What is the difference between a Flat White and a Latte?

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

What is the difference between a Flat White and a Latte?  A latte and a flat white are two of the most popular espresso-based beverages in coffee. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are some notable differences between these two drinks’ preparation and flavor profiles.

The Flat White

The origins of the flat white can be traced back to Australia and New Zealand, where it gained popularity in the 1980s. It is made with a single or double shot of espresso and a small amount of micro-foamed milk. The key to a perfect flat white lies in mastering the milk texture.

Milk Texture

Milk in a flat white is microfilmed, which means it has tiny and consistently-sized air bubbles incorporated into it. This creates a velvety and creamy texture that enhances the coffee flavor. The milk should have a uniform consistency, with no visible separation between the espresso and milk.

Size and Coffee-to-Milk Ratio

Flat whites are typically served in smaller cups, usually around 160ml to 200ml (5 to 7 ounces). The small size of the flat white allows for a perfect balance between coffee and milk, delivering a more pungent espresso taste that doesn’t get overwhelmed by the milk.

The Latte

The latte, which originated in Italy, is a popular milk-based espresso drink that has become a staple in many coffee shops worldwide. It consists of a single or double shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk and topped with a small layer of microfoam or frothed milk.

Milk Texture

In a latte, the milk is steamed and then gently frothed, resulting in a less dense milk texture than the flat white. The milk foam on top of a latte is slightly thicker and airier than a flat white. This combination of different milk textures in a latte delivers a more mellow and creamy coffee experience.

Size and Coffee-to-Milk Ratio

Lattes are usually served in larger cups, typically around 300ml to 400ml (10 to 14 ounces), with a higher milk-to-coffee ratio than flat whites. This increased amount of milk softens the espresso flavor, making the latte a smoother and more delicate coffee drink.

Key Differences

  1. Milk Texture: The flat white uses microfoamed milk with a velvety texture, while the latte employs a combination of steamed and frothed milk, resulting in a lighter foam on top of the beverage.
  2. Size: A flat white is served in a smaller cup compared to a latte, which is usually presented in a larger cup.
  3. Coffee-to-Milk Ratio: The flat white has a higher coffee-to-milk ratio, delivering a stronger coffee flavor, whereas the latte has a more balanced coffee-to-milk ratio, offering a creamier and milder taste.

In conclusion, the difference between a flat white and a latte lies mainly in the milk texture, size, and coffee-to-milk ratio. While the flat white packs a more intense espresso punch, lattes provide a smoother, creamier experience. Both options cater to different preferences, ensuring that the world of coffee continues to offer something for everyone.

A flat white is an espresso-based beverage with steamed milk. That much is probably self-evident.

We can know that: Flat White is a coffee drink which is a combination of Espresso coffee and steamed milk (also known as steamed milk).

The layer of hot whipped milk gives the Flat White glass a skinny layer of foam on top. Flat White is an ideal choice for those who love Espresso with a robust coffee flavor and soft sweet milk.

It is a straightforward alternative for people searching for a dairy beverage with a strong coffee flavour, created with a modest amount of steamed milk and a thin coating of microfoam.

For those who do not know what Espresso is, Espresso is similar to filter coffee but is made with a coffee machine and has a more robust, more characteristic flavor.

It’s an excellent choice if you want a coffee with a robust espresso flavor yet the creamy smoothness of steamed milk.

What colour is Flat White? With a combination of pure coffee and hot milk, Flat White has a milky brown colour. This brown colour is light or dark, depending on the style of coffee preparation.

Flat White is a variation of Espresso and one of the most popular coffee-making methods in the world. But where did it come from, and what distinguishes it from a latte?

Steamed milk is an essential part of Flat White.

The Origins of The Flat White

According to some, the flat white originated in Australia or New Zealand. In any case, it has been present since the 1980s. It has now appeared on menus in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries and has become a speciality café staple.

Consumers switching from instant coffee to espresso-based coffee wanted something familiar rather than a cappuccino, which had mountainous sea-foam peaks at the time.

