Defining Flat White
The flat white originated in Australia/New Zealand. It's a coffee drink made with espresso and microfoam, a velvety steamed milk. Served in a small ceramic cup, it emphasizes the coffee.
A latte, short for 'caffelatte' or 'milk coffee', has Italian origins. It combines espresso with more steamed milk and a light layer of foam. Typically enjoyed in a larger glass.
Milk Texture & Temperature
Flat whites boast a 'microfoam', which is smoother and more velvety than a latte's foam. It also has a higher coffee-to-milk ratio. Both drinks generally use milk steamed to 60-65°C for optimal sweetness.
Cup Size Matters
Size is a clear distinction. Flat whites come in a 160-180ml cup, emphasizing espresso. Lattes use larger 200-300ml cups or glasses, highlighting the milk's creaminess.
Espresso Shot Differences
Typically, both drinks start with a single or double shot of espresso. However, in some regions, flat whites are exclusively made with a double shot, enhancing their robust coffee flavor.
Cultural Coffee Evolution
The flat white has become a symbol of the third wave coffee movement, focusing on coffee quality and artisanal methods. Lattes represent more traditional, widespread coffee culture.
Surprising Global Variations
Outside their countries of origin, interpretations vary. In the US, flat whites are sometimes richer, with whole milk. Meanwhile, Europeans might find their lattes slightly less milky than expected.