It can be difficult to make sense of the differences between the different types of espresso drinks that you can get.
This post will show you the differences between cappuccino and flat white, how they are made, how they taste, what impacts the way that they taste and drinks that are similar to them.
So, what is the difference between cappuccino and flat white? Cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 milk foam. Flat white is espresso with steamed milk and no milk foam. The strength of both of the drinks are similar but cappuccino is slightly more creamy.
Both cappuccino and flat white can actually vary in the way that they taste by a large amount depending on how they are made. There are also a number of other drinks that are similar to them that you might like.
Differences between flat white and cappuccino
Below, I’ll show you the differences between flat white and cappuccino, how they’re made, how they taste, what impacts their taste and drinks that are similar to them.
Flat white is where only steamed milk is added to espresso. Flat white has a strong coffee taste to it and it is slightly creamy but less so than cappuccino.
Espresso is the mixture that results from forcing hot water through finely ground coffee. Espresso is very rich and can be slightly bitter which is reduced in flat white due to the steamed milk.
How to make flat white
To make flat white you first make espresso, then while the espresso is being made, you steam the milk and then add it to the espresso when it is done.
Since it is necessary to make espresso using pressurized water it requires the use of a specially designed machine. There are three main types of machines that you can use to make espresso and they are to either use a traditional espresso machine, a pod machine or a stovetop espresso maker.
Traditional espresso machine
To make espresso using a traditional espresso machine you get the beans, grind them, push them into a container called a portafilter, put the portafilter into the machine and then turn the machine on.
Traditional espresso machines will come with a milk frother. While the espresso is being made or before you start making it you can use the milk frother to steam the milk and then add the milk to the espresso once it is made.
You can watch the video below to see how to make espresso using a traditional espresso machine.
Traditional espresso machines will give you the highest quality espresso and they give you the greatest amount of control over the way that the espresso tastes.
However, they can have a steep learning curve and they require the most amount of effort in terms of making the espresso and in maintaining and cleaning the machine.
To make flat white using a pod machine you put water and a pod in the machine, press a button to make the espresso, steam the milk and then add it to the espresso. There are even some pod machines that will automatically steam and add the milk to the espresso for you.
Pod machines won’t give you espresso that is to the same quality as with traditional espresso machines.
However, the espresso that they made does still taste good, they have a range of flavors to choose from and they are quick and easy to use.
The pod espresso machine that I would recommend the most would be this one on Amazon.
Stovetop espresso maker
Stovetop espresso makers create pressure by heating up water and creating steam pressure. To make flat white using a stovetop espresso maker you add water to the pot, put ground coffee in above it, heat the pot up and pour out the espresso and then heat the milk up and add it to the espresso.
You can watch the video below to see how to make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker.
Stovetop espresso makers don’t come with milk frothers so it will be necessary for you to heat the milk up yourself. The espresso that they make is also not to the same standard as you will get with a traditional espresso machine.
However, stovetop espresso makers are a good option if you are on a budget or if you are not sure that you would get full use out of a traditional espresso machine.
A stovetop espresso maker that I would recommend would be this one on Amazon.
What impacts the way that flat white tastes
There are a number of different factors that will have an impact on the way that the flat white tastes.
If more milk is used or if whole milk is used then it will give it a more creamy taste. If less milk is used then the taste will be stronger.
If Arabica beans are used to make the espresso then it will normally have a smoother taste. If Robusta beans are used then it will normally give the espresso a more nutty taste that can also be bitter. Generally, a mix of Robusta beans and Arabica beans will be combined to make espresso.
If the beans used have a light roast then it will give the espresso a less bitter taste but it can sometimes cause the espresso to be sour. If beans with a dark roast are used then it will give it a richer taste but it can also be bitter or even burnt tasting.
If the beans are from a single origin then it will usually give the espresso a sharper taste but it can also cause it to be sour. Whereas, using a blend of beans from multiple origins will normally give the espresso a more balanced flavor.
Similar drinks to flat white
There are a number of other drinks, in addition to cappuccino, that are similar to flat white such as:
Mocha is where chocolate syrup and steamed milk or hot chocolate is added to espresso. Mocha has a chocolatey and coffee-like taste.
The latte is where a lot of steamed milk and a small amount of milk foam is added to espresso. Latte is creamier than cappuccino and flat white and it is less strong.
Breve is where half and half milk and cream is added to espresso. Breve is more creamy compared to cappuccino and flat white due to the higher fat content in the cream.
Cortado is where milk foam is added to espresso. Cortado still has a creamy taste but it is stronger than both cappuccino and flat white.
Questions people ask about flat white
Is flat white sweet? It is slightly sweet and it is also creamy with a strong coffee taste.
Is flat white stronger than latte? Flat white is stronger than latte since it contains less milk and the same amount of espresso.
Cappuccino is where steamed milk and milk foam is added to espresso. Cappuccino has a creamy and strong coffee-like taste.
To make cappuccino you make the espresso the same way as mentioned when talking about how to make flat white above and then you add the steamed milk after.
You can watch the video below to see how to make cappuccino using a traditional espresso machine.
The same things that impact the way that the flat white tastes will also impact the way that the cappuccino tastes.
So, if more milk is used or whole milk is used then the cappuccino will taste creamier. While, if less milk is used it will give it a stronger taste.
If Arabica beans or beans with a light roast are used it will generally give the cappuccino a less strong taste but it can sometimes be sour. If Robusta beans or beans with a dark roast are used it will give the cappuccino a more nutty taste that can be more bitter.
Questions people ask about Cappuccino
Can you have cappuccino cold? Traditionally, cappuccino is served hot. However, you can make it cold if you want to. You can also buy cold cappuccino that is pre-made but it will normally have other additives in it.
Does cappuccino have foam? Yes, cappuccino has milk foam.