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Is Flat White a Latte, a Cappuccino, or a Different Type of Coffee?


Flat white appeared in Russian coffee houses relatively recently. Most people still treat it with slight skepticism (what kind of incomprehensible combination they call it) and choose good old cappuccino. Those who dare to try flat white will become its fans forever.

We understand what is the difference between “flat white” and latte and cappuccino, and why it is worth a try if you like rich coffee taste and milk foam at the same time.


In general, there are two versions of the origin of flat white. According to one, the drink's author is Alan Preston, owner of Sydney bar Moors. The latter, more common, flat white originated in Auckland, New Zealand: the recipe was invented by Derek Townsend, a roaster and barista at Cafe DKD. And it was actually out of desperation.

The problem was that the quality of New Zealand milk was too high.

Due to the mild climate with a more or less constant average annual temperature, cows in New Zealand graze on fresh grass pastures and produce delicious and rich milk all year round. The barista whips up this milk for cappuccino and latte (definitely according to the recipes!), As a result, they received a very high foam, which "overwhelms" the coffee itself with its taste.

To offer their guests coffee instead of a coffee-flavored milkshake, experimental baristas varied the amount of milk and coffee until they found a drink with a strong coffee flavor, minimal milk content, and a very thin layer (0.20-0.25 cm). ) milk foam.


The name of the new drink did not appear by chance. The fact is that many immigrants from Europe, especially Greece and Italy, have historically lived in both Australia and New Zealand. They brought their love of black coffee brewed in the French press or geyser coffee maker with them. This coffee was called black. When the fashion for milk drinks came from Europe and the USA, they were called white. Those who ordered coffee simply indicated which option they needed – “black” or “white” (by “white” they also meant lattes and cappuccino). Without further ado, the drink was called "flat white", since there was very little milk in the new recipe and the foam layer turned out to be thin.

Plain White would have remained a local landmark if not for Australian Peter Hall and New Zealanders Cameron McClure and James Gurnsey. In 2005, the three of them opened Flat White Soho, a small takeaway coffee shop in one of London's busiest areas, and unexpectedly became the stars of the coffee world. Four years later, in an interview with The Independent, McClure admitted that the cafe was selling more than 700 cups of flat white a day.


By the way, a big fan of the drink is actor Hugh Jackman. In 2018, he opened Laughing Man Coffee & Tea in New York City, which of course has flat white on its menu.

Not a latte and not a cappuccino


Cappuccino. At the heart of everyone's favorite cappuccino is 1 serving of espresso - 30 ml. A strict classic recipe suggests proportions: one-third espresso, one-third warm milk, and one-third milk foam, although in many coffee shops baristas play with the taste, adding less foam and making up for the amount with milk. The height of the foam should be 1 cm.

latte. It is the most milky drink. Espresso whole (30 ml) - ¼ of the whole drink. Foamed milk for another ¼ “hat” and warm milk for the rest. The height of the foam according to the standards should be equal to 0.5 cm.

Flat white differs from its counterparts in the amount of coffee. It contains 2 servings of espresso (60 ml) and 110 ml of milk, until small bubbles and a velvety structure appear, but in no case up to a lush foam (for lovers of this there is a cappuccino). The height of the foam is about 20-25 mm, but not higher.


Generally speaking, flat white is the opposite of latte, the "dark" antipode in the diverse world of coffee drinks.

What to choose in the end?

But everything is simple here.

Love the "sweet" light coffee with syrups and milky sweetness - choose a latte.

Opt for the classics with a croissant or cake - ask for a cappuccino.

And if you want to cheer up with a double coffee, but the traditional double espresso is bitter, don't hesitate, get a flat white.

Moreover, it is very easy to make at home.

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