Without a doubt, flat whites are delicious, creamy, frothy, and have everything a coffee-lover needs. From a caffeine kick to fullness, a flat white lets you enjoy all of it!
But what goes into a flat white? How is it different from a latte? Where did the flat white originate? If these questions also haunt you, then read further.
I’m a huge fan of flat white, so I did extensive research about it to know more about the coffee. In this post, you’ll get extensive information about flat whites and cafe lattes.
I’ve even listed the best coffee makers you can use to make flat whites and lattes at home.
The article covers a detailed comparison between flat white and latte, so you can put an end to the most debated topic: flat white vs. latte.
Let’s get started:
- What Exactly is a Flat White?
- Where did the Flat White Come from?
- Flat White Vs. Latte: How and Why Are They Different?
- Flat White Vs. Latte: What Makes the Brewing Process Different?
- Which is Better: Flat White Or Latte?
- Best Coffee Machines to Brew Flat White and Latte
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Keep It Whipping
What Exactly is a Flat White?
A flat white is a delicious espresso drink prepared using two shots of steamed milk and one shot of espresso. Making the drink is a little intricate, and that’s why people prefer visiting baristas to enjoy it.
As per coffee aficionados, a flat white is a little latte with less steamed milk and more espresso, and that actually makes sense. The process used to brew flat white is different, and that’s how it parts its way from a latte.
The drink requires heating all the way through without any splits or bubbled froth. Served colder than cappuccinos, the flat white coffee contains freely poured milk. So, it gets its velvety texture that remains consistent throughout.
Furthermore, baristas prefer a 165ml tulip cup to serve the drink and its smaller latte and cappuccino.
Where did the Flat White Come from?
The flat white’s origin has always been a controversial topic between the antipodean neighbors Australia and New Zealand claiming the ownership of the drink.
Some folks say the flat white belongs to Sydney, whereas some say it belongs to another Australian city. On the other hand, the residents of New Zealand claim that they modernized the drink in Wellington in the early 1980s.
However, experts say that Wellington-produced flat whites are the best in the world. In my view, both Australia and New Zealand help forge the drink, and that’s why the entire world is now enjoying a flavorful drink known as flat white.
Flat White Vs. Latte: How and Why Are They Different?
Flat white and café latte are the two most ordered drinks across the globe. But people often fail to tell the difference between the two caffeinated drinks. Some call flat white a little latte, while some have a different definition.
Have you ever wondered what exactly the difference between both drinks is? Are the ingredients different, or is there a difference in the process of making the drinks?
Well, you will find all the answers here. I love flat white and latte, so I spent hours researching the core differences between the drinks. I even asked some expert baristas about the differences, and here’s what they have to say.
The café latte or just latte is a drink with one or two shots of espresso with lightly steamed milk. Traditionally, baristas used to serve this drink in tall glasses, but now they prefer using bigger cups, so you can enjoy the drink conveniently.
With time, the amount of espresso that goes in the drink has evolved, as traditional latte contains one shot of espresso only. But nowadays, you find most baristas adding two shots of espresso and serving the drink in a 350ml cup, and that’s bigger than a flat white.
One thing that’s common between a flat white and a latte is the amount of foam floating on the top. Both the drinks have 1-2cm thick foam, and that’s how they are different from cappuccino as well.
When we break down the name caffe latte, it translates into coffee and milk. Perfect for someone looking to start drinking coffee, a latte is an amazing drink with a mild flavor.
Furthermore, it serves as a base for several other drinks, including café mocha, caramel latte, and vanilla latte.
Often served in a small glass, a flat white is a stronger drink that’s more caffeinated and comes in a smaller glass with approx 200ml quantity (which is 150ml less than a latte). The reason why we call it a flat white is because of the flat foam.
The foam could be 1cm thick or less than that (as some baristas are experts in making thin foams). As the beverage has a higher dose of espressos, it’s a great choice for someone who loves the flavor of the coffee.
Flat White Vs. Latte: What Makes the Brewing Process Different?
Comparing the two drinks is incomplete without mentioning the recipes or the preparing methods. In this section, I’ll cover what goes in these drinks and the easiest and most preferred way to make them at home.
Yes, you can have a flat white or latte at a barista, but making and having them at home is definitely worth the time.
How to Make Latte at Home. You can make a latte with or without an Italian espresso machine, and I’ve covered both processes here.
Recipe 1: Make Latte Without an Espresso Machine
There’s no need to stick to an espresso machine for making a good latte. In fact, you can make a great-tasting cup of joe that tastes as good as a barista coffee.
However, you need some devices to froth milk. A French press or a milk frother will do the job.
