Cappuccino vs. Flat White: 5 Key Differences

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Are you curious about what separates a cappuccino from a flat white coffee? Or you’re trying to figure out which one to order the next time you visit your favorite coffee shop. 

Don’t worry; we’ve got all the information you need! With this guide, we’ll explain the difference between these two popular espresso drinks so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Cappuccino?

Cappuccino Vs. Flat White

Cappuccino is a type of coffee drink that originated in Italy. It combines espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk foam. Cappuccino is traditionally served in 6-8 oz (180-225 ml) cups with foam on top and often sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa powder for added flavor. 

It has become popular worldwide as an accompaniment to breakfast pastries, desserts, and other sweet treats.

What Is Flat White Coffee?

Flat White Coffee is an espresso-based drink that originated in Australia and New Zealand. [1] It’s made with two shots of espresso topped with steamed milk, resulting in a creamy beverage without the foaminess or texture associated with a cappuccino. 

The flavor profile tends to be well-rounded, emphasizing the espresso yet balancing coffee and milk flavors well. Compared to Latte drinks, Flat White coffees are generally served in smaller cups (6–8 fl oz), making them more concentrated and intense than other variations. 

Traditionally, Flat Whites have been prepared using full cream milk. However, many variations are now available using different kinds of milk, such as almonds or oat.

Related: Americano Vs. Cappuccino: A Comparison Guide.

Cappuccino Vs. Flat White

Taste And Flavor

Cappuccino is a traditional Italian espresso-based drink with a strong, robust flavor and a thick layer of creamy foam. It is made with one or two shots of espresso and steamed milk and topped with frothed milk foam. 

The proportion of each ingredient varies depending on personal preference, but usually, the ratio for cappuccinos is 1/3 coffee to 2/3 steamed and frothed milk.

A flat white is an Australian innovation that features two shots of espresso mixed with velvety textured whole or skimmed milk to create a smooth, creamy drink without any foam topping it off. 

This gives the beverage its signature flat look and its name; often, people need clarification on this drink and latte since they have similar ingredients but different proportions. 

Flat whites typically consist of 1/2 coffee to 1/2 steamed milk (with no added foamy froth). It has a richer taste than cappuccino due to the higher ratio of coffee to other beverage components.

Brewing Method

The brewing method for cappuccino and flat white is essentially the same – espresso shots are pulled, and steamed milk is added. However, there are some differences in the way these drinks are prepared.

A traditional cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed, and frothed milk. To make a cappuccino, baristas first pull a shot of espresso into a small cup. 

They then steam an equal amount of whole milk until it’s hot and has a velvety texture. The barista will then use just the top layer of this steamed milk to create foam (also known as microfoam) which they’ll spoon onto the top of the drink.

A flat white coffee has less foam than a cappuccino but more than a latte. It’s made by pulling two espresso shots into a smaller cup than used for lattes or cappuccinos. 

The steamed milk should be smooth and velvety with only very little foam on top – just enough to add sweetness to the drink without creating any distinct layers, as seen in other coffee types.

Overall, while both drinks require similar brewing methods, it’s all about how much foam vs. no foam you prefer in your coffee that sets them apart!

Related: Americano Vs. Black Coffee: What’s The Difference?

Milk Preparation

White Flat Coffee

The milk is steamed and foamed together for a cappuccino to create a thick creamy texture. Steaming involves heating the milk with an espresso machine’s steam wand until it has bubbly foam on top. 

At that point, the barista will tap and swirl the milk pitcher before pouring it into the cup with freshly pulled espresso shots.

For a flat white, only two ingredients are needed; espresso shots and steamed milk. The difference from cappuccinos lies in its preparation; no air is added while heating the liquid, so there’s no froth or foam on top. 

Instead, most baristas use their skills to create microfoam by texturing and swirling the heated milk with just enough air to give it body without creating large bubbles or excessive surface area on top of your drink. 

This method creates a velvety smooth finish that pairs perfectly with strong espresso shots for those who don’t want too much creaminess interfering with their coffee’s flavor profile.

Related: Americano Vs. Flat White: Are They Same?

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in a cappuccino and a flat white coffee is quite similar. The espresso shot has roughly the same amount of caffeine in both cases. 

It’s only when looking at milk-to-coffee ratios that things become different—a cappuccino generally contains more milk than a flat white, which would mean there’s less coffee per cup and, therefore, slightly lower levels of caffeine.

Health Considerations

The main difference between a cappuccino and flat white is the amount of milk used. A cappuccino contains more milk than a flat white, which makes it healthier for those who are lactose intolerant. 

Another health consideration is the number of calories – there’s less fat in a flat white due to the smaller quantity of milk used, making it an ideal choice if you’re watching your calorie intake.

A Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison table highlighting the main differences between a cappuccino and flat white:

AspectCappuccinoFlat White
OriginItalyAustralia and New Zealand
IngredientsEspresso, steamed milk, frothed milk foamEspresso, steamed milk
Milk-to-Coffee Ratio2/3 milk, 1/3 coffee1/2 milk, 1/2 coffee
FoamThick, creamy foam on topMinimal to no foam on top
TasteStrong, robust flavorRich, well-rounded flavor
Brewing MethodEspresso shots, equal parts milk and foamEspresso shots, steamed milk
Caffeine ContentSimilar to flat whiteSimilar to cappuccino
Milk PreparationSteamed and foamed togetherSteamed without foam
Calorie ContentHigher due to more milkLower due to less milk
Suitable forThose who enjoy creamy and foamier drinksThose who prefer a smooth and velvety texture

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, choosing between a cappuccino and a flat white depends on your taste preferences. If you prefer a robust coffee flavor with creamy foam on top, go for a cappuccino. 

Opt for a flat white if you prefer a smoother, well-rounded coffee with a velvety texture and no foam. Consider the milk-to-coffee ratios and foam presence when making your choice. 

Those lactose intolerant or watching their calorie intake may find the flat white more suitable due to its lower milk content. 


Is A Flat White Stronger Than A Cappuccino?

The strength of a coffee depends on the amount of espresso used rather than the type of drink. Both flat whites and cappuccinos typically use the same amount of espresso, so their strength would be similar.

Why Is Flat White More Expensive?

The pricing of coffee drinks can vary depending on several factors, including the type of establishment, location, ingredients used, and local market trends. While flat whites may sometimes be priced higher than cappuccinos, it is not universally the case.

Which Is Healthier, Flat White Or Latte?

In terms of health, both flat whites and lattes can be made with the same ingredients: espresso and milk. The healthiness of the drink depends on the type and quantity of milk used, as well as any additional sweeteners or flavorings. Flat whites and lattes can be relatively healthy with low-fat or alternative milk options. 

Why Do They Call It A Flat White?

The name “flat white” originates from Australia and New Zealand, where the drink was popularized. It refers to the beverage’s appearance, lacking the frothy or layered texture typically found in coffee drinks like cappuccinos. 

Are You Supposed To Stir A Flat White?

There is no strict rule about stirring a flat white. Some people prefer to give it a gentle stir to ensure an even distribution of flavors, while others enjoy sipping it as is.

Written and Published by:

Hello! I'm Joe, the face behind this myperfectgrind,com. While I may not be an expert, my love for coffee runs deep. Through my website, I aim to share my personal experiences, discoveries, and the joy that coffee brings me. Join me as we explore the world of coffee together, learning, growing, and enjoying every cup along the way. Learn more.