As the popularity of coffee has grown, so has the diversity of coffee drinks on offer. Two of the most popular coffee drinks are the Flat White and the Cappuccino. Both drinks are made with espresso and steamed milk, but they differ in the amount of foam and milk used and the texture of the milk.
The Flat White is a smaller and stronger espresso-based drink than the Cappuccino. The Flat White usually has two espresso shots, while the Cappuccino has one. The Flat White is made with steamed milk with no foam. The Cappuccino has a thick layer of foam and steamed milk.
The Flat White and the Cappuccino are iconic coffee drinks highly popular internationally. These drinks are similar in some ways, but they have significant distinctions that set them apart from each other. Let’s explore the differences between the two most popular coffee drinks of the modern age.
What Is A Flat White?
The Flat White is a popular coffee drink that originated in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s. It is made by pulling a double shot of espresso into a small, 6-ounce cup and then adding steamed milk with microfoam.
The microfoam is created by steaming milk to a specific temperature and using a technique that incorporates tiny air bubbles into the milk. This results in a velvety texture thicker than the foam used in a cappuccino.
The key characteristics of a Flat White are its smooth and velvety texture, rich espresso flavor, and the perfect balance between espresso and milk. The drink is typically served in a small cup, which helps to highlight the complexity of the espresso and the creamy texture of the steamed milk.
Because the milk is steamed to a specific temperature and the foam is created using a special technique, the Flat White requires a skilled barista to prepare it properly.
The Flat White is a luxurious coffee drink perfect for those who want a rich, full-bodied coffee experience without the bitterness that can come with a regular cup of coffee. Its smooth and velvety texture and rich espresso flavor make it a favorite among coffee lovers worldwide.
What Is A Cappuccino?
The Cappuccino is a classic coffee drink that originated in Italy. It is made by pulling a single shot of espresso into a cup, followed by steamed milk and a layer of foam on top. The foam is created by steaming milk to a specific temperature and using a technique that creates larger bubbles than the microfoam used in a Flat White.
The key characteristics of a Cappuccino are its balance of espresso and milk flavors, along with a creamy texture and a layer of foam on top. The foam adds a lightness to the drink and provides a contrasting texture to the creamy milk and strong espresso. A well-made Cappuccino should have a distinct separation between the espresso, milk, and foam layers.
Traditionally, a Cappuccino is served in a 5-6 ounce cup, but it can also be ordered in larger sizes. The drink is often garnished with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top.
The Cappuccino is a classic coffee drink that has stood the test of time. Its balance of espresso and milk flavors, along with the creamy texture and layer of foam on top, make it a favorite among coffee drinkers worldwide. Whether enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon indulgence, the Cappuccino is a coffee classic sure to please.
Flat White Vs. Cappuccino
We have established that the Flat White and the Cappuccino are very different in many ways, but they are similar in some ways and can be difficult to distinguish from one another.
If you find yourself staring at a coffee shop menu wondering which drinks to order, it may help to know the taste and texture differences between the Flat White and the Cappuccino and how the drinks are prepared.
With that in mind, here is a comparison between the taste and textures of these two drinks and a brief description of how they are prepared to help you tell the difference between them and empower you to choose the drink that best suits your coffee craving.
Taste and Texture Comparison
Regarding taste and texture, the main difference between a Flat White and a Cappuccino is the amount of milk and foam used. A Flat White has a higher ratio of espresso to milk and a velvety, creamy texture, thanks to the microfoam.
On the other hand, a Cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, resulting in a lighter, airier texture with a distinct foam layer on top.
Personal preferences play a big role in which drink is preferred, as some people prefer a stronger espresso flavor with less milk, while others enjoy a lighter, frothier texture with more milk and foam.
The preparation process for a Flat White and a Cappuccino also differs. To make a Flat White, the barista steams the milk to a specific temperature, usually around 140°F, and creates microfoam by incorporating tiny air bubbles. The espresso is poured into the cup, followed by steamed milk and microfoam.
To make a Cappuccino, the barista steams the milk to a slightly higher temperature, around 150°F, and creates a foam layer by incorporating larger bubbles into the milk. The espresso is poured into the cup, followed by equal parts steamed milk and foam.
Making a Flat White requires more skill and precision than making a Cappuccino due to the delicate nature of the microfoam and the specific temperature requirements for steaming the milk.
Which Drink Should You Choose?
Choosing between a Flat White and a Cappuccino ultimately depends on personal preference. If you prefer a richer, creamier texture with less foam, the Flat White is a great choice. However, if you enjoy a lighter texture with more foam, the Cappuccino may be more to your liking.
Other factors to consider include taste preferences, time constraints, and customization options. A Flat White may be a better choice if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, as it has a higher ratio of espresso to milk. On the other hand, if you enjoy a milder coffee flavor, the Cappuccino may be a better option.
Regarding time constraints, the Flat White is typically faster to prepare than a Cappuccino since it requires less time to steam the milk and create the foam. If you are in a rush and don’t want to wait long for your coffee, a Flat White may be a better choice.
Both drinks can be customized to suit your personal taste preferences. For example, you can ask for extra foam or less foam or request a different type of milk, such as almond or oat milk. Adding a flavored syrup such as vanilla or caramel can also enhance the flavor of both drinks.
In conclusion, both the Flat White and the Cappuccino are delicious coffee drinks with their own unique characteristics.
Choosing between the two comes from personal preference, taste preferences, time constraints, and customization options. Whether you prefer a creamy texture with less foam or a lighter texture with more foam, both drinks are sure to please coffee lovers around the world.
The Flat White is known for its creamy texture and microfoam, while the Cappuccino has a lighter texture with a layer of foam on top. Both drinks can be customized to suit your personal taste preferences, and choosing between the two ultimately comes down to individual preferences and factors such as time constraints.
Be encouraged, coffee lovers, to try both drinks and experiment with customization options such as adding flavor syrups or using different types of milk. With so many ways to customize these classic coffee drinks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.