flat white coffee flat white coffee

How to make a flat white coffee

By the Lavazza Team 2–3 minutes

For coffee lovers around the world, the flat white is one of the most popular daily coffee choices. There is much online conjecture about the exact origin of the flat white. Some say that the flat white coffee originated in Sydney, Australia - a country known for its love of coffee - in 1985 at Moors Espresso Bar, where the owner claims to have invented the drink. Others will disagree, insisting that the flat white originated in New Zealand

Regardless of its origins, what is certain is that flat white has become a staple order in coffee shops, cafés and restaurants around the world. However, for those of us looking to get our coffee fix from home, you may be wondering how to make the perfect flat white.

In this article, we will clarify the differences between the main types of coffee-based beverages and provide a step-by-step guide on how to make a flat white at home.

What is a flat white coffee?

A flat white coffee combines a double shot of espresso with warm milk, and is typically served in a wide cup. It is often presented with a beautiful pattern where the milk layers with the coffee, known as ‘latte art’.

flat white

How to make a flat white

If you're looking to make one while at home with a coffee machine, we're here to help you enhance your barista skills so you can enjoy a proper flat white without leaving the house.

To make an authentic flat white, you’ll need some kind of coffee or espresso machine, along with a milk frother.

You’ll need one part espresso, typically a double shot (60ml), to two parts milk, which is usually about 140ml.

  • Step 1: Turn on your espresso machine and purge, before filling the portafilter with 18g freshly-ground coffee
  • Step 2: Make your double espresso straight into your coffee cup
  • Step 3: Measure your milk and pour into a stainless steel jug
  • Step 4: Steam your milk, finishing with a layer of microfoam, around 1-2cm
  • Step 5: Hold the cup at an angle and pour a thin stream of milk over your espresso
  • Step 6: When your cup is about ⅔ full, bring the jug closer to the surface to finish pouring the microfoam over the top of your coffee
  • Step 7: Enjoy your homemade flat white!

Differences between flat white, latte and cappuccino

While these three beverages share the same key ingredients - espresso and milk - it's the ratio and preparation of the milk that sets them apart.

Let's start with a latte, or café latte. It typically consists of:

  • 1 double shot of espresso (~60ml)
  • Approximately 170-230ml of steamed milk, with around 1cm of frothed milk on top

With numerous coffee drinks on the menu, distinguishing between them can be confusing. If you’ve found yourself feeling puzzled while reading the menu at a coffee shop, wondering about the difference between a flat white, a latte and a cappuccino, this guide is here to help.

Firstly, a latte, or café latte, typically consists of:

  • 1 x double shot of espresso (~60ml)
  • Approximiatley 170-230ml of steamed milk, with around 1cm of frothed milk on top.

A latte is typically served in a tall glass to showcase its distinct layers of coffee and frothed milk. The ideal ratio of espresso to milk is one part coffee to two parts milk.

On the other hand, a cappuccino shares similarities with a flat white in terms of quantities:

  • 1 single shot of espresso (30ml) for a cappuccino
  • Approximately 150ml of frothed milk
  • Optional: cocoa powder sprinkled on top

This frothy coffee delight is usually presented in a shallower cup.


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