Over “1.4 billion cups of coffee” poured on a daily basis. Can you imagine? With this whopping number of coffee lovers, it was inevitable that innovation would meet the coffee industry. We expected to see ways to develop, prepare, and serve coffee to meet every preference.
That’s why today and after three waves of evolution in the coffee industry, you have many variants and options that you can choose from or even tailor to your own taste. Read on to find out the difference between two of the most popular espresso drinks on the menu now; flat white vs. latte.
Flat white is one of the latest additions to the menu. Nevertheless, flat white had a great positive impact on coffee drinkers all over the world, especially after Starbucks introduced it to the US market.
Relatively, flat white can have a stronger taste of the coffee. That’s generally because it has the same amount of coffee as a latte, but in a smaller cup with less milk.
How Is It Made?
There’s no universal way to prepare the delicious espresso drink known as a flat white. However, the concept is pretty much the same across different coffee shops.
Typically for the coffee base, your barista is either going to use two shots of espresso or ristretto. If you’re unfamiliar with ristretto, it’s a shot with the same amount of coffee as an espresso shot, but with half the water. This results in a stronger coffee taste.
After that comes the most important element, the milk. Steaming the milk results in three layers. Foam, microfoam, and then the hot liquid milk. A flat white is typically served with a thin, top layer of microfoam.
A good barista would stretch the steamed milk before pouring to remove most of the big bubbles -the foam- from the mixture.
And voila! Your drink is done and ready for you to enjoy!
Latte has been around since the ’50s and grew in popularity gradually since then. Now, it’s loved by many people who don’t quite like the strong coffee taste in their drink.
Latte is usually offered in cups bigger than flat white. It may even have similar amounts of coffee as a flat white. However, the coffee will always have a less dominant taste in the drink.
How Is It Made?
The coffee base in a latte would essentially be the standard one or two shots of espresso.
And since this is a latte (the Italian word for “milk”), your barista will make sure to fill most of the rest of the cup with steamed milk. This also results in a thin foam layer at the top where your barista’s latte art can shine.
Which One’s for You?
Even after knowing how each drink is prepared it can still be a confusing choice to make.
Especially that both, flat white and latte can share the same ingredients. Let me help you decide by highlighting the key differences between both of them below.
- A flat white offers a stronger coffee taste than a latte.
- A flat white can be prepared using espresso or ristretto.
- A latte is mostly dependent only on espresso.
- A latte is served in a larger cup than a flat white.
- A flat white has less milk with a thin top layer of microfoam.
- A latte has a similarly thin top layer of foam but is mostly milk.
Taking all this into consideration, I recommend that you try each of the drinks for yourself to find out exactly which one matches your taste more. You may even find yourself appreciating both drinks!
Same Coffee, Different Taste?
You tasted both drinks, made your choice, and love your new everyday coffee! But now you went ahead and tried the very same coffee from another coffee shop or sometimes even from the same place but with a different barista. Why does it taste different?
Even though coffee seems to be simple and straightforward to prepare, there are still many factors that affect the final taste of your drink.
The coffee beans’ origin plays a huge factor in the taste of your coffee. Even with things as simple as the altitude that the beans were planted at. The higher the soil the richer the taste that you’d get from the coffee bean.
Even if the same beans are used to prepare your coffee, there could be a difference in taste.
The answer to that usually lies with the different baristas. Not all baristas have equal skill levels. That can affect the coffee to milk ratio or the stretching of the steamed milk which affects the foam on the drink.
If you’re very committed to having your coffee tailored to your preference and would like to take it one step further, you can even make your own coffee at home! To get the optimal results you’d need the right equipment and some training, which can be a little pricey yet yielding amazing results!
You can find espresso machines for home use that can produce results like you would pay for at cafe. Take a look at our espresso machine guides — there are good espresso machines available for less of an investment than you might expect. With a little practice you have make your own perfect drink.
The Bottom Line
My personal opinion when it comes to flat white vs. latte is that you may like the flat white if you’re more of a coffee enthusiast or appreciate the taste of good coffee.
On the other hand, you may be interested in a rich latte if other options seem to taste too strong or bitter. Latte tends to taste more milky, which will somewhat downplay the espresso taste.
Finding your favorite coffee is like finding your soulmate. It’s something that you’ll eventually work out. You may want to adjust any of the drinks when it comes to the number of espresso shots, foaming or even how much milk in your cup.
By the end of it, you could’ve created a whole new drink just for you!