Flat White Vs Cappuccino – Differences And Similarities

Last Updated on: 26th August 2023, 01:11 pm

Are you a coffee lover who enjoys trying out different types of coffee? If so, you might have encountered the two popular espresso-based drinks – cappuccino and flat white.

Did you know that according to a survey conducted by CoffeeTec, flat white has been gaining popularity in recent years and is now the second most ordered coffee drink in Australia after cappuccino?

While both drinks may look similar on the surface, their differences lie in their preparation, taste, and texture.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of cappuccino and flat white and explore their unique characteristics.

By understanding the ingredients used to make each beverage and how they are prepared, you’ll be able to appreciate these two classic espresso drinks even more.

So get ready to learn about what sets them apart from each other!

What Are The Main Differences Between Cappuccino And Flat White

You’ll notice a stark difference in the foam texture when comparing a cappuccino and flat white, with the latter having a velvety smoothness that coats your tongue. This is because cappuccinos have a thick layer of foamed milk on top of the espresso, while flat whites only have microfoam.

The microfoam in a flat white is created by steaming milk until it has a smooth, silky texture that blends perfectly with the espresso shot.

Another noticeable difference between cappuccinos and flat whites is their ratio of coffee to milk. Cappuccinos comprise equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, while flat whites consist of one or two shots of espresso topped with steamed milk and just enough microfoam to create latte art.

Because there’s less foam in a flat white, you get more coffee flavor than cappuccinos, where all the froth can mask the taste. Overall, these differences make each drink unique and cater to different preferences for those who love their daily dose of caffeine.

Cappuccino And Flat White Ingredients

You’re in for a treat with the creamy and frothy goodness that goes into crafting cappuccino and flat white. These two drinks are made from similar ingredients, but their proportions make all the difference.

Here’s what goes into making each one:


  • Espresso: A shot of strong coffee is the base of any cappuccino.
  • Milk: Steamed milk is added to create a creamy texture with just enough foam.
  • Foam: The final touch is a layer of velvety foam on top of the milk.

Flat White:

  • Espresso: Like cappuccino, flat white also uses a shot of espresso as its base.
  • Milk: However, instead of steamed milk like cappuccino, flat white uses microfoam milk that has been textured to have tiny bubbles for an even creamier taste and velvety texture.

These two drinks share similarities with another popular espresso drink called an espresso macchiato. This drink consists of a single shot of espresso topped off with just a dollop of foamed milk. While it may seem simple in comparison to cappuccinos or flat whites, this drink highlights how crucial each element in these drinks can be.

Cappuccino And Flat White Preparation

When preparing these delicious espresso drinks, it’s important to begin by pulling a strong coffee as the base.

The milk is steamed and frothed for cappuccino until it has a creamy texture with tiny bubbles. The key for achieving this texture is to use cold milk and steam it gradually while keeping the steam wand just below the surface of the milk. Once ready, pour the steamed milk over the espresso in a 1:1:1 ratio (espresso:milk:froth). Finally, sprinkle some cocoa or cinnamon powder on top.

For flat white preparation, start by heating whole milk in a pitcher using a thermometer. The ideal temperature for a flat white is around 140°F-150°F. Then, position the steam wand tip slightly off-center towards one side of the jug and tilt it slightly to create a whirlpool motion while steaming. This will ensure that you get velvety microfoam without any large bubbles. Pour this over your double espresso in equal parts (espresso: milk) into your cup and enjoy!

Although their preparation might seem similar at first glance, these two drinks have differences that their taste and texture can easily distinguish once you try them both.

Cappuccino And Flat White Taste

If you try these espresso drinks, you’ll notice that each has its unique flavor and texture.

Let’s start with the cappuccino. When you sip a cappuccino, your taste buds will be hit with a bold coffee flavor followed by the creamy sweetness of the milk. The foam on top provides a smooth texture to balance out the sharpness of the espresso.

On the other hand, flat whites have a more velvety texture due to their microfoam consistency. Unlike cappuccinos with layers of foam and milk, flat whites are composed of two shots of espresso topped with steamed milk and microfoam. This creates a smoother and creamier taste compared to cappuccinos.

While both drinks contain similar ingredients, how they’re combined sets them apart in terms of taste differences and similarities between cappuccino and flat white.

Variations and Customizations Of Cappuccino And Flat White

As you enter the coffee shop, you’ll be greeted with a menu full of unique variations and customizations for your cappuccino or flat white. Both drinks offer endless possibilities when creating a customized beverage to fit any taste preference.

One popular variation of the cappuccino is the dry cappuccino, which has less steamed milk than a regular cappuccino, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor. Another option is the wet cappuccino, which has more steamed milk and less foam than a traditional one.

Similarly, flat whites can also be customized by adding different flavors, such as vanilla or caramel syrup, for those looking for something sweeter. These variations differ in the ratio of espresso to milk and foam used in each drink.

Ultimately, whether you prefer a classic cappuccino or an experimental flat white with added flavors is entirely up to personal preference. With so many options and different ways to customize each drink, there’s always something new to try at your local coffee shop.

These variations showcase just how diverse and adaptable cappuccinos and flat whites can be while remaining true to their unique differences in taste and texture.


Congratulations! You’ve just learned about the differences and similarities between cappuccino and flat white. Now that you know how they’re made, what ingredients are used, and how they taste, you can confidently order your favorite coffee drink.

But wait, have you ever wondered which one is better? Is there a clear winner in this battle of espresso-based beverages? Well, that ultimately depends on your personal preference.

Do you prefer a stronger coffee flavor with more foam? Then go for a cappuccino. Or do you prefer a smoother taste with less milk and foam? Then opt for a flat white.

It’s all about what satisfies your taste buds. So next time you find yourself standing in line at your local coffee shop, ask yourself: What kind of mood am I in today? Do I want something strong and bold or smooth and creamy? The choice is yours to make.

Now, enjoy your delicious cup of caffeine while feeling like an expert on the various coffee drinks available to us. Share your newfound knowledge with friends or impress your barista by ordering a customized version of either beverage. Happy sipping! And remember – does it matter if it’s cappuccino or flat white as long as it’s good coffee?

Mike Shaw

Mike is a fervent aficionado of all things coffee. His journey has taken him from the verdant coffee farms of South America to the vibrant coffeehouses of Europe and many places in between. Over the years, he's delved deep into the intricate tapestry of coffee, savoring, brewing, and analyzing myriad varieties. For Mike, coffee transcends its role as a morning energizer; it's a world waiting to be explored and cherished.

 mike@kitchenhousecoffee.com  https://kitchenhousecoffee.com