Flat whites and lattes – two delicious espresso beverages that have been enjoyed for a long time yet remain often confused for one another.

If you, too, have found yourself questioning which is best suited to your taste buds, look no further!

Quick Answer: What is the difference between a flat white and a latte?

The main difference between a flat white and a latte lies in the type of milk used and the ratio of coffee to milk. Flat whites are made with microfoam milk and use more espresso, whereas lattes are made with steamed milk and a layer of milk foam.

Flat White vs. Latte: How Do They Differ & Which Is Better?

In this article, it’s time to explore the differences between flat white vs. latte in-depth, their unique flavor profiles, and their ingredients.

So come along as I’ll break down everything you need to know about these popular coffee drinks – so that by the end of it all, you can finally decide whether a flat white or latte should be your go-to order at the cafe.

Flat white vs. latte, how do they differ?

Before getting into the details between these delicious espresso-based drinks, you can have a look at all the differences in this overview:

ComparisonFlat whiteLatte
Flavor notesSmooth with a slight bitternessCreamy and milk-heavy
Which coffee?Two espresso shotsOne espresso shot
Milk used?Yes, 1/2 cup (0.12 l)Yes, 3/4 cup (0.18 l)
Caffeine content136mg of caffeine68mg of caffeine
Number of calories68 calories110 calories
Topping?Light microfoam toppingMilk foam topping

As you can see, these drinks use the same ingredients, but the preparation is different, resulting in a different-tasting drink. Now, let’s get in-depth about the differences:

What is the difference in milk preparation?

A flat white is usually made with steamed whole milk that has been aerated into a “microfoam” consistency, meaning that the foam bubbles are extremely small and, in turn, give the flat white its signature smooth texture.

A latte is usually made with steamed milk that isn’t aerated as much as it is for a flat white, giving it a creamier texture than a flat white. It does, however, come with a larger amount of foam on top.

The foam on top of a latte is a lot more firm and will stay on the drink while you drink it. I usually like to stir a bit of the milk foam while I drink the latte for a better experience.

Homemade latte with a large foam topping.
Homemade latte with lots of milk foam

On the flat white, the milk foam is easily drinkable, and I find that you don’t need to stir it before drinking.

What is the flavor difference between a flat white and a latte?

The flavor difference between a flat white and a latte is subtle but noticeable. A flat white is essentially a small latte with less foam on top and more espresso.

The preparation of both drinks starts in the same way – by steaming milk for the espresso shot.

Brewing espresso shots.

The difference lies in how much foam is added and its texture.

With a latte, more foam is added to create an extra creamy texture and fuller taste, whereas, with a flat white, less airy foam is added to give off more of an intense espresso flavor with only creamy microfoam that coats the tongue.

Flat whites usually have twice as much espresso as lattes and use a little less milk.

This gives it an intensely strong coffee taste that isn’t overpowering due to the smoothness of the silky microfoam combined with creamy milk.

Lattes also tend to be slightly sweeter due to a more fluffy foam being used as opposed to microform, which can provide enough sweetness on its own.

Which is stronger? A flat white or a latte?

Flat whites generally have a more concentrated flavor than a latte due to the smaller quantity of milk used when making one and because it uses more espresso than a latte.

Homemade flat white.
Homemade flat white

You can also make a latte with two espresso shots, which will then be comparable to a flat white.

However, because a latte still uses more milk in its preparation, it’ll always have a slightly milkier taste.

Most people also compare strength to caffeine content. A flat white does contain more caffeine than a latte typically, but more on this below:

How much caffeine is in a flat white vs. a latte?

When considering how much caffeine is in a flat white vs. a latte, it’s important to first look at the components of each beverage.

A flat white contains two espresso shots, which typically have about 68mg of caffeine each — for a total of around 136mg per flat white.

On the other hand, a latte uses just one shot of espresso but can also be made with two espressos — totaling around 68-136mg of caffeine, depending on the size.

I always like to make my latte with just one espresso shot and the flat white with a doppio espresso because I like the taste better that way.

Single and doppio espresso next to each other.
Single espresso on the left. Double espresso on the right

In addition to these differences, it’s also worth noting that some cafes may use more or less coffee than others when preparing either type of drink.

So be sure to ask your barista exactly how much your specific beverage contains before chugging down too many espressos!

How many calories are in these drinks?

A homemade flat white has 68 calories, while a latte has 110 calories. This is calculated when using whole milk.

If you opt for a non-dairy alternative such as almond or oat milk, you’ll have fewer calories per serving.

Oatly oat milk.

Another factor that determines how many calories are in your chosen beverage is whether or not it includes any added sugars or syrups.

There are a lot of options when it comes to sweetening your coffee at home or at your local coffee shop.

Generally speaking, though, a latte will have a few more calories than a flat white because of its larger size and quantity of milk.

Which is better? A flat white or a latte?

When it comes to choosing between a flat white and a latte, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and what type of coffee experience you are looking for.

If you’re not quite sure after reading through the article, I’d suggest the following:

  • If you’re looking for an intense yet smooth coffee experience without too many extra flavors added to it, then a flat white might be for you!
  • But if you prefer something lighter-bodied yet still packed full of flavor, opt for a latte.
A side-by-side comparison between a flat white and a latte.
Flat white on the left. Latte on the right

Ultimately, both coffees offer unique experiences that cater to different tastes, so don’t be afraid to try out each option separately before deciding which one suits you best!

And remember, you can always order both coffees with a sweetener if they’re too strong for your taste.

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the flat white and latte compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!

Conclusion

As you can see, coffee drinks vary greatly in calories, caffeine, and flavor profile.

Regardless of the option that you choose, a flat white or a latte, the perfect cup of coffee is a matter of personal preference.

Therefore, if you’re looking for something sweet and creamy, the latte may be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if a more robust flavor is what you desire, then a flat white might be your best pick.

Whether it’s to start your morning or to give yourself an afternoon boost, both of these classic caffeinated beverages can add energy and warmth to your day.

Espresso-based recipes to try

Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee
Author

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

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