Both the latte and the flat white are popular coffee drinks, often enjoyed at cafés or made at home by enthusiastic baristas. However, the two are distinct in several ways, from the coffee-to-milk ratio to the texture of the foam.
In this blog, we'll delve into the intricacies of latte vs flat white, helping you understand the differences and perhaps guiding you towards your next favourite coffee drink.
One of the key aspects that sets these drinks apart is the coffee-to-milk ratio. In a latte, the proportion of milk to coffee is generally higher, leading to a creamier, less intense coffee flavour.
On the other hand, a flat white has a higher concentration of coffee, which results in a more robust and full-bodied taste. This difference in coffee-to-milk ratio is one of the main distinguishing features in the latte vs flat white debate.
Texture and microfoam
Another area where the latte vs flat white face-off really shows a difference is in the texture of the milk foam. In a latte, the milk is steamed to create a fluffier, airier foam that sits on top of the drink. A flat white, however, focuses on microfoam — a velvety, smooth layer of steamed milk that blends seamlessly with the coffee. This results in a drink that has a more consistent texture from the first sip to the last.
Size matters when discussing lattes and flat whites. Lattes are often served in larger cups, sometimes reaching up to 16 ounces. This size accommodates the increased milk content. Flat whites are typically smaller, usually ranging from 5 to 8 ounces, which concentrates the coffee flavour and maintains a strong, yet smooth, profile.
The cultural context adds another layer to the latte vs flat white discussion. The latte originated in Italy and has been popularised worldwide, with each region adding its own twist to the classic.
The flat white, however, claims its roots in Australia and New Zealand, and it's a staple in the coffee culture there. The flat white is gaining popularity globally, but its antipodean origins still influence its preparation and presentation.
Ideal for different coffee experiences
Lattes or flat whites, it’s all a matter of personal preference and the kind of coffee experience you're after. If you enjoy a milder, creamier drink that you can sip slowly, the latte is for you. If you prefer a more intense coffee hit with a silky texture, then opt for a flat white.
Final thoughts on the latte vs flat white conversation
When it all comes down to it, whether you prefer a latte or a flat white is a matter of taste, texture, and even culture. While they may appear similar, their differences are distinct enough to make each a unique coffee experience. Whether you prefer the creamy indulgence of a latte or the strong, smooth character of a flat white, there’s something for every coffee lover.
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