Is it shocking to say it, or not so much?..
I don’t know about you, I am in the situation of pouring them a lot every day, because people order them, but I also have clients asking me what’s the difference. Between latte, flat white, and cappuccino.
And I explain. Milk/espresso ratio, type of foam, etc.
But guess what… Afte all that explaining for me myself it lost a bit of sense. Why?
The quantity of milk in cappuccino and latte at least in our place is almost the same. Almost the same, I mean it differs, but not dramatically, to the point that you could say that it is something completely, absolutely different.
The truth is, it is not. Taste-wise there is a difference between flat white and cappuccino (but if you make a double shot stronger cappuccino, the difference will be basically only in texture). There is a difference between cortado and flat white, cortado and cappuccino. Cortado and macchiato.
We all know there is still an argument of what is actually a proper flat white, and who invented it. But funny enough, flat white for me is pretty clear, at least for now. Because I get the “goal” of it. More intense coffee flavour, less foam. This is why people order it. To enjoy that kind of balance, not so milky, as cappuccino, not so “weak”.
But, again, latte?..
What is it about? Foam? Espresso/milk ratio? Volume of the drink?
There is a guess that perhaps the confusion we are experiencing now is because of the sizes. Probably we complicated everything when started to make cappuccinos around 170-180 gr?
Now I think that latte makes sense if we come back to the more “tradicional” size of the cappuccino. If the cappuccino is around 150 gr, and with a thick foam, probaby there is some sense in offering single shot latte of 180 gr, which has a different epresso/milk ratio, and actually is different in taste and texture. More milky, less intense coffee favour. It requires buying different cups though.
But to offer almost the same sizes for cappuccino and latte brings the difference basically just to the foam thickness, not even to the coffee/milk ratio.
And what about the foam thickness? It is in the hands of the baristas. It comes to the skill and organization of the process.
When you are using the technique of foaming separately for each drink, especially for the beginner, it offers you more control.
When you are working in a busy place with the line for take away – you have no time for that technique. You are pushed by the circumstances to learn how to foam for various drinks at the same time, and divide the milk. And at this moment (take away, line, dividing the milk) the difference between latte and cappuccino served the same size becomes thinner and thinner.
Just thinking out loud.
Probably for me, constructing the menu, it would have made more sense to make a pronounced difference in sizes between cappuccino, latte and flat white. (And being honest, I have that affection towards those small elegant cappuccinos in a tulip shape cups 🙂 )
cappuccino – single shot, 150 gr, thick foam
flat white – 170 gr, double shot, thin foam
latte – single shot, 180 gr total, thin foam
Kinda like that.
Just thinking out loud, and trying to figure out the solution for that latte confusion.