Ever wondered what the difference is between a Flat White and a Latte?
We look at the key differences between this (relatively) new kid on the block, Flat White, and an old faithful, the Latte.
The most straightforward difference between these two drinks is the size.
This is very important, as the overall size of the drink impacts the coffee to milk ratio. This, in turn, influences the taste.
At Caffé Nero, our standard Latte is around 300ml (10 oz.), whereas a Flat White is a more compact drink, at 175ml (roughly 6 oz.). Both contain a double shot of coffee, so the ratio of coffee to milk is much higher for a flat white.
Whole milk versus semi-skimmed
A Flat White is traditionally made with whole milk, and that’s the way we do it, too. Our Latte, by comparison, is usually made with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, depending on your preference.
Whole milk has more sugar and more fat in it, which makes it easier to steam to a creamy and smooth texture. Whole milk generates a more stable micro-foam to blend back into the hot milk, and it lasts longer in the cup. This gives the drink a silkier appearance, with a fuller mouthfeel.
A Latte made with semi-skimmed milk will have a greater separation between the heated milk and layer of micro-foam, which sits above it. This gives it a lighter mouthfeel.
Espresso versus ristretto and the impact on flavour
We make our Latte with a double Espresso shot and our Flat White with a double Ristretto. You can learn more about the difference between Expresso and Ristretto on our blog.
The Latte is a milder, milkier drink as the milk dilutes, sweetens and mellows the coffee flavour. Made with a double Espresso, which boasts notes of dark chocolate and hazelnut, the Latte, when combined with milk, gives a comforting malty flavour.
Our Flat White, by contrast, retains more of the coffee’s character, making it a punchier drink. In our case, the drink’s made with a double Ristretto, the short-and-sweet cousin of our Espresso. Ristretto can be an intensely sweet and fruity experience, amplified when combined with the natural sweetness of densely foamed whole milk.
Which one is for you?
Of course, we encourage you to try both to see which you prefer, but you might favour a Latte if you want a longer coffee to savour over time, if you’re looking for a milder coffee flavour, but with the same amount of caffeine, you want a coffee that feels thinner (or lighter) in your mouth, and if you’re after a lower calorie drink.
Although the Flat White’s smaller, the whole milk makes a Latte the lighter option. However, if you’d normally order a Latte and then add sugar, a Flat White’s worth a try. The combination of whole milk and a double ristretto shot sweetens the drink naturally.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a white coffee that retains more of the Blend’s character with a luxurious, creamy mouthfeel without needing to add sugar, then Flat White’s the one for you.