Flat White vs Latte: What Makes These

Are two Drinks Different?

Both the flat white and latte are espresso-based drinks all around the world. Many people may easily confuse these two drinks because they have very similar appearances.

However, flat white vs latte has distinct differences in their characteristics. In this article, Wikihome will help you to tell them apart. Let's find out together!

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

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

Related Post: Cappuccino Vs Latte: What is the Difference?

Flat White vs Latte Overview

To discriminate between these two drinks, you need to know about them first. Here is some information about the flat white and latte.

What is a flat white?

A flat white is a coffee beverage combining espresso and steamed milk. The origin of the flat white is controversial. Both New Zealand and Australia claim to be the birthplace of this drink, and this debate has not ended yet. 

Despite the complicated origin, the flat white is still at the top of the most popular coffee drinks. In many places, people considered a flat white as a "small latte".

The composition of a flat white may vary depending on the place and the barista. It can consist of 2 shots of espresso or ristretto and steamed milk, topped with a thin microfoam layer. The common milk to espresso ratio in this drink is 2:1. 

The thinness and flatness of the foam are the sources of the name "flat white". Most coffee shops serve the flat white in a 5-6oz cup. 

A flat white still maintains a relatively strong coffee taste with twice as much milk as espresso in the ingredients. The frothed warm milk gives the drink a silky and smooth texture and creamy mouthfeel.

People often enjoy a flat white without adding sugar or other flavors. It still has the natural sweetness of espresso. 

A flat white

A flat white

Related post: What is cappuccino coffee & How do you make it?

What is a latte?

A latte is also a popular drink made with espresso and milk originated in Italy. This beverage's full and exact name is "caffe latte," meaning "coffee and milk." But when it comes to the large commercial chains, people are more familiar with the short name "latte." 

To make a latte, for every 1 part of espresso, the barista will add 3 parts of steamed milk. A velvety foam layer will be the topping of the drink. 

With this ingredient ratio, lattes are available to serve in many different sizes from 6oz to 20oz. The most ordered size of a latte is a 10-12oz portion. 

The espresso flavor of a latte is mild because it contains a lot of milk. This large amount of milk also makes the drink creamy and milky. 

One of the factors that make the latte so popular is its high customization. You can add sugar or other flavorings to a latte according to taste. 

Besides, you can use non-dairy milk like soy milk or coconut milk as a substitution for whole milk. In some places, they even replace the espresso in a latte with some tea. This change creates unique lattes such as the matcha latte or latte chai.

The high dairy proportion of a latte makes it a perfect drink for breakfast. Lattes are great for coffee lovers who don't want a strong espresso beverage. 

A latte

A latte (1)

Related post: What is the Difference Between Latte and Mocha?

Differences Between Flat White Vs Latte 

It's easy to spot the similarities between a flat white and a latte due to the same basic ingredients. But each espresso drink has its different characteristics that make them unique. You can see the table below for more details about these differences.


Flat white


The ratio of espresso to milk



Serving size

Small, often 5.5 to 6oz in volume

Large, often 10-12oz in volume

Espresso flavor



Foam layer

Thinner and flatter

Thicker and foamier

Sugar or flavoring added

No need to add sugar or flavorings

Add sugar or flavorings according to taste


New Zealand or Australia


So, the most noticeable differences are the espresso to milk ratio, size, and foam layer. These factors will help you to distinguish a flat white from a latte.

The ratio of espresso to milk

As you can see in the table, a latte has more milk than a flat white.

This difference in the milk amount makes the difference in the taste of these drinks. The espresso flavor of a flat white is stronger than a latte. Also, a latte will have a more milky taste. 

Serving size

Since a latte contains more milk, its serving size is larger. A large amount of milk in this drink also allows you to add sugar or flavorings for more sweetness. 

However, most flat white servings are about 6oz in volume. The smaller size keeps the natural sweetness of the espresso in a flat white. So, it's not necessary to add any additions to this drink. 

The flat white has a smaller size

The flat white has a smaller size

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Foam layer

Another distinction between a flat white and a latte is the foam layer. The foam layer of a flat white is thin, flat, and more velvety. But the latter has a thicker foam layer, and the bubbles seem to be larger. 

