Flat White Vs Latte: What Is the Difference?

Flat White and Latte are two popular coffee beverages, but they have distinct differences. A flat white is a smaller, stronger drink made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a creamy texture and a strong coffee flavor.

On the other hand, a latte is a larger, smoother drink made with more milk and less espresso, producing a milder taste and a lighter consistency. So, whether you prefer a bolder, concentrated flavor or a smoother, milkier taste, understanding the differences between a flat white and a latte can help you choose the perfect coffee beverage for your preferences.

What Exactly Is A Latte?

A latte is an espresso-based drink made with steamed milk and topped with a thin layer of foam. The key difference between a flat white and a latte lies in the milk texture and ratio to espresso, resulting in a smoother and velvety latte compared to a flat white that has a stronger espresso flavor and a more velvety texture.


Let’s dive deeper into the world of lattes with the following points:

  • Espresso shot: At the heart of every latte lies a single or double shot of espresso. This strong and concentrated coffee is the foundation of the latte, providing the robust flavor and caffeine kick that many coffee enthusiasts crave.
  • Steamed milk: One of the defining characteristics of a latte is its velvety smoothness, which is achieved by steaming milk to perfection. The steamed milk is carefully poured into the espresso, creating a rich and creamy base for the latte.
  • Frothed milk: To add the finishing touch, a latte is typically topped with a layer of frothed milk. The frothed milk, created by vigorously aerating the milk, adds a delightful layer of foam that enhances the texture and presentation of the latte.
  • Customization options: While the classic latte is a combination of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, there are countless variations and customization options available. From flavored syrups to whipped cream toppings, latte lovers have the freedom to personalize their drinks to suit their taste preferences.
  • Latte art: Another aspect that sets lattes apart is the artistry that can be achieved in the layer of milk foam on top. Skilled baristas can create intricate designs, such as hearts or rosettas, by carefully pouring the milk onto the espresso. Latte art adds an extra touch of aesthetic appeal to the already Instagram-worthy drink.
  • Latte alternatives: For those seeking a lighter option, there are variations of lattes available, such as the “skinny latte.” This version uses skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk to reduce the calorie content while still preserving the creamy texture.

Check This: 14 Best Starbucks Lattes

What Exactly Is A Flat White?

A flat white is a popular espresso-based drink, often mistaken for a latte. However, it has less milk and a smoother texture, offering a stronger coffee flavor. The main difference lies in the ratio of espresso to steamed milk, making the flat white a richer and more concentrated option. This drink originated in Australia and New Zealand but has since gained popularity across the globe. Understanding what exactly a flat white is can help coffee enthusiasts appreciate its distinct qualities.

Flat White
  • Size: Typically served in a small, 6-ounce cup, the flat white provides a concentrated coffee flavor.
  • Espresso Shot: A single or double shot of espresso forms the base of a flat white.
  • Milk: Unlike a latte, where the milk is frothy, a flat white utilizes steamed milk with a velvety microfoam texture. This gives the drink a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
  • Pouring Technique: To create the perfect flat white, the barista skillfully pours the steamed milk over the espresso, creating a distinct contrast of flavors.
  • Dilution: The ratio of coffee to milk in a flat white is higher compared to a latte, resulting in a bolder taste.
  • Strength: While the flat white packs a punch with its strong coffee flavor, it still maintains a balance with the creamy milk.
  • Origin: The flat white has its roots in the cafes of Australia and New Zealand, where it gained popularity before spreading to other parts of the world.
  • Distinct Character: The flat white stands out due to its smooth texture, intensified coffee taste, and preference for latte art.
  • Perfect for Espresso Lovers: If you enjoy the rich and robust taste of espresso, the flat white is an ideal choice.
  • Versatility: While traditionally made with dairy milk, flat whites can be customized with alternative milk options like almond, soy, or oat milk.

Latte Vs Flat White: Is One Stronger Than The Other?

Latte and Flat White

Exploring the difference between a latte and a flat white reveals that the strength of the two often comes down to the ratio of coffee to milk. While both are made with espresso and steamed milk, the flat white typically has a stronger coffee flavor due to the use of less milk, resulting in a bolder taste.

Let’s explore the characteristics of each and see how they measure up.

The Latte:

  • Smooth and creamy: A latte is a harmonious blend of espresso and steamed milk, creating a creamy and velvety texture that enrobes your taste buds.
  • Milk ratio: The latte typically has a higher proportion of milk to espresso, providing a milder coffee flavor.
  • Espresso presence: Although the latte features a shot of espresso, the flavor is delicately balanced by the richness of the milk.
  • Layered delight: The latte’s iconic presentation consists of distinct layers of espresso, steamed milk, and a dollop of foamed milk on top.
  • Customizability: The latte offers a canvas for creativity, as you can personalize it with flavored syrups, spices, or latte art.