Step 1: Make Steamed Milk
Steamed milk isn’t just heated milk, but it is one stage up. You can heat the milk in a saucepan or in a microwave if you want to do the job quickly. I use a stovetop for heating the milk, as it gives me better control over the temperature.
- Add the milk to a saucepan and place it on a stovetop.
- Place a thermometer in the milk and monitor the temperature continuously. You can even check the temperature periodically if placing a thermometer in the saucepan isn’t an option.
- Keep heating the milk on medium-low to medium heat, depending on the type of milk you are using. I use soy milk, and it requires 140ºF (60ºC). The temperature should be 150ºF (65ºC) for plain milk, and for almond milk, it should be 130ºF (54ºC).
- Occasionally stir the milk using a spatula to prevent it from boiling. Once the thermometer hits the right temperature, remove the saucepan from the stovetop, and froth it.
Step 2: Froth the Milk
There are several ways to froth the milk, but the most convenient one is using a frothing wand and a pitcher.
- Pour the steamed milk into a frothing pitcher, and submerge the frother halfway into the hot milk.
- Make sure you don’t fill the pitcher completely, else the foam will ooze out, and it’ll be a mess on the countertop.
- Turn the frothing wand on and pull the wand closer to the milk’s surface slowly. Keep the wand moving to froth the milk evenly.
- Keep frothing the milk for about 35 to 40 seconds or until you see the pitcher full of foam.
Step 3: Make the Espresso
Making espresso with a machine helps you reach good pressure easily, but you can brew it without a machine as well. You need any of these devices to build up pressure which is essential for proper extraction.
- An Aeropress
- A French Press
- A Moka Pot
You can use pre-ground beans or grind fresh beans using an automatic burr grinder to make an espresso. Now use any of the following devices to make espresso quickly.
Step 4: Sprinkle A Little Magic
A great latte is just a combination of espresso and milk, but you can make it taste better by spicing it up. All you need to do is sprinkle some cinnamon, or cardamom pods, or black peppercorns to make the coffee great.
Recipe 2: Making Latte with an Espresso Machine
Making espresso with a machine takes less time than making it without a brewer. From grinding the beans to roasting them and frothing the milk, you can do everything with a single machine (if you have a good one).
Things You Need
- Coffee beans (I prefer using espresso beans)
- An espresso machine (with a built-in steam wand)
- A latte cup or glass
- Toppings or syrups
Now you have everything required to make a latte with an espresso machine. I believe you know how to use the coffee machine and brew espresso with it, so I am just explaining the steps to make a latte.
Step 1: Preheat your Glass or Cup
Preheating the cup is essential not just for making a latte but for making any drink. Not preheating the cup can lead to the coffee going cold quickly while you froth the milk.
Usually, most good espresso machines have a built-in cup warmer. However, if your machine doesn’t have a warmer, you can use hot water for warming purposes. Once you have warmed the cups, hop on step two and brew flavorful coffee.
Step 2: Pull Two Shots of Espresso
For every latte, you need two shots of espresso. If you are looking to make two cups of latte, pull four shots of espresso from the machine. Those starting with coffee can even use a single shot.
Step 3: Froth the Milk Properly
Pour the milk into a pitcher, and activate the steam wand. For regular milk, the temperature should be 150°F. If the temperature rises above the reading, it can burn the milk, which can ruin the flavor.
You need to hold the wand about half an inch below the milk’s surface to froth it properly. Now pour the frothed milk into a latte glass carefully.
Make sure that the milk flows first and the foam at the end so that it remains on the top. Don’t worry if you don’t make the perfect latte, as it’s your first try.
Keep trying, and you’ll be able to make it look good while taste better as you get it in a barista.
How to Make Flat White at Home
To make flavorful flat white, you need the following ingredients and equipment.
- Espresso machine with a grinder
- Milk frother (if the machine doesn’t have a steam wand)
- A 6-ounce cup for serving the coffee
- A milk pitcher
Step 1: Pull One Shot of Espresso
If you have pre-ground beans ready for brewing, add them to the coffee maker to brew one shot of espresso. However, if you don’t have pre-ground beans, consider grinding a batch that’s enough to brew a single shot of espresso.
A Pro Tip: Get the espresso directly in the serving glass, as it is a smart way to warm the glass while you froth the milk.
Step 2: Froth the Milk
While the espresso drips inside the glass, you should froth the milk. Pour some milk in a pitcher and turn the steam wand on. Keep frothing the milk at around 140° F, and make sure it develops a thick layer of foam on the top.
The layer should be ¼ inch thick to make a great-tasting cup of flat white. Keep moving the pitcher in a circular motion for uniform frothing.
