What is the Difference between a Flat White and a Cappuccino

Flat White or Cappuccino, the Decision is up to you.

It’s the newest entrant to the list of age old battles. These battles include the difference between a Merlot and a Cabarnet, a Coke and a Pepsi and Scotch and Whisky. That entrant is the difference between a Flat White and a Cappuccino. And it’s all because of the bloody Australians, these guys always trying to one up South Africans. But it’s a favourite at Coffee Shop Blues so I guess we’ve got them to thank for it.

Anyway, the Australians brought the Flat White into global popularity about 5 – 10 years ago according to Dom, local Rust barista. Since then it’s become a global phenomenon, challenging the Cappuccino as a standard drink of choice when going to a coffee shop. Cappuccino have been around for years and we have the Italians to thank for that. So let’s get down to it, what differentiates the two from one another?

The cappuccino, originally invented by the Italians is generally served in a 160ml cup and consists of a single shot of espresso. However, in South Africa we generally give our customers the option between a single or double shot and serve cappuccinos in a much bigger glass. This is because we like to feel like we’re getting bang for our buck. This makes things difficult to define but globally the general understanding of a cappuccino is that it’s a third espresso, a third milk and a third froth. That’s about it for a cappuccino, just get the ratios right and you’re golden.

A Flat White on the other hand is a lil’ more complicated. Because it’s so new and it’s come about in the new age of coffee, it’s kind of a highly debated topic. Let’s start with the traditional flat white. It’s served with a standard double shot of espresso which makes it great for power hour but to ensure it’s not too strong, it’s served in a 250ml Americano cup. The difference, besides the size, is the fact that the milk is micro textured, making it silky smooth with the shininess of wet paint. A perfect Flat White should be both bitter and creamy on the palate, the espresso bringing that power coffee power separate to the sheet of micro textured milk that sits above.

Writer: Sebastian Daniels

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