The Flat White:

Texture Of A Flat White
  • Bold and robust: The flat white embodies a punchier espresso taste and a stronger coffee experience overall.
  • Milk ratio: With a higher espresso-to-milk ratio, the flat white imparts a bolder coffee flavor by allowing the characteristics of the espresso to shine through.
  • Texture matters: While the flat white still incorporates steamed milk, the microfoam texture is smoother and silkier, giving it a luxurious mouthfeel.
  • Minimalist presentation: Don’t let the simplicity fool you—the flat white showcases the art of simplicity with its velvety espresso merging seamlessly with the silky milk.
  • Espresso focus: The flat white lets the full flavor of the espresso take center stage without being overshadowed by the milk or other add-ons.

Which One Is Stronger?

When it comes to strength, the answer lies in personal preference. While the flat white may deliver a more robust coffee flavor due to its stronger espresso presence, the latte offers a milder yet equally enjoyable option for those seeking a creamy and balanced taste.

Whether you prefer the bolder, more intense flavor of the flat white or the smooth, milky delight of the latte, both drinks are designed to satisfy your caffeine cravings and provide a delightful coffee experience.

The Milk Factor

The Milk Factor

Discovering the perfect balance of espresso and velvety microfoam, the Milk Factor unveils the nuances between a Flat White and a Latte. Delve into the subtle contrasts in coffee strength and milk texture for a delightful morning brew experience.

 Milk Type

  • Flat White: Uses microfoam, a velvety-smooth steamed milk with a thin layer of microfoam on top of espresso.
  • Latte: Contains more steamed milk and a light layer of foam, resulting in a creamier texture than the Flat White.

Steamed Milk Ratio:

Latte Vs Flat White Which Should You Pick
  • Flat White: Equal parts of espresso and steamed microfoam, offering a stronger coffee flavor with a silky mouthfeel.
  • Latte: More steamed milk than the Flat White, creating a smoother, milder taste with a creamier consistency.

Latte Art Potential:

  • Flat White: Its smaller volume and higher espresso ratio make it ideal for intricate latte art designs due to the microfoam texture.
  • Latte: The larger amount of steamed milk provides a canvas for creative latte art designs due to the creamier consistency.

Milk Temperature

Flat White:

  • The microfoam in a Flat White is typically steamed at a lower temperature than a Latte, enhancing the natural sweetness of the milk.
  • The milk’s lower temperature in a Flat White also allows the espresso flavors to shine through without being overpowered by heat.


  • Latte milk is usually steamed at a higher temperature compared to a Flat White, resulting in a hotter drink overall.
  • The higher milk temperature in a Latte contributes to a more pronounced milk flavor and a warmer beverage for those who prefer a hot coffee option.

Making Lattes And Flat Whites At Home

Making Lattes And Flat Whites At Home

Creating delicious lattes and flat whites in the comfort of your own kitchen is not only cost-effective but also allows you to customize your beverages according to your taste preferences. Whether you are a coffee connoisseur or simply enjoy a nice cup of joe, making lattes and flat whites at home can be both satisfying and rewarding.

The Perfect Espresso Shot

  • Start by ensuring that your espresso shot is the star of the show: When making a latte or a flat white, a good quality, strong espresso shot is essential. Utilize freshly ground coffee beans and a high-quality espresso machine to achieve the perfect brew.
  • The importance of the crema: The crema, or the thin layer of foam that sits atop the espresso, is a vital component of a great latte or flat white. It not only contributes to the visual appeal of the beverage but also enhances the overall flavor and texture.

Recommended: Best Nespresso Capsules For Latte

Steaming Milk To Perfection

  • Mastering the art of steaming milk: When steaming milk for lattes and flat whites, it is crucial to achieve the ideal consistency and temperature. Aim for a velvety microfoam that seamlessly blends with the espresso, providing a creamy and indulgent mouthfeel.
  • Understanding the role of milk: Whole milk is commonly used for lattes and flat whites due to its rich and creamy texture, which complements the robustness of the espresso. However, alternative milk options such as oat, almond, or soy can also be used to cater to different dietary preferences.

Assembling The Beverage

Lattes and Flat White Assembling
  • The layering technique: Properly layering the steamed milk and foam over the espresso is key to achieving the quintessential latte or flat white presentation. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also ensures a harmonious flavor profile with each sip.
  • Adding a personal touch: Experiment with various flavored syrups, spices, or decorative latte art to elevate the visual appeal and flavor complexity of your homemade lattes and flat whites.


When deciding between a flat white and a latte, consider your milk-to-coffee ratio preference. Both popular espresso-based drinks offer unique taste experiences. Whether you lean towards the velvety microfoam of a flat white or the creaminess of a latte, your choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Enjoy your coffee journey!


A. I. Moon

A.I. Moon, an experienced SEO Pythonista, spends his days coding and developing web applications to help business owners. A passionate coffee enthusiast, he believes that drinking coffee fuels his creativity and productivity. His day isn't complete without the rich aroma and invigorating warmth of a perfectly brewed cup. This love for coffee inspired him to found EspressoRivo, a platform dedicated to sharing his coffee knowledge and fostering a community of passionate aficionados.

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