Step 3: Pour and Serve
Now that you have the espresso, pour the milk into the glass. Add the milk slowly to create a nice blend. Also, pouring the milk slowly helps the foam float on the top, and that’s what you need to enjoy the drink.
Which is Better: Flat White Or Latte?
Well, it depends on several factors and your preference. For some people, a flat white is love, whereas some prefer a latte any time.
For me, both the drinks are amazing. If I am looking for something to make me feel fuller, I go for a latte, since it’s a 350ml drink, what more do you need.
On the other hand, when I crave a creamy and milky drink, I go for a flat white. And on some days, I drink both beverages.
The best way to figure out what matches your taste is by preparing these drinks and trying them out.
Flat White Vs. Latte: The Nutritional Value
The comparison of both drinks is incomplete without talking about their nutritional values. Below I have mentioned a table that will help you understand the carbs and cholesterol both drinks have.
Also, you can quickly decide which one is best for you if you are conscious about your diet.
|Nutritional Facts||Flat White (100 ml)||Café Latte (330 ml)|
|Calories||28 Kcal||140 Kcal|
I sourced this nutritional factual information from Carb Manager, which’s a great app for diet-conscious people. Now you can quickly understand the nutritional differences between both drinks, and it will help you choose the right one if you prefer your health over taste.
Best Coffee Machines to Brew Flat White and Latte
To brew delicious coffee, you need a good espresso machine. Flat white and latte both drinks need perfectly-brewed espresso. So here are the best espresso machines coffee lovers recommend.
Breville BES870XL is an amazing espresso machine with a built-in grinder and a Panarello steam wand. With this machine, you can make a great-tasting latte and flat white.
Furthermore, this machine helps you control the bean’s coarseness for better brewing.
Another impressive espresso machine is Calphalon Temp IQ Espresso Machine. The coffee maker comes with a built-in grinder and a steam wand. Also, it features a cup warming plate to help you make the cups ready for making latte and flat white.
If you are looking for an inexpensive coffee brewer, you should consider this espresso maker from Yabano. It’s an easy-to-use coffee brewer that uses pre-ground beans. The best part is the built-in steam wand that helps you froth milk quickly.
This coffee maker from Gevi resembles the coffee makers you have seen in the barista. It’s a perfect machine you can use to brew shots of espresso for making latte and flat white. The coffee machine has almost everything, including a steam wand and a cup warming tray you need to make delicious coffee at home.
DeLonghi ECAM35075SI is an automatic coffee maker that takes away the hassles of brewing coffee. It’s a one-click coffee machine that brews amazing espresso quickly. You can brew single or double shots with this machine to make flat white and latte.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is it called a flat white?
A: The reason we call it a flat white is because the coffee looks white and has a flat foam floating on the top. Before flat white, people used to call it “white coffee,” but flat white seems to be a better name that justifies the coffee properly.
Q: Is flat white healthy?
A: When compared to other drinks, say a cappuccino, a flat white is healthy. A regular cappuccino contains 120 calories. On the other hand, flat whites contain fewer calories and are great to start your day with.
However, too much of everything is bad, so you should limit the consumption no matter which coffee you like.
Q: What cup size is a flat white?
A: The ideal cup size used to serve a flat white is a 160-165ml tulip cup. The cup is smaller than a latte and a cappuccino glass.
Q: Can I make Starbucks flat white at home?
A: Starbucks or any of your favorite coffee outlets have professional baristas deployed for making coffee, so it is a little challenging to make Starbucks-like coffee.
However, with time and continuous practice, you can make great-tasting coffee at home. Make sure to invest in a good espresso maker if you want the flat white to taste better.
Q: What makes the latte foam smooth?
A: Making the foam smooth is essential to make the beverage taste better. Use a branded steam wand or milk frother to froth smooth foam. Also, keep the pitcher moving so that the foam is even and smoother.
Q: Is a flat white Keto-friendly?
A: A regular flat white is not Keto-friendly, but you can make it diet-friendly by making a few tweaks. Use almond milk instead of regular milk to reduce the calories. If you don’t have access to almond milk, use a mixture of water and milk.
Q: Why is flat white more expensive?
A: The reason why flat whites cost slightly more than regular coffee is the expertise required to make them. Some coffee experts say that flat whites need microfoam, and that is the reason they cost more.
Q: Can I make a flat white at home?
A: Yes, you can easily make a flat white at home. In this article, I have covered a quick and easy recipe to make a flat white.
Keep It Whipping
Understanding a flat white is essential to know where the coffee originated and what are the factors that make it taste so good. Now that you know everything about a flat white, why not make one and enjoy it.
Follow the recipe I’ve listed and brew a flat white or a latte quickly to quench your thirst. Lastly, to know the difference between flat white vs. latte, it’s important to make and taste them.