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Thread: Does a latte really differ from a flat white' or a cappucino?

  1. #1
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    Does a latte really differ from a flat white' or a cappucino?

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    I've long thought that the 3 most commonly ordered coffees are basically the same when ordered in cafes.

    Although a cappucino is supposed to be 1/3 froth, while flat white is supposed to have no froth, most cappucinos or flat whites ordered in a decent cafe will come with some latte art, which basically means it cannot possibly be a cappucino or a flat white, but a latte (the only drink with the correct texture of froth to allow latte art in my opinion).

    It seems now that cappucinos are basically lattes served in a ceramic cup with chocolate, and flat whites are lattes served in a ceramic cup, while lattes are served in a glass (Duralex Picardie in Sydney, Duralex Provence in Melbourne).

    Any thoughts?

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    Yup. Agree

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    Senior Member Philby1981's Avatar
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    Depends on who's making it. Flat white usually up to about 2mm froth, latte is about 5mm and cuppachino is around 7mm with chocolate powder. And of cause the cup/glass it's served in.
    That's if my memory serves me correctly from coffee school.
    I wouldn't order a latte and expect a mouthful of foam on my first sip nor would I order a flat white that doesn't have some sort of texture about it.
    But as long as it taste great and feels what I ordered in the mouth than I'm never too concerned, not about to scrape foam back and get a ruler out every time I order a coffee

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    Coffee School in Melb, as of last year, teaches that Cap is about 30% froth and 30% milk, latte is about 20% froth and flat white has a smidge - probably the 2mm mentioned above. For mine, a good latte has maybe 10mm in a latte glass. All have the same sort of texturing going on - caps have changed from the 70's when froth was white fluffy almost-boiled milk so now the difference is how long you do the ppfft-phfft 'magic sound' while texturing the milk. I showed my missus what I meant by over-doing the milk and she calls the old style 'porn froth.'

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    I don't order flat white, but logic would tell me that flat white should have no foam at all. I have a friend that ordered flat white at St Ali's and sent it back that it was a.) not a flat white and b.) wasn't hot enough. Now, I do have to point out that he ain't no coffee snob, his favourite coffee is probably instant (well, actually, he just told me that he has purchased an Aldi pod machine and is very happy) and every time I make him coffee, he sticks it in the microwave to heat it up, as I refuse to burn the milk. I was embarrassed at St Ali's. I was the one that suggested going there, and he wanted to know where I found this terrible place. But I did wonder about the flat white bit - there was definitely some foam on the coffee he got

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    As a flat white drinker I can't remember ever getting a flat white with no foam. I expect some milk microfoam from the texturing, with the crema on top of the coffee/milk. I like hotter milk too, so I ask for it when I order because I know it will come at the proper milk temp otherwise. It shouldn't have the airy top froth like a cappuccino though - that's just wrong.

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    If they are making multiple coffees the flat white might get some of the textured foam; if they are making just the flat white I wouldn't expect foam on top as such - what comes is usually the crema mixed with a little of the milk. If I got a flat white WITHOUT crema on top I'd probably be looking for somewhere else to get my coffee.

    And if you're getting extra hot milk, chances are good there will be a small amount of 'bubbled' milk with it as you get them forming from the boiling process, not just from proper texturing.

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    A flat white should have the same "amount" of froth as a latte but because it it served in a ceramic cup with a wider opening it should spread across the top of the cup to form approx 2-3mm of foam as apposed to the 5mm in a latte glass.
    Also a flat white should be a stronger coffee. the latte is served in a taller glass in order to hold more milk and make the coffee weaker.
    This does not mean more or less coffee goes into the cup, just that the cup holds a different amount of liquid.

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    Maybe you have different latte glasses to what I have used? Or maybe I had bigger cups? But my experience is the cups hold as much as the glass - more in one of the places I've made coffee but they were noticeably bigger cups than normal.

    But then I have seen latte glasses with small handles on them - I'd call them hot coffee glasses but the café said they were latte.

    I query because I'd never heard there was meant to be a difference in strength of coffee between the two forms. I'd have guessed the latte would be stronger simply because same volume-more froth means less actual milk in the glass. But then I try not to get froth in the flat whie, so maybe that's the difference.

    Lots of variety in the world of coffee - I swear it is more complex than the wine world.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Maybe you have different latte glasses to what I have used? Or maybe I had bigger cups?
    I think that this could be a big clue. I see so many different types of glasses in cafes, that the drinks are almost always going to vary.


    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Lots of variety in the world of coffee - I swear it is more complex than the wine world.
    And to think that we are only talking about 3 different drinks! In the wine world, we could be talking about a heap of different varietals and blends of them!

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    Whos been to Patricia's in the CBD? Ask for a 'white', its one size, in a ceramic cup they designed. Its the best
    Magic_Matt likes this.

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    Member antiXa's Avatar
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    Yeh I agree how are they different same shot same milk cept I guess the obvious being no froth on the flat white.

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    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    I would say that there should be a difference in texture between all three but in reality there seldom is

    In theory if I were making all three of the above drinks I'd pour the cappuccino first without greatly working the milk so it has more body, but a bit less 'texture', and the latte second, after working the milk (revolving it in the milk jug to build an even texture throughout), and the flat white last after the 'foamy' milk from the latte has been poured off

    Of course it's possible to make milk specifically for each application by using one milk jug at a time for each different coffee that you make - but in a cafe setting at least I can't see how this would be commercially viable...

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    Went to Italy last month, tried to order a latte and got a cup of warm milk.

    I liked it.

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaoYang View Post
    Went to Italy last month, tried to order a latte and got a cup of warm milk.

    I liked it.
    Next time you're in Italy make sure you ask for a "caffè latte" if you want coffee with your hot milk cuz "latte" just means milk

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    Yeah, managed to figure it out by the second day. They still kept looking at me weird so I just went for cappucinos for my breakfast drinks though.



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