Commonly Confusing in Milk Coffees - Flat White VS Latte VS Cappuccino

Posted by Chanho Hong on

Commonly Confusing in Milk Coffees - Flat White VS Latte VS Cappuccino

A brief history

There are people who have commonly been confusing in milk coffee which is what the difference is between flat white, latte and cappuccino. So far, we understand that cappuccino is a milk coffee that has a thick milk form layer and latte has a slightly less form but more volume of milk.

How about flat white? No one actually knows where the flat white was actually invented and officially named. However, at least we know that this is from Australia or New Zealand. To understand this more, we need to look at the cultural background of Australia.

The first coffee was made in late 1700s and the first espresso coffee was introduced in 1930s by Italian and Greek immigrants, then there was a boom of Italian style espresso bar (TCP Training 2017, Coca Cola 2017, Todd Plummer 2018).

Australians, then, were tea drinkers used to drink teas with a dash of milk. When coffee was introduced, it is assumed that people naturally drink coffee with milk, which is a very natural situation. It is possibly assumed that the milk coffee was started as a cappuccino in a (approximately) 4oz cup or latte in a (approximately) 5-6 oz glass cup. No one actually know why. But for some reason, people started to put chocolate powder on the top of cappuccino and the same coffee, same cup but with no powder is called as ‘flat white’. Literally, the flat white is flat(thin) in terms of thickness of the froth, less amount of milk than lattes, hence tastes strong in coffee flavour as there is no chocolate powder affecting.

So, what’s difference?

A few years ago, there are a number of Australian cafes serving latte in a glass cup, cappuccino and flat white in a ceramic cup. Size-wise, it is different but it is same. (There is no rule! It is totally depending on the owner’s decision.) But the major difference is the thickness of the milk froth. Cappuccino is over 1cm, flat white is less than 0.5cm and latte is between 0.5cm and 1cm. Even though we assume that the size of the cup is same, the flavour and texture of each coffee is very different. Flat white is more smooth and silky whereas cappuccino is creamier and rich and latte is in between.

What we do at Normcore?

The issue here is the take away cups. Customers usually drink their coffee through the take away cup and lid which blocks the froth hence splitting froth and liquid of the milk. So, differentiation of frothing does not work. Thus, for take aways, we do a consistently same thickness of the milk so that providing the same balanced coffee with silky smooth texture.

What does really matter?

The most important thing here is not the material of the cup(whether it is ceramic or glass) or the size of the cup(whether it is 5oz or 6oz or others), is definitely the flavour of the coffee which can be different depending on barista’s decision. Although only flavour matters, we should understand what it is, why it is and how it is so that enabling ourselves to proudly present our product and philosophy.

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