Flat White Vs Latte: Which One is for You? 

Both the flat white and the latte are popular coffee beverages, but they are for different coffee drinkers. 

A latte will be suitable for newbies in the coffee world. The mild taste of coffee in this drink is more approachable. Besides, you can serve a latte with sugar or some syrups for more sweetness.

Lattes also have many variations for you to choose from. So, if you are seeking a chill drink, a latte is a good option. Besides, foam lovers will surely prefer a latte. 

A latte will be suitable for newbies in the coffee world

A latte will be suitable for newbies in the coffee world

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy more coffee flavor in your drink, a flat white is good to go. Its smaller size and lower amount of milk maintain the espresso taste. 

A flat white is also a healthier choice if you are on a diet because it has fewer calories. 

How to Make These Drinks

If you like the flat white or latte, why don't you try to make one at home? Here we have the guide to make a flat white and a latte for your reference. 

It's necessary to have a coffee grinder and an espresso machine to make these drinks. The basic ingredients include coffee beans and milk. If you want a drink with more flavors, you can prepare some additions like sugar, syrups, or other flavorings.

How to make a flat white

How to make a flat white?

How to make a flat white?

Below are steps to have a perfect homemade flat white.

Step 1: Grind the coffee beans with the coffee grinder and measure the grounds you need. Then tamp them and put them into the espresso machine.

Step 2: Take 2 shots of espresso and pour into a 6oz cup. Add 4-5oz of milk into a pitcher and steam.

Step 3: When the milk is hot, use the frothing wand of the espresso machine to froth the milk. You need to froth until microfoam forms.

Step 4: Swirl the milk and the espresso to remove all the bubbles. Then pour the milk slowly into the espresso cup. Move the pitcher around when pouring milk to mix the will with the espresso. 

The most important part of making a flat white is frothing milk. The milk must be free of large bubbles and get a velvety foam texture. Using full-fat milk can help you get the microfoam more easily. 

How to make a latte

How to make a latte?

How to make a latte?

The process to make a latte is quite similar to making a flat white. You can consult the following instructions to make a tasty latte. 

Step 1: Star with grinding and measuring the coffee grounds. You should grind until the grounds are fine.

Step 2: Add the coffee grounds into a portafilter to tamp, then place the filter into the espresso machine to brew.

Step 3: Pour 2 shots of espresso into a large glass or mug. If you want a milder coffee taste, you can use 1 shot of espresso. 

Step 4: Steam 6 ounces of milk and froth the milk when it's still hot. 

Step 5: Add the milk into the espresso gradually and use a spoon to keep some milk foam back for the topping.

Step 6: When finishing pouring the milk, layer foam on top of the latte. Decorate with the latte art if you can.

For more sweetness and flavors, you can put some sugar, syrups, or vanilla extract into your latte. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which one has a stronger coffee taste: a flat white or a latte?

A flat white has a stronger coffee taste than a latte due to its smaller size and less milk. The common volume of a flat white is 5.5-6oz including 2oz of espresso. So, the espresso is quite intense. 

However, the amount of milk in a latte is usually at least 3 times the amount of espresso. Thus, the milk in the latte is somewhat overpowering the espresso. 

Why does a flat white usually cost more than a latte?

A flat white is smaller in size than a latte, but it is more expensive. One reason is that making flat white requires more skills to create the perfect microfoam.

The main reason for the higher price is the perceived value of a flat white. The flat white appears later, and people consider it as a trendier coffee drink.

How can you make your latte healthier?

Lattes contain a lot of milk, so it's not good for drinking every day. But you can make a healthier version of lattes by using non-dairy milk instead of whole milk. Oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk are some good substitutions.

Do you need to add sugar to a flat white?

A flat white has the natural sweetness of espresso and steamed milk. Thus, you don't need to add sugar or sweetened additives if you want to enjoy the original taste of the flat white. 

Final Words

Above is all the information about the flat white and latte, and what makes them different. If you haven't tried a flat white or a latte yet, go for one to see the difference. Also, you can enjoy your own flat white or latte at home as they are quite easy to make. 

Thank you for reading!

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