as specialty coffee shops began to sprout up, bringing with them the wonder of espresso machines. Lattes served in an array of flavors like vanilla, caramel, and pumpkin spice, have become a hallmark of modern coffee culture, enjoyed by caffeine aficionados worldwide.

Ready to make a latte? Here’s what you need:

  • Espresso
  • Milk
  • Microfoam

Follow these steps to create your latte:

  • Pull a double shot of espresso and pour it into a cup.
  • Heat your milk until it reaches around 140°F.
  • Employ the steam wand on your espresso machine to give the milk a frothy, velvety texture. It should possess a glossy finish when done.
  • Pour the milk directly into the cup with the double-shot espresso, reserving the foam with a spoon until all the milk has been added.
  • Lastly, adorn the latte with foam on top.

With its high milk-to-espresso ratio, a latte should yield a creamy and sweet taste, perfect for those who enjoy a touch of decadence in their coffee.

The Coffee Showdown: Flat White Vs. Latte

While they might seem similar at first glance, the flat white and latte each possess distinct characteristics.

  • Milk-to-Espresso Ratio: In a flat white, the espresso flavor is more prominent due to a lower milk-to-espresso ratio compared to a latte. The latte, with its ⅔ milk and ⅓ espresso composition, offers a creamier, milder taste.
  • Cultural Variations: The traditional serving sizes differ by culture. In Australia and New Zealand, a flat white is usually served in a smaller 5-6 oz ceramic cup, while in the US, larger 8-12 oz serving sizes are common for both brews.
  • Sweetness Scale: If you’re looking for a sweeter coffee experience, a latte, thanks to its higher steamed milk content, trumps the flat white. However, both can be sweetened further with syrups such as vanilla or caramel.
  • Ease of Preparation: Both require the same amount of espresso, so the difficulty level rests on your milk preparation equipment.
  • Flavored Syrup Compatibility: If you enjoy flavoring your coffee, lattes, due to their larger milk content, pair exceptionally well with flavored syrups. With a flat white’s smaller milk content and stronger espresso concentration, striking the perfect balance of flavors when using syrups might be a bit more challenging.

In the end, whether you choose a flat white or a latte, it all comes down to your personal preference. So, why not try making both and see which one tickles your taste buds? Happy brewing!

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.