They thus requested it ‘flat.’ The drink has developed to be “flatter” than a cappuccino (which has also been reduced to more delightful micro-foam).

When Starbucks started serving flat whites as a “bold” alternative to latte in the United States, it was evident that the drink had become mainstream.

Understanding The Cappuccino Vs The Latte

So people understand that a flat white is an espresso with steamed milk and some foam. Is that not a latte? Or maybe a cappuccino?

The name latte first appeared in English in the 1980s, although the notion of a coffee with heated milk dates back far further. A caffè latte is a milky morning drink prepared in Italy with a shot of coffee from a stovetop espresso machine.

In other contexts, the term currently refers to a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk on top.

The standard rule is that it is a more miniature, more potent drink to clarify doubts about what a cappuccino is. A cappuccino contains one shot of espresso and is topped with a thick coating of milk foam.

A latte is often bigger and has a softer coffee-to-milk ratio. It is served with a little amount of foam.

Features of Flat White, How is it Different From Macchiato, Latte, and Cappuccino?

In Australia, the latte is often served in a 200 ml glass. A flat white is made in a 180 ml ceramic cup, making it somewhat less dilute. Historically, the latte had more froth (0.5 cm) than the flat White.

Whether it combines Espresso coffee and hot milk, Latte or Flat White have the same brewing method. However, when served to diners, Flat White cups usually have a smaller volume than Latte cups. The capacity of a Flat White cup is generally less than 160ml.

Although the cup volume is smaller, the Espresso content in Flat White is higher. This results in a more prominent flavour in a Flat White cup that will be coffee instead of milk.

Therefore, Flat White is more suitable for those who grind strong coffee flavour but still like a bit of fat dairy.

Another difference between Flat White and Cappuccino or Latte is that Flat White does not have a large, fluffy milk foam on top. The milk is only whipped into a smooth cream and then mixed with Espresso to complete, without any other ingredients.

‘With Cappuccino, after preparation, it is often sprinkled with a bit of cocoa powder or cinnamon powder on top to increase flavour or shape.

Talking about the origin of Flat White, this drink is said to have originated in Australia or New Zealand around 1985. Although it is unclear who or which cafe was the place to make the first Flat White, Flat White was hugely popular in Australia and has since spread globally.

Every coffee shop serves the drink somewhat differently, where misunderstanding arises.

Cappuccinos and lattes might have one or two espresso shots, while a flat white usually has two. Even this, though, has become discretionary. Some baristas employ a second ristretto to make matters even more complicated to produce a richer coffee flavour.

Different Understandings Of The Drink

What constitutes a flat white varies according to location and barista. The milk-to-coffee ratio distinguishes a latte from a flat white.

“The milk texture in both beverages is fairly similar: enough aeration to pour latte art, but not so much that it’s foamy.”

In my last store, I provided flat whites in 5 oz cups and lattes in 8 oz glasses. Both were created using double shots. If it’s over 6 oz, I don’t believe you can call it a flat white; it’s a latte.”

Context is as important as personal barista choice. – perfectdailygrind

“Latte: the most popular espresso drink in second-wave coffee shops. Flat White: the most popular espresso drink in third-wave coffee establishments. Both are extremely marketable and have unique recipes based on the mood and talents of the barista.”

“A flat white is 5-6 ounces and contains a double dose of espresso.” Milk with a fragile texture… flat, flat milk. A latte is 7-9 ounces, with milk texture between a flat white and a cappuccino.”

Which is Better? Flat White Vs Latte

So, although the exact size of the cup and the ratio of coffee to milk may vary, the common assumption is that a flat white is smaller than a latte and typically includes more espresso.

If you like the subtle flavors of specialty coffee but want something dairy-free, a flat white may be a better choice than a latte. Because it contains less milk, a flat white allows you to appreciate the sensory character of the beans thoroughly.

Is it, however, objectively superior? No. There are several ways to enjoy specialty coffee, and we all have favorites.

Is a flat white more potent than a latte? A flat white is a more concentrated drink with a more robust coffee flavor than milk. Because of the usage of two shots, it may also be more caffeinated than a latte.

