Difference between flat white and latte

Rachel Thomas

UK

The days of ordering a simple ‘white coffee’ are over. Today, there are a plethora of milky options to tempt you. Do you know the difference between a flat white and latte? Let’s look at these popular creamy coffee drinks.

What is a flat white?

You've probably ordered, or at least tried, a flat white. It's a strong coffee drink with steamed milk. It's made with a shot of espresso (usually double) together with a small amount of steamed milk and a thin layer of microfoam. This will tick all the boxes if you like a robust hit of espresso, with a dense and velvety texture. It’s silky soft in the mouth and yet not too airy and fluffy. 

What is a latte?

A latte is a firm customer favourite in coffee shops around the world. It comes from the Italian word for ‘milk’ and is made with 1/3 espresso, 2/3 hot milk and the all-important layer of foam. This comforting drink is larger and heavier than a flat white and often served with a dusting of chocolate or sprinkles. 

When the weather turns cold and winter comes around, pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread lattes, and peppermint mocha lattes take pride of place on coffee shop menus, ready to lift the mood. It’s a coffee drink associated with moments of indulgence.

Know your milky coffees

Which espresso-based drink is for you?

•  Flat white
•  Latte macchiato
•  Cappuccino

Flat white, latte macchiato and cappuccino icons

Make authentic espresso

If you want to bring these delicious coffee house drinks into your routine, you'll need an espresso machine at home. Bursting with style as well as performance, it allows you to perfect the art of authentic espresso in your own kitchen.

The KitchenAid espresso machine has dual smart temperature sensors and a unique flat-based portafilter, our espresso machines maintains just the right temperature throughout the brewing process. This means that optimum extraction is achieved so that you get the finest taste and aroma. If you think you’re not an espresso expert, then you soon will be...

Get to know the espresso machine >

Perfect hot milk and foam

Frothing milk

If lattes and cappuccinos are at the top of your list, then you'll enjoy getting to grips with the steam wand on the espresso machine. It works in exactly the same way as those you see in commercial coffee houses. You can infuse your milk-of-choice with steam to either heat or froth it in a jug. Depending on how you use it, you can make hot milk or microfoam: everything you need to make any type of milky espresso-based drink to perfection.

Tip: To create velvety milk foam for a flat white, give your jug or pitcher a thump and a swirl once you’ve finished with the steam wand. This will disperse the bubbles and help to create that glossy and even consistency.

Love it cold? How to make iced latte

Iced coffee drinks are popular all year round, with the kick of coffee being combined with refreshing ice. To make iced latte at home, you can make your latte with your espresso machine and then let it cool to room temperature. Pour over ice and serve in a tall glass.

Irresistible flavours for latte

If you have a sweet tooth and are tempted by flavoured lattes in coffee shops, then why not try adding a few pumps of syrup at home yourself? You can stir, fold or shake in vanilla, butterscotch, caramel or hazelnut syrup for a delicious taste with just the right amount of sweetness.

What’s the best plant-based milk for a latte?

Vegans loves lattes too! If you're staying away from cow’s milk for any reason then there are now plenty of plant-based, non-dairy alternatives in the shops.

You could make flat white with almond milk, soy milk, oat milk or even coconut milk. You’ll find that some non-dairy milks froth more easily and readily than others, so experiment with the steam wand and a jug to get the creamiest texture and taste.

Tip: Don’t forget to take your milk from the fridge, as cold milk will produce the best foam.

Why is a flat white called a flat white? 

Originating in either Australia or New Zealand (the debate rages on), the Flat White is said to be named after the fact that the microfoam has small bubbles and is therefore more compact. A flat white is flatter than a voluminous latte.

The rise of the flat white

Where did the drink pop up from? No one was asking for a ‘flat white’ until relatively recently. That’s because it didn’t become a trend in UK coffee culture until after 2005. Delivering a dense velvety texture without the fluffiness of a cappuccino or the heaviness of a latte, it’s rocketed to the top of the favourites list. Espresso taste and milky texture all wrapped up in a small and convenient package.

Be a top maker with a tasty topping

There's always room for creativity... it makes life more fun. Why not add your own creative touch with a dusting, sprinkling or squirt of these coffee toppings?:
•  Chocolate powder
•  Nutmeg
•  Chocolate curls
•  Cinnamon
•  Whipped cream
•  Mini marshmallows
•  Rainbow sprinkles
•  Lavender (yes, lavender is a herb and you can buy culinary lavender that looks and tastes beautiful!)

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