Although many people make the obvious (and upsetting) assumption that a flat white and a latte are just two different names for a milky coffee with a bit of foam; I can assure you that the difference is much more complex than that. In this article, we are going to take a deep dive into the logistical differences between the two in how they are made and how they taste. Soon enough, you’ll be a coffee connoisseur.
#1: The Espresso Shot
To start off, a coffee is nothing without a beautiful espresso shot made from the finest coffee beans. No matter what coffee you’re drinking, espresso is a constant. As a general rule, flat white purists hold to the ideal of a double shot in a flat white and a single shot in a latte. As a general rule, that is the truth. However, there are reputable cafes all over the world that serve single shot flat whites that are just as flat white as doubles in other places. On a general scale, coffee and the exact measure and pouring of an espresso shot is not what differs the two coffee styles.
#2: The Cup Difference
Now, this one is simply aesthetic. Although most dedicated flat white drinkers will say that a flat white has to be in a smaller cup than a latte; there is no rulebook that says this must be the case. A latte is stereotypically milkier and less strong coffee wise (if we are being pedantic); which is why it is more commonly assumed that a latte is in a bigger glass, simply because it allows for more milk and thus dilution of the espresso. Jessica Holland, an expert at Assignment Service and Rated Writing, commented, “Although some believe that a flat white must be in a different cup size or style of cup; a lot of this comes down to aesthetic preference and personal choice.”
#3: The Milk
So if the espresso can differ and not cause the difference between a latte and a flat white, and the cup size if simply aesthetic and personal preference; what does it all boil down to? That’s right, the milk. The espresso can be held as a constant, but the way the milk is prepped, handled, and poured is what truly makes the difference between the two popular hot drinks. Milk is crucial in a good coffee, and if prepared incorrectly, it can ruin the whole drinking experience. Milk is heated in three layers, below:
- The liquid milk which is heated at the very bottom
- The middle foam in the middle which becomes velvety bubbles as it is heated
- Stiff froth at the very top which form the top layer of foam
Although this process is fairly similar across the two drinks, the pouring is where the difference comes in properly. Purist baristas will say that they foam milk more at the top of the container for a latte due to the fact that lattes are stereotypically more milky. Pouring is important due to the fact that a flat white focuses more on the coffee taste, and a latte is more focused on the milk and the combination of it with the coffee. Rachel Denzel, a writer at Assignment writing services reviews and Writingpopulist, noted, “A flat white contains an equal combination of milk and foam; so that the espresso is the main focus and the milk does not take away from it.” However a latte is milky and focuses on the foam in the coffee, making it a fancy milky coffee.
It is interesting to see how many different interpretations of coffee there are in the world and across different cultures. However, as a general rule; the above rings true around and through all of those. Although some baristas will cry out reading this and say that the espresso is different between the two drinks, or that the size of the cup really does matter! The honest to goodness truth when it comes to the difference between the two drinks is in the preparation, handling, and pouring of the milk. It is important to note this difference, especially between a latte and a flat white. All coffee relies on the combination of milk and espresso, but the specific taste and feel of the drinks all simmer down to individual preparation.