Lukey Senior Member Joined: 25 May 2005 Posts: 290 Location: sunshine coast/brisbane, qld Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Synesso Saber 2 group Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Posted Sun Sep 25, 2005, 5:51pm Subject: Latte?Flat white? what's the difference?
i've been having quite a dew discussions with customers who order a flat white and a latte at the same time and have ask them in their pov what difference between the two are.
the majority have come back with the reason being that latte's are made on more milk and so are a bit weaker than their flat white counterparts.
in our case, this is correct being that our latte glass is about 40ml larger than our china cup. however, what about the cafes that serve their latte's in a small gibralter or tumbler and their flat whites in 230-250ml cups. wouldn't that make the latte stronger.
other differences have included:
- latte's are in a glass, flat whites are in a china cup - latte's are more expensive than flat whites - flat whites are mainly black coffee with added milk wheras latte are the opposite.
too name a few..
so one of my theories (not sure if it's true or not) is when espresso coffee was introduced into australian culture, the main drinks served was short espresso and a cappuccino. so for the people who didnt want the short espresso but none of the foam on top a flat white was created to meet this need, only to realise that a beverage by the name of a cafe latte already existed however the latte was traditionally served in a glass.
however, the american version of a flat white is that, completely flat. i've also read somewhere that the cafe latte is half coffee/half milk, wasn't so sure if it was half espresso or a different brew method.
so anyway, i'm keen to see what other's interpretation of the flat white versus latte dilemma is.
...A flat white has been up until now peculiar to Australia and is a standard drink served by almost every one of the thousands of cafes throughout this big sunburnt land.
Its origins as far as I have been able to discern are ironically in this case, a result of the instant coffee culture that was introduced to Australia in the second world war by wait for it: American GI's on tour downunder.
With instant coffee most Australians used to add milk to it and it became exactly that: a white coffee that was very flat (no froth).
After the war with many Italian immigrants,espresso coffee culture gradually became embedded in Australian culture (almost to the point now where Australia is close to overtaking Italy in Espresso machine market penetration) but customers often asked not for a Cappuccino or a Caffe Latte but a white coffee with no froth ie a "flat white".
This has subsequently been confused by European barista's (I really don't like the pretentious word "baristi") and trainers like my great friend George Sabados who grew up in his father's shop serving espresso based coffees and who knew only about cappuccino's and caffe lattes and had no idea what someone meant when they asked for flat white and so served them a caffe latte instead. So now the line is blurring by 1/2 to 1 centimeter of milk froth.
Flat whites have actually morphed into caffe lattes downunder. The two drinks are now pretty much interchangeable except a caffe latte is usually served in glass and 'Flat White' is served in a ceramic cappuccino cup.
Brent, Funny story with the NZ Latte in a Bowl (and I assume everyone has heard about the cafe in Ponsonby introducing the bowl). We had a rep from the Cimbali Factory in Italy visiting while I was at Burtonhollis, first thing off the plane he said he would like to stop for a coffee. So we took him to the nearest Cafe who used our coffee. He ordered a latte, and when it came in a bowl he said to the waitperson, "excuse me but I ordered a Latte, not a soup"
From the average Italian's point of view, Cafe Latte is what the middle and working classes used to have for breakfast. The working class needed something to soak dry bread in because the needed calories to do a hard days work - when they could not afford coffee, such as during the war, they just had the latte. I remember my (Italian) parents in the 50's in Australia having "Cafe Latte" for breakfast (only). This was just a ceramic bowl (with about a half a litre) of boiled milk (we used to buy milk direct from a farm) with a shot of Moka pot coffee or even a spoonfull or 2 of the infamous "international roast" powder in it. There still not many homes in Italy with Espresso machines so the Moka shot in hot (heated on stove or MW) milk would be the main way Cafe Latte is made in Italy today although these days the average italian has a straight coffee, a scratch and a newspaper for breakfast. If my Italian relatives eat anything at all for breakfast it would be a sweet biscuit, while one of my uncles has a triple shot Moka with single grappa shot, plus an extra grappa shot on the side.
I also distinctly remember my aussie mates ordering "white coffee" in the 70's in Fremantle cafes. You would then hear the Italian counter staff say "you wanna with-froth, ora withouta de froth" - when my mates would say" no froth" the counter staff would yell "anudder cafe latte!" to the barissta.
Today you hear the same with water "you wanna with-gass, ora withouta de gass"!
To expand for those who don't know, the cafe was using a cancelled soup bowl order from a quick thinking supplier, and thats where the bowl thing expanded from...
We had a rep from the Cimbali Factory in Italy visiting while I was at Burtonhollis, first thing off the plane he said he would like to stop for a coffee. So we took him to the nearest Cafe who used our coffee. He ordered a latte, and when it came in a bowl he said to the waitperson, "excuse me but I ordered a Latte, not a soup"
Thanks very much Jason. Thanks also for your lead for the story. Luke mentioned that you guys might like a bit of our blend to try out, so I'm going to get Ben to mail you out a kilo of our custom blend. Hope you like it mate.
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