Greetings, coffee enthusiasts! Are you interested in exploring the differences between two beloved coffee drinks - flat white and latte? In this ultimate guide, we'll be analyzing the milk, espresso, and foam components, the brewing techniques, and the unique taste profiles of each drink. Whether you're a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a curious beginner, get ready to expand your knowledge and discover which drink is the ultimate winner for your taste buds. Join us as we delve into the world of flat white and latte and uncover what sets them apart in the ultimate guide for coffee lovers.

Basic Definitions

Flat White

A flat white is a popular coffee beverage that originated in Australia and New Zealand. It is known for its velvety and smooth texture, which is derived from the use of microfoam milk. Microfoam milk is a product of steaming milk while incorporating small amounts of air, which creates a creamy consistency. In a flat white, the ratio of coffee to milk leans more towards the coffee side, which results in a more robust and pronounced espresso flavor. Typically, a flat white consists of a double shot of espresso, combined with a small amount of steamed microfoam milk. This gives a rich and balanced taste, with microfoam milk making up about 20-25% of the composition.


A latte, short for "caffè latte," is an Italian coffee drink that originated in Europe around the early 20th century. Translated as "coffee with milk," the main components of a latte are espresso and steamed milk. Unlike flat whites, lattes can be made with any type of milk, and they often have a more substantial quantity of milk compared to coffee. A latte typically has a ratio of 1:3 espresso to milk, making it a milkier and lighter beverage than a flat white. The process of making a latte involves adding a single or double shot of espresso to the bottom of the cup, followed by steamed milk, and topped with a small amount of milk foam. As a result, lattes have a thicker layer of milk foam compared to flat whites, with about ⅜ inch at the top and milk being stretched to 25-35% of the drink.

In summary, flat whites are distinguished by their use of microfoam milk and a higher espresso to milk ratio, resulting in a strong and velvety drink. On the other hand, lattes are characterized by a more substantial milk component and are typically served with a thicker layer of milk foam, making them a lighter and milkier option. Both flat white and latte beverages cater to different preferences, with flat whites appealing to those who prefer a bold espresso flavor, and lattes being a go-to choice for those who enjoy a milder and creamier coffee experience.

Brewing Techniques

Espresso Preparation

Both flat white and latte begin with a base of espresso. Espresso is a concentrated coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure. The preparation for espresso is the same in both drinks, usually with one or two shots (1-2 ounces). The quality of the espresso determines the overall flavor profile of the beverage.

Steamed Milk and Microfoam

The primary difference between a flat white and a latte lies in the preparation and treatment of the milk. For a latte, steamed milk is used, while for a flat white, microfoam milk is crucial.

Steamed milk is created by introducing steam to fresh milk, which heats it and increases its volume. This produces a creamy and velvety texture. In a latte, the milk is usually steamed to a greater volume, resulting in a thicker layer of foam on top, around 1cm in depth.

Steamed milk is created by introducing steam to fresh milk, which heats it and increases its volume. This produces a creamy and velvety texture. In a latte, the milk is usually steamed to a greater volume, resulting in a thicker layer of foam on top, around 1cm in depth.

On the other hand, microfoam milk is accomplished by gently aerating the milk during the steaming process. This creates a more consistent and velvety texture throughout the milk. The microfoam in a flat white is often thinner, with little to no foam on top or a very thin layer. This results in a smoother, more velvety mouthfeel, allowing the espresso's flavors to shine through.

To achieve the perfect consistency of steamed milk or microfoam, the equipment you use plays a pivotal role. For cafes and coffee aficionados alike, investing in a high-quality espresso machine for commercial purposes is key. These machines are specially designed to give you the ideal texture and temperature, ensuring each cup is a masterpiece

Table: Comparison of Milk Types

Milk Type Foam Thickness Milk Texture Process
Steamed Milk Thicker (1cm) Creamy Steamed to a greater volume
Microfoam Milk Thinner Velvety Gently aerated during steaming process

Brewing Process Differences

When crafting a flat white, the barista carefully pours the microfoam milk over the espresso, creating a delicate meniscus on the surface. This technique ensures that the espresso can mingle seamlessly with the milk, enhancing the flavor profile while maintaining a silky texture.

In contrast, a latte involves pouring the steamed milk directly over the espresso while it's piping hot. This results in a more distinct layer of foam on top, as well as a slightly sweeter flavor due to the increased volume of milk. Because of the higher milk-to-espresso ratio, lattes have a milder coffee taste compared to flat whites.

Bullet Points: Brewing Process

  • Flat white: Microfoam milk poured over espresso; creates a delicate meniscus
  • Latte: Steamed milk poured over espresso while hot; thicker foam layer and milder coffee taste

Key Differences

Caffeine Content

Both flat white and latte contain similar amounts of caffeine, as they both have the same amount of espresso in their composition. However, the caffeine content might slightly vary depending on the number of espresso shots used, the size of the serving, and the type of coffee beans used to make the espresso.

