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The Differences Between Flat White and Cappuccino

3 minutes

In a world where coffee is the start and end of someone’s day, it can be confusing when you don’t know which one to order. Knowing the differences in coffees isn’t just about knowing which one you’ll prefer, but it is also about understanding the different flavours, textures and contents of a coffee. It also gives you the opportunity to learn a little more about your local barista.

Are you struggling to choose between coffees, especially a flat white and a cappuccino? Well, if you are, you have come to the right place. Carry on reading to find out all you need to know about the differences between a flat white vs cappuccino.

Cappuccino vs Flat White: What are the differences?

The flat white and the cappuccino have a few similarities, but they also have a lot of differences. The flat white and the cappuccino both contain espresso and milk. Both of the coffee beverages come served with shots of espresso.

However, the milk that is in each drink is prepared differently from each other. This affects the texture and creaminess of the drink. Flat whites are made with a thin layer of milk foam but contain most of their steamed milk within the drink. Whereas Cappuccinos, focus primarily on foamed milk on top of the drink, rather than having it all in the coffee itself.

The ratio for cappuccino is a coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:2. Whereas the flat white is 2:3. The flat white has much more milk and coffee compared to the cappuccino.

Cappuccino vs Flat White: What are the differences?

Is one sweeter than the other?


Due to the higher milk content in a flat white, they tend to dilute the coffee flavour a little more, making them taste a little bit sweeter. This makes the cappuccino the stronger-tasting drink of the two. The difference in flavour between the two is due to the addition of milk foam. This is because the milk foam tends to absorb some of the flavours.


The milk foams absorption of flavours amplifies the flavours in the coffee, as well as other ingredients that are added to the coffee. So, despite cappuccino being the stronger-tasting of the two drinks, it can sometimes taste sweeter. This is because the foamed milk amplifies the flavours of the cocoa powder and cinnamon that are sometimes sprinkled on top of the beverage.



Is there a difference in size?


The cappuccino, which is one of the most popular coffee drinks out there, is usually served in a 6oz coffee cup, to host the thick layer of milk foam on the top of the espresso. A flat white is usually served in a slightly smaller glass, which is about 5oz coffee cup.



Flat white vs Cappuccino: Which should I order?


Deciding on which coffee is the right drink for you is a challenge and one you might not master straightaway. However, there isn’t one coffee that is better than the other, it is simply down to personal preference and taste.


A flat white is a much creamier drink thanks to the amount of steamed milk, and also contains a higher amount of caffeine, as it contains two shots of espresso. Whereas the cappuccino is only made with one shot of espresso, with steamed milk, and then topped with milk foam. This gives the cappuccino a more distinct flavour.


If a rich and smooth coffee is what you are looking for, then flat white would be the most appropriate choice of the two. However, if a smoother mouthfeel, but a stronger coffee taste is what you are after, then the cappuccino is your perfect match.


There you have it. Hopefully, now that you know what the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white is, you won’t have a momentary panic on your next coffee run. Want to compare more coffees and understand their differences? Why not take a look at our article about the differences between a latte vs a macchiato, next?

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