Coffee is a very versatile beverage because there are so many ways of making and enjoying it. You can choose the simple black coffee or the complicated and more sophisticated versions of a cappuccino or latte. The two types of coffee that have seen a surge in popularity are the latte and the flat white. While they are both based on espresso, they have their nuances and differences. This article will discuss both of these coffee types and help you understand the differences between them.
What is a Flat White?
While most espresso-based coffee beverages originate in Italy, a flat white is different because it originates in Australia. Also, baristas serve flat whites in a glass and occasionally in a mug which is a departure from lattes that are primarily served in mugs.
The flat white is served as a 160ml to 200ml beverage and includes two espresso shots, making it a very strong coffee. The amount of foam in a flat white is very little, usually making a layer of about 1cm. The small amount of foam and a lot of espresso means the flat white is great for coffee art as it is easy to create contrast between the foam and the darker shots of espresso.
A flat white is a great option for those who are already used to drinking coffee but are looking for something stronger. It is also a great option for those looking for a beverage with just a little milk.
Lattes are the most popular type of cappuccino in the world. A cappuccino latte consists of either one or two espresso shots and steamed milk. In the past, many cafés served lattes in tall glasses, but it is now becoming common to serve them in large mugs.
Also, the amount of latte served in a single serving has been increasing over the years as all other beverages have grown in size. What used to be a 250ml latte has now grown to become a 350ml beverage. It is also now common to find lattes with two shots of espresso compared to the one shot that used to be added in the past.
So, what's the difference between a latte and a cappuccino? The main difference between the two is the amount of espresso, foamed milk, and steamed milk. When comparing a traditional cappuccino vs latte, you will find that the espresso, foamed milk, and steamed milk are added in equal amounts to a cappuccino while there is more steamed milk and less foam in a latte.
Also, before you choose a latte or cappuccino, think about whether you like your coffee blended. In a cappuccino, the layers of espresso, steamed and foamed milk are left in distinct layers while these the espresso and steam milk are blended in a latte and the foam added on top.
The latte has some similarities to a flat white because the amount of foam added in both is usually the same. For a latte or flat white, the foam is a 1-2 cm layer while it is 2-4 cm in a cappuccino.
Another thing to think about when choosing a cappuccino or latte is the flavor. A cappuccino has a much stronger flavor than a latte, with the latte having a milky and milder flavor. A latte is, therefore, a great option for those who are just getting into different types of coffee.
When talking about lattes and flat whites, you will often hear a barista mention a macchiato or you might see it on the menu. So, what is a latte macchiato? A latte macchiato is a latte, but it has a very distinct look. Like the cappuccino, the layers of ingredients in a macchiato are left unblended so you can see the layers of foam, milk, and espresso. They are added to the glass such that the milk is at the bottom, the espresso on the middle, and the foam on top.
If you order a latte macchiato, remember to stir before you start drinking because you will get the coffee first if you do not do so. As you can see, there is little difference between a latte macchiato vs latte vs cappuccino as the ingredients are the same. However, it is the presentation and preparation that make a difference.
How to Make a Flat White
While you would normally buy a flat white at a coffee shop so you can experience the barista’s creativity and personal touch, you can also make a flat white at home. The first thing you will need to do is make a double espresso. There are many ways to do this but using an espresso machine is the most convenient.
Once you have the double espresso, it is time to prepare the milk. You will need to steam the milk until it reaches a temperature of 55-62 degrees Celsius. To ensure the right temperature, you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk. Over time, you will learn what this temperature feels like in the hand and you will no longer need a thermometer.
To remove all bubbles in the milk and make it smoother and more velvety, thump it on the counter and swirl it. You might need to do this a few times until you get the consistency you want. Now add the double espresso into a mug and add the milk slowly. Do not worry about making latte art at this time but you can certainly learn how to do it later.
How to Make a Latte
Before you make a latte, you need to know that it contains ⅔ milk and ⅓ espresso with a thin layer of foam. So, what is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino when it comes to the ingredients? A cappuccino has espresso, foam, and steamed milk added in equal proportions.
The latte making process is the same as that of making a macchiato; you just have to add more foam in a macchiato. One challenge you might encounter is making the foam look and taste right. Baristas use a steamer to get the perfect texture, but it can be done with some tools you have at home.
It is very important to choose the right type of milk if you want the milk to froth right. The best type of milk for this is one with a high fat content, which is whole milk. 2% milk can also work, but the texture will not be exactly right.
While the best way to make a latte is to use an espresso machine with a steamer, not everyone has one at home. If you do not have an espresso machine, you can use a whisk to froth the milk. You can also use a handheld frother or a French press, which are all great but cost-effective options.
Once you have the espresso and steamed milk, you can add them into a mug and enjoy. The good thing about making a latte at home is that you can experiment until you find something that tastes and feels right.
How to Make a Cappuccino
If you are not interested in a flat white or a latte, the next best option is a cappuccino. A cappuccino is a lot easier to make than a flat white or a latte and the first thing you need to do when making one is to steam the milk. Ordinarily, you want to steam one cup of milk over medium heat. It is very important that you do not let the milk boil and you should remove it from the heat when bubbles start forming on the sides of the pan.
Now whip the milk using an electric mixer. The milk will start to thicken and so you should increase the speed of the mixer as you go. Stop once you reach the desired thickness and froth volume.
Next, make the coffee. For this, you can use a coffee machine, a press, or the drip method. The method you use will determine the final flavor and strength of the coffee. Once done, make the cappuccino. Add equal amounts of espresso, foam, and steamed milk to a cup and enjoy. You could try different types of milk to see how that tastes. To add more flavor to the drink, add syrup and experiment with vanilla or chocolate.
Learning Flat White Art
Many baristas make adding art to your cup of flat white or latte seem easy. However, it takes a lot of time and training to get good at it. If you want to start adding art to your coffee, there are lots of tutorials and classes online that you can join. Just remember that it will take a lot of practice and patience to make good coffee art.
Coffee is such an amazing beverage because there is so much you could do with it. Variations like lattes, flat whites, and cappuccinos have become popular, each with different characteristics and made for different types of coffee drinkers. You can learn how to make these types of coffee at home, and the good news is that you do not need special equipment to do so.