Texture and Consistency

The primary difference between a flat white and a latte lies in the type of milk used and its texture. Flat white uses microfoam milk, which is steamed to create a thick and velvety texture. On the other hand, a latte consists of steamed milk with a top layer of milk foam. As a consequence, flat whites tend to have a creamier and richer taste compared to lattes, which are generally sweeter and milder in flavor.

Cup and Serving Size

A flat white is typically served in a smaller cup than a latte. The standard serving size of a flat white comprises one or two shots of espresso (1-2 ounces) and 4 ounces of microfoam milk. In contrast, a latte may consist of at least 6 ounces of milk, making it a larger drink overall. The smaller ceramic cup used for a flat white not only enhances the coffee's concentration but also maintains the ideal temperature for the beverage.

Flat white and latte offer different experiences in terms of caffeine content, texture, consistency, and serving size. To sum it up, flat white provides a stronger, creamier taste with a smaller size, while a latte offers a mellow, sweeter flavor in a larger serving.

Taste Profiles


When comparing the bitterness between a flat white and a latte, it is important to consider the amount of espresso in each drink. Flat whites typically contain twice as much espresso as lattes, which results in a more intense and bitter coffee flavor. The stronger coffee presence in a flat white allows for the bitterness to be more pronounced, making the drink ideal for those who enjoy a rich and bold coffee experience.


In terms of milkiness, lattes and flat whites differ in both milk types and milk-to-espresso ratios. Lattes can be made with various types of milk, while flat whites specifically require microfoam milk. Microfoam milk is steamed milk that has been aerated, creating a thick and velvety texture.

Lattes typically have a higher milk content, which results in a creamier taste and texture. The extra foam added to lattes creates a fuller, sweeter taste, as it balances out the bitterness of the espresso. On the other hand, flat whites use less milk and foam, focusing more on the coffee flavor. The creamy microfoam present in flat whites adds a velvety layer that coats the tongue, enhancing the bitter espresso notes.

Sizes and Ratios

Flat whites are usually served in smaller sizes of around 6 ounces, whereas lattes can range from 10 to 20 ounces. This size difference also affects the milk-to-espresso ratio, with lattes having a higher milk content due to their larger size. The smaller flat white size results in a more concentrated and bold flavor, while the larger latte size creates a milder and smoother coffee experience.

In summary, the taste profiles of flat whites and lattes are characterized by their respective bitterness and milkiness. Flat whites offer a stronger, bolder, and more bitter coffee flavor due to their higher espresso content and use of microfoam milk. On the other hand, lattes provide a creamier, sweeter, and milder taste, with a more prominent milk presence and larger serving sizes. Both drinks cater to different preferences, making them unique and enjoyable in their own ways.

Choosing the Right Coffee

Personal Preferences

When deciding between a flat white and a latte, it's essential to consider your personal preferences. A flat white typically has a stronger espresso taste due to the higher espresso-to-milk ratio, resulting in a more intense flavor. Microfoam milk is used to create a velvety texture, and it generally contains less milk than a latte. On the other hand, a latte has a lighter taste with a higher milk content and more foam, creating a creamier texture.

For those who prefer a more robust coffee flavor and less milk, a flat white would be a better choice. However, if you enjoy a creamy, lighter coffee, a latte might be more fitting.


Flat whites and lattes can be suitable for different occasions, depending on your requirements:

  • Morning pick-me-up: A flat white, with its strong espresso taste, can be an excellent choice for starting your day with a quick caffeine boost.
  • Afternoon break: If you're seeking a lighter and more refreshing coffee during an afternoon break, a latte would be more appropriate.
  • Evening enjoyment: For a soothing evening coffee, a latte's creaminess makes it a great option to wind down the day.


The pairing of coffee with food can enhance the overall experience. Here are some suggestions for flat white and latte pairings:

  • Flat White:
    • Biscotti: The strong espresso flavors stand up well to the sweetness and crunchiness of biscotti.
    • Chocolate: Dark chocolate, in particular, can complement the intense coffee taste of a flat white.
  • Latte:
    • Pastries: Lattes can pair nicely with buttery pastries, such as croissants or Danishes, as the creamy texture goes well with the flaky layers.
    • Muffins or Scones: The light sweetness of a latte can work well with the fruity and subtle flavors of muffins and scones.

Now that you are aware of the key differences between flat whites and lattes, as well as the occasions and pairings, selecting the right coffee based on your preferences should be a more enjoyable and informed decision.

Latte information
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

Featured products

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine - Majesty Coffee
Sale priceFrom $1,495.00 Regular price$1,750.00
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso MachineNuova Simonelli