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Thread: Latte's, Flat Whites & Cappuccino's - What's the difference?

  1. #1
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    Latte's, Flat Whites & Cappuccino's - What's the difference?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I've read and researched this topic to death and its amazing what people's (and barista's) understanding (or there lack of) is of the differences between Latte's, Flat Whites & Cappuccino's. Can anybody enlighten me please?

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Two of them have the grocers' apostrophe, the other doesn't.
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    My understanding is.
    .... its only the amount ( depth ) of foam on the top .
    ...and a sprinkle of choc for the Cap'
    ...and the style of cup its served in
    ..and..

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    Latte - Eastern suburbs
    Flat White - Westies
    Cappuccino - anyone else
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteman View Post
    Latte - Eastern suburbs
    Flat White - Westies
    Cappuccino - anyone else
    What if you live in Perth?

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    I played this game once.
    I ordered all three. Asked for them to be made in a cup, and requested no chocolate dusting on the cappuccino.
    When they were delivered to the table, the fun started when I asked the waitress to tell them apart, saying that I and my guests only drink what we ordered.

    We left a big tip for her, as she was a good sort and the coffee was well made.

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    Latte's, Flat Whites & Cappuccino's - What's the difference?

    That's like blind tasting of Cola's... or Milk... Or whatever...

    What are you gonna do? Remove all packaging and labelling and marketing...

    What a bland boring world that would be...

    Nah, tart em up, I say...

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    Depends firstly, on what market you are asking about. If it is Australia, then proceed as follows:

    Assume all are served in the same KORREKT size volume vessel (whether it be a cup or glass because that sometimes differs between locations).

    Ignore chocolate sprinkles for the moment, and think about the liquid / foam ratio in the vessel.

    Assume (rightly) that the volume of espresso in the bottom of the vessel is the same for all.

    At first look it seems the difference is in the amount of foam on top.

    Yes, but what that actually means, is the amount of milk in each is different - which means, the character of the total "milk coffee" is different.

    EG.
    The capp has the most foam on top, meaning it has the least amount of milk, for the same amount of black coffee.

    The flat white has the least amount of foam, meaning it has the most amount of milk, for the same amount of black coffee, in the same size vessel.

    The character of the three coffees is therefore different (or should be if all this is done properly....)

    The quantity of foam on top (which then defines the amount of milk) is defined in John Doyle's excellent (and approved) teaching manual "Barista Techniques".

    The differences between the three are almost "academic", but they do make a difference to the character of each brew IF you are comparing the three in a one on one on one cupping comparison and are aware and concentrating on what is landing on your palate.

    After that, and because of the differences you will find between establishments and their interpretations of the three as made by their trained and untrained selection of "baristas", its probably nothing more than academic, smoke and mirrors and the perceived image of what anyone is drinking rather than the actuality.

    Try it at home, and see how you go.

    If it were up to me, I would simplify the whole thing in this way:

    Either you want a milk coffee WITH foam, or WITHOUT.
    That narrows it down to "flat white", or cappuccino, with the client specifying for either of the two, whether he/she wants it in a cup or a glass.

    In fact, this would seem to the "original" way of doing it because if you go back to the italian roots of this, you are either having a "caffe latte", or a cappuccino, where a caffe latte is simply a "milk coffee" (no foam, just milk coffee), and a cappuccino is a cappuccino.

    Simple, and logical. That of course, is the problem....its too simple and too logical, and it will never work here.....!

    And so if given the choice, I'll have a glass of red please.

    Hope that helps.

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    Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 24th November 2012 at 09:44 AM.
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    ..But its very rare for them to be served in the same size cup/glass ?
    ...but as you say ,..its all "academic", really as each "barista" will do it his own way ( quite rightly)

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    lack of standardisation (cups, glasses, size of, and individual's intererpretations) in the "milk bar" industry is the bane of all our lives, and means that you cant walk into a cafe and be sure of what you are going to get for your money.

    And that is the least of the problems caused. Its a different topic, but it creates havoc in the coffee bean supply trade because all of these people doing things their own way, blame any and all of their problems on the coffee beans...when usually they are a product of them not doing things in a standard way but not understanding the consequences of doing that.

    People behind coffee machines are not being paid to be tormented creative artist types...they are there to provide a service and give their paying customers value for their money. If you order a capp then by golly,.....thats what you want, and there is only one way of doing it properly according to a spec or definition. There is no room for people to do things "their own way" in this topic.

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    Latte's, Flat Whites & Cappuccino's - What's the difference?

    One question?
    Will that red be with foam or without? :tic

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    Neither, but can I have it in a cup please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    lack of standardisation .....
    ....People behind coffee machines are not being paid to be tormented creative artist types...they are there to provide a service and give their paying customers value for their money. If you order a capp then by golly,.....thats what you want, and there is only one way of doing it properly according to a spec or definition. There is no room for people to do things "their own way" in this topic.
    .. Ooo Err ? ..almost sound like you are proposing the adoption of a "Full Auto Vending" type coffee machine !

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    Smile

    Not at all

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    Amount of froth, that is all. Cappuccino's do not traditionally have chocolate on top.

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    there is a difference in the texture of the milk for a Capp compared to a latte.
    Capp you are working for more volume while the latte you are working harder on the texture.

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    Also don't forget the foam colour. The capp foam contains the last 50% and forms the white crest, the latte contains the first 50%. When you drink a latte the first taste is the coffee, (also capp in Italy) when you drink an Australia Capp the first taste is the chocolate.

    That's how I was taught in Europe anyway..

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    Depends on where you are drinking it, standard of training of the operator, and the usual lack of standardisation across the board. Not everyone places chocolate on the top (the better places dont), and if the capp is made to the actual standard here, it shouldnt be "whited out" to the sides of the cup ie, there should be a (brown) ring of crema right round the cup, and therefore the first taste should be the coffee (depending on which way you hold the cup and if you have concidentally or otherwise chosen a place to drink from that may be whited out.....or not.....).

    This may be more technical than the OP expected / intended (?) nevertheless it will be good for all to know. Certainly, anyone that has entered an AASCA barista comp would (should) know if not before, then at least afterwards.....
    Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 26th November 2012 at 12:45 PM.

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    agreed, when i did my barista course I quickly learnt that my efforts before were pretty average, learnt heaps on how to improve my coffee, made me more obsessed with making better, became more critical of the poor quality coffee offered by most cafe's (and stopped drinking the muck at work!)

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    ...Cappuccino's do not traditionally have chocolate on top
    I think tradition got lost on the boat over from Europe.
    Its more common to see choc on capp's than to see one "naked" !
    And there is another "school" that sprinkles the choc on the crema before adding the milk to the Capp' to give extra definition

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    I'm with Fresh Coffee on the issue of 'standardisation'.
    I'm not much impressed by some Barista's flamboyant interpretation of a traditional style.
    In fairness, I do think Baristas faces a huge challenge from the modern tendancy for people to want everything customised to their particulay preference regardless of any traditional conventions. The "long Macchiato" is a case in point.



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