Flat White Vs. Latte Macchiato: Which Is For Me?

How can the same ingredients produce two different drinks? Read on to find out the answer in this flat white vs. latte macchiato article.

Flat White Vs. Latte Macchiato:
Latte macchiatos have a lot of milk, giving it a subtly sweet taste and smooth texture

Cappuccino, espresso macchiato, cafe latte – I have always been intimated by coffee menus ever since the first time I stepped inside a cafe. Especially if there are no pictures, but even then, sometimes the photos look the same. 

Two coffee drinks that always confuse me are flat whites and latte macchiatos. In this article, I’ll share all the information I’ve gathered to help you discern the differences between flat whites and latte macchiatos.

What Are Flat White And Latte Macchiato? 

A flat white offers a velvety, smooth texture and a strong coffee taste. It was referred to as a “small latte” before its popularity increased.

The flat white took the US by storm after crossing the sea from London, where two Kiwis and an Aussie opened Moors Espresso Bar, a bar dedicated to flat whites, in 2005. It’s often called the Australian latte, as a nod to its origin in the 1980s, which is still a heated debate among Australians and New Zealanders to this day.

Flat whites have a thin “flat” microfoam steamed milk layer on top, where it got its name. Directly translate the two Italian words “latte” and “macchiato,” and you get “milk” and “stained” or “stained milk.” This name comes as the espresso shot “stains” the milk.

Latte macchiatos have a lot of milk, giving it a subtly sweet taste and smooth texture. 

The frothed milk is poured into a glass first; then the espresso is gently put over the center of the milk. This leaves the froth on top – dry and airy. You’ll then have three layers with the espresso in the middle, slowly mottling the milk below it. 

What Do Flat White And Latte Macchiato Have In Common?

Depending on what coffee shop you like to visit, you'll likely get different tastes. 

Original flat whites and latte macchiatos are part of the milky-coffee family. They require the same equipment: a milk frother and espresso machine.  They also have the same ingredients: 

  • Milk
  • Espresso
  • Foam 

Flat White Vs. Latte Macchiato: The Differences

Flat WhiteLatte Macchiato
Its presentation shows the milk and espresso shots smoothly blended, with the microfoam folded on top.It’s a layered drink with steamed milk at the bottom, an espresso shot in the middle, and foam on top. 
A flat white is created with four ounces of steamed milk and two espresso shots. Latte macchiato is made with a generous amount of frothed milk and a half-shot to two espresso shots, depending on the glass size.
It’s displayed in a short cup, either see-through or not, with latte art on top.It’s presented in a tall see-through glass to see the layers and a long spoon.
It’s usually confused with a latte but with differences regarding the milk texture, espresso amount, and presentation.It has the same ingredients as a regular cafe latte, with differences in preparation. 

What’s Better About Flat White?

Flat White Vs. Latte Macchiato
The milk used in flat whites is hot but never boiling

I've heard some argue flat whites are just “less frothy cappuccinos.” The milk used in flat whites is hot but never boiling. It also calls for some skills as the process requires gentle heat to get to the silky texture of the milk compared to aggressive frothing that can make it stiff.   

It’s for those who do not see the need for fancy coffees with syrups or added flavors. It offers a big caffeine kick with a more delicate taste than other drinks. 

What's Better About Latte Macchiato?

You can add other flavors to your latte macchiato to adjust it according to your taste, such as these naturally flavored coffee syrups from Starbucks.

It’s usually compared to a latte, but a latte macchiato has more caffeine and proposes bolder flavors. However, because it contains a considerable amount of milk that absorbs caffeine, you can drink it later in the day. 

Who Should Get Flat White (And Why)? 

Flat white became popular because of the balance between the coffee and the milk in each cup, not to mention the finely textured milk, microfoam, on top. Coffee drinkers appreciate this blend because of its seemingly basic method that, in reality, requires skills to perfect. 

If you’re trying to stick to a limited calorie intake, a flat white is a great option as there are around 120 calories per cup.

Get a flat white if you’re craving to taste the coffee rather than the milk and if you’re not fond of foamy drinks. It’s also great in the mornings to give you your needed caffeine kick, with the two espresso shots mixed in the beverage. 

Who Should Get Latte Macchiato (And Why)?

Who should get latte macchiato?
Latte macchiato is perfect if you’re searching for something that isn’t as strong as an espresso shot but has a bolder kick

You should opt for a latte macchiato if you prefer to pamper your tongue with milk with a hint of coffee. Latte macchiatos are also excellent if you want to take aesthetic pictures of your drink, with the three layers of the coffee visible through a see-through glass. 

It’s perfect if you’re searching for something that isn’t as strong as an espresso shot but has a bolder kick. 

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