Flat White VS Cappuccino – What Are They, And Which Is Best ?

Have you ever had a moment when you just wanted to try something different even if you’re not sure about what? Or maybe you are in a good mood and you’re thinking „I’ll try a new thing today!” You look up on the menu a little confused and you just notice two beverages: flat white and cappuccino.

What’s the deal with these two drinks? What is better for you and most important which one tastes better? I’ll give you some big differences between them and after that I’ll show you how to combine them according to your taste. Let’s see!

cappuccino flat white

What is Flat White?

This delicious drink was invented in nearly 1984 somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. There are many stories but flat whites may have come from either New Zealand or Australia – the exact place of origin is unclear. However, it now has a huge success in coffee shops and every day millions of people share the same coffee around the world. How cool is this?

What is Cappuccino?

This also delicious coffee was invented long time ago (approx. 17th century) in Italy but is known in the rest of Europe since around 1930. It is also a coffee with a lot of history behind. Now it’s the most popular coffee type in shops.

Of course this is not the complex description about the history but we rather focus on the content of beverages and how it helps you to make better decisions every day.

What are the big differences between flat white and cappuccino?

First of all let’s see the composition of a flat: 2 shots of espresso (50 ml) and steamed milk. The milk in this drink is meant to be creamy, glossy and smooth. Here a big difference between flat white and cappuccino.

Fact: flat white was in the first place a filtered coffee with milk. Today it’s made with double espresso.

Secondly let’s see the composition of a cappuccino: 1 shot of espresso (25 ml) and steamed milk. The milk in this drink is meant to be thick and foamy.

Fact: cappuccino was first made with one shot of espresso, hot milk and a lot of foam milk. Today it’s made just with very well steamed milk.

Flat white (175-225 ml) is also bigger than cappuccino (150-180 ml). This is another way to differentiate them.

In conclusion there are three main differences between them: the amount of espresso, the amount of milk and the texture of a milk. Of course, all of this will affect the taste.

cappuccino flat white (1)

Here are two frequent questions about these two drinks.

Which one has more milk?

Let’s do some simple math.

One cappuccino means 150 ml of beverage.  If I remove 25 ml of espresso results 125 ml of milk. Also we have steamed milk, so minus some thick foam resulting in approx. 90 ml of milk.

One flat white means 175 ml of beverage. If I remove 50 ml of espresso we get 125 ml of milk. Also minus some creamy, glossy foam = approx. 110 ml of milk.

The ratio of espresso and milk is distinct from coffee shop to coffee shop. In our example we have 150 ml of cappuccino with 1 part of espresso and ~4 parts of milk. And we also have flat white with 1 part of espresso and ~2 parts of milk.

So, we have a winner. Flat white has more milk.

2. Which one has more caffeine?

Well, it’s obvious. Flat white is also a winner here with 2 shots of espresso.

Before I’ll show you how to combine them let’s talk a little bit about taste. There is a big distinction of taste and it’s relevant for us to know about this.

Everyone has a different number of taste buds (The average range is between 2000 and 10,000) and this is why we understand food (in our case coffee) very different. The moment you have a sip of coffee, your mouth seems full of flavors.

Coffee’s taste is the result of three fundamental elements: the flavorful sensations of bitterness, acidity and sweetness.

I think here is the biggest difference between flat white and cappuccino and the most important.

The taste.

Flat white is strongest, richest in coffee flavors, and point (in terms of professional „point” is a coffee with good overall characteristics of acidity, body and flavor). Meanwhile cappuccino is sweet, fresh, soft and it goes very well with a banana bread on the side.

For both of them the most important thing is the perfect espresso and the perfect milk.

Now it’s time to show you how to combine these two beverages. What does this mean, exactly ?

You’re not doing a cappuccino and flat white in the same cup.

But you can ask for a cappuccino with flat white foam or a flat white with a cappuccino foam or cappuccino with extra shot if you’re a die-hard coffee lover.

cappuccino flat white (2)

There are many, many options and I’m sure you will find the perfect coffee match.

So next time you’re in your favorite coffee shop ask for flat white or cappuccino or combinations of them. You already know the differences between them.

Bonus: 4 Interesting facts about your cup of coffee.

  1. A cup of coffee stays warm 20% longer if you add steamed milk. So a flat white will stay warmer than a cappuccino after 10 minutes.
  2. Light roast coffee has more caffeine that dark roast coffee. The longer coffee is roasted, the more caffeine is cooked from the bean. So next time when you order a flat white or a cappuccino and you need more caffeine ask for light roast.
  3. November 8th is International Cappuccino Day. You can celebrate with a cup of coffee.
  4. Don’t think your cup of coffee is too big. The 3,487-gallon serving earned a Guinness World Record in 2012.

I hope this article was useful and inspiring and if you have another interesting and relevant information about these two delicious beverages let me know.