What Is The Difference Between A Flat White And A Latte? - Helena Coffee Vietnam
A flat white with tulip latte art.

The taste and intensity of espresso are combined with the rich texture of a dairy-based drink in a flat white. Not a fan of dairy? Plant-based alternatives froth less readily than dairy alternatives, making them suitable for flat whites.

How to make Flat White at home?

The way to prepare Flat White depends greatly on the style of each bartender and drink shop. In this article, Helena Coffee Vietnam will explain how to make it with available Espresso and make it from pure coffee beans.

How to make Flat White Coffee with Ready-Made Espresso

This method assumes you know how to make Espresso coffee proficiently.

Raw Materials And Ingredients

  • 150ml fresh milk.
  • one shot of espresso (made with an espresso machine ).
  • Country.
  • 1 cup (cup) white porcelain about 150 – 200ml.
  • Milk shaker


  • Whip the milk lightly to create a creamy texture with almost no foam. 
  • Put one shot of brewed Espresso into a porcelain cup (1 shot is equivalent to 30-35ml of Espresso coffee made from 8-10g of finely ground coffee)
  • Hold the milk shaker above and gently shake it to help the milk and foam mix and, simultaneously help the milk foam dissolve.

With one hand tilting the Espresso cup, the other holding the shaken milk, then pouring the milk gently and firmly into the Espresso cup. Finally, shape on the surface if desired.

If you’re new to coffee making and haven’t elaborated on every step, just with the above steps, you’ll have a delicious cup of Flat White. However, refer to the brewing method below to improve your coffee-making skills.

How To Make Flat White From Pure Coffee Beans

Prepare materials

  • Water: Mineral water or filtered water.
  • Fresh milk.
  • White porcelain cup: Before pouring coffee into the cup, it is recommended to warm the cup to keep the best flavor of the coffee.
  • Pure coffee beans: Arabica or Robusta coffee beans are usually used.
  • Espresso coffee machine.
  • Milk beater.


  • Put the coffee into the Espresso machine.
  • Put fresh milk in a cup and whisk. Note that the milk is creamy and has a light foam. After whisking, tap the cup gently on the table to dissolve the milk froths.
  • Press the button to start the espresso machine to make coffee.
  • Pour the coffee into the prepared cup, hold the cup tilted, and slowly pour the whipped milk into the cup to complete a standard cup of Flat White coffee. 

How To Drink Flat White?

Drinking a flat white is similar to enjoying any other espresso-based beverage. Here are some helpful steps to enhance your flat white experience:

  1. Inspect the presentation: Take a moment to appreciate the visual appeal of your flat white. You can expect a smooth, glossy surface with microfoamed milk, often with latte art, in a smaller-sized cup.
  2. Savor the aroma: Before taking your first sip, gently inhale the aroma of the espresso mixed with the creamy microfoamed milk, which contributes to the overall flavor experience.
  3. Take small sips: Start by taking small sips to allow your taste buds to fully appreciate the coffee’s flavor and smooth, velvety texture. With each sip, notice how the balance of espresso and milk works together to create a full-bodied and robust taste.
  4. Drink at an optimal temperature: It’s best to consume a flat white at a temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Celsius (140 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit), which allows for the extraction of nuanced flavors from the espresso without scalding your tongue.
  5. Pair with complementary snacks: If you prefer, you can accompany your flat white with a suitable snack, such as a buttery croissant or a piece of rich dark chocolate, to further enhance the overall flavor experience.
  6. Take your time: Enjoy your flat white at a leisurely pace, allowing yourself to fully appreciate the balance between creamy milk texture and intense espresso flavor. Taking your time to relish the moment can turn a simple coffee break into a truly enjoyable experience.


Helena Coffee Vietnam

Helena Coffee Processing & Export in Vietnam | Helena., JSC, which was established in 2016, is a Vietnamese coffee exporter, manufacturer & supplier. We provide the most prevalent varieties of coffee grown in Vietnam’s renowned producing regions.

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