The flat white has become a popular drink since it was created in the 1980s in Australia.
Featuring strong coffee and creamy milk, it’s the perfect pick-me-up when you fancy an energizing coffee drink without too much volume.
A good flat white is between 5 and 6 ounces (150 to 180 ml), with two shots of espresso and creamy, but not frothy, milk. Compared to a latte or a cappuccino, the flat white is smaller and stronger, with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio.
Having become the go-to for coffee connoisseurs like yourself, you might wonder what differentiates flat white from other popular options.
This article will dive further into exactly how big a flat white is and what to expect when you order one.
What Is a Flat White?
A flat white is a short coffee drink popular in cafes thanks to its strong flavor. The key distinguishing features of a flat white, especially when compared with its closest counterpart, the latte, are:
- Smaller air bubbles/tighter foam. As the name suggests, the milk in this drink is ‘flat’, which makes it a much creamier drink
- Two shots of espresso. This is the standard for a flat white and is something that sets it apart from other coffee varieties
- One universal size. Unfortunately, in some cafes, you may be asked what size flat white you’d like. If so, you’re likely to get something that more closely resembles a latte than a flat white as a true flat white is 5-6 ounces.
The flat white was first invented in Australia in the 1980s. However, there is some debate about whether it was Australia or New Zealand that created this popular drink.
How Is the Size of a Coffee Measured?
It’s no longer as simple as throwing some instant coffee and boiling water into a mug.
Today, there is a vast choice of coffee options in every cafe you visit, as well as many exciting choices to make your own at home.
Knowing the measurements of coffee will help you more easily order a drink that will suit your preferences when ordering out, but also give you the knowledge to develop your skills as an at-home barista.
How Big Is an Espresso Shot?
Typically, you’ll add more shots depending on how much milk you’re adding, but the beauty of coffee nowadays is that you can easily personalize it to your exact taste.
Coffee Sizes Explained
Sizes can vary from coffee shop to coffee shop, but generally, you’ll get small, medium, and large, or tall, grande, and venti.
Usually, you’ll get one shot of coffee in a small, two in a medium, and three in a large.
As mentioned, when you get a flat white, you shouldn’t be asked how big you want it, as the standard should be smaller than a tall (small), with two shots of coffee.
|Size Name||Size ounces (ml)|
|Flat White||5 – 6 ounces (150ml – 180ml)|
|Small||9 – 10 ounces (270ml – 290ml)|
|Medium||12.5 – 14 ounces (370ml – 425ml)|
|Large||16 – 17.5 ounces (485ml- 520ml)|
What Is the Difference Between a Flat White, a Latte, and a Cappuccino?
They’re all coffee, right?
Well, yes, but some key differences make each one unique. I won’t go into the cultural intricacies of when to drink certain types of coffee (typically seen in France and Italy), but let’s look at each coffee’s primary properties.
There are many more varieties of coffee available, and we have done a roundup of 38 of the most popular types of coffee, where you can dive into even more about this popular drink.
The Flat White
A flat white has two shots of espresso, steamed milk, and 1-2 cm of foam, all of this totally 5 – 6 ounces. It is served ‘short’, smaller than a latte but bigger than a cortado, which is equal parts coffee and milk.
Many cafes, in particular, chain or franchise cafes, don’t quite get the flat white right. Often, what you’ll end up with is a latte.
This happens when too much milk is added.
One of the main differences between the flat white and the latte is the amount of espresso used, particularly when talking about a small latte.
While the milk does play an important part, and the latte has a frothier texture (not as frothy as the cappuccino), a correctly made small latte should have half the amount of coffee in it, i.e., one shot of coffee.
You would usually find two shots of coffee for a larger size, but not always. There should also be a light layer of foam on top, similar to the flat white.
Of the flat white, the cappuccino, and the latte, it is the latte that usually has the weakest coffee flavor.
The milk is essential in differentiating the cappuccino from any other coffee. It should have three distinct layers: espresso coffee, steamed milk, and frothy foam.
The important part here is that the layers should be roughly equal.
Cappuccinos can be served in various sizes, the strength depending on how many shots of espresso are used.
Cappuccinos offer a lighter way to enjoy a coffee while maintaining the strong taste many coffee lovers prefer.
Another distinguishing feature of the cappuccino is the light dusting of cocoa powder, giving this particular drink a slightly sweeter edge.
Which Coffee Is Right for You?
The various coffee varieties all have their place. Whether it’s the time of day or the occasion you’re having a coffee, they can all be enjoyed and offer a unique experience.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons you might make flat white your go-to coffee of choice.
Flat Whites Have Fewer Calories Than Lattes
If you’re wondering how big a flat white is because you’re conscious of saving calories, then you’ll be