The Blend

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Flat White Pour

Flat White Vs. Lattes

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Team

You may have noticed that the flat white is experiencing a bit of a moment, popping up as a featured menu item at coffee shops around the country. Originally invented in the 1980s in either Australia or New Zealand, depending on whose story you find more convincing, this espresso beverage has been slowly introduced into cafes across the US in the last decade and was first introduced on our menu at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in 2017.


While fewer drinks are as a ubiquitous and popular as the Café Latte, many customers may need some clarification between a flat white and a latte. Luckily, you can just read this handy guide and never confuse a flat white for a latte again!

Flat White Vs. Lattes


Both drinks include espresso and some form of milk. The differences lie in the details, so before we dive in let’s cover essentials:


  • Flat whites contain velvety aerated milk we call micro foam that is blended in with the espresso, while lattes contain both milk and a layer of foam on top.
  • Depending on the café, a flat white has a higher concentration of caffeine than a latte.


What Is a Flat White?


Short answer: a drink made very carefully. The base of a flat white is a double shot of espresso which is then combined with lightly aerated milk to create a velvety-smooth espresso beverage. The meticulous balancing of aerated milk and espresso creates a flavorful beverage that packs a punch, as there’s no layer of foam on top since the micro foam is blended in with the espresso.  



What Is a Latte?


The standard latte was first made in the 1950s but exploded in popularity during the 1980s and has remained a coffee shop mainstay ever since. Though the latte is reimagined and tweaked endlessly the basic recipe stays the same: a single or double shot of espresso, combined with steamed milk, and garnished with foam. The preparation of the milk differs, and the larger volume of milk and addition of foam sets a latte apart from the flat white.

Compared to a flat white there is more milk in a latte: the typical ratio for steamed milk to espresso in a latte is around 2-to-1.


Serving Differences: Flat White Vs. Lattes


The flat white is traditionally served in a smaller cup than a latte since it is considered an espresso-forward beverage. When ordered in our stores, our flat whites come in the standard size cups (12oz, 16oz, and 20oz) but include an extra shot of espresso than our classic lattes. For those wanting to take their time enjoying their perfectly crafted flat white, we offer ceramic “for-here” mugs that make enjoying this beverage the ultimate experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, lattes vary widely in size, as milk dominates the volume of the beverage. In many cafes, lattes can usually be ordered in a variety of sizes. We offer them in 12oz, 16oz, and 20oz cups.

How Much Caffeine Is in a Latte Vs. Flat White?

While the caffeine content is roughly similar based on how many shots of espresso you order, our flat white packs more of a punch because we add an extra shot of espresso. There is about twice the amount of caffeine per ounce in a flat white, so if you just crawled out of bed and need a pick-me-up order a flat white. If you get the jitters and just need a cozy, warm beverage for a session of writing in the afternoon go with a latte.


Decide which take on espresso and milk you prefer by sampling our version of both - head to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in your neighborhood to dive into the energizing elixir that is a flat white or the tasty, milky goodness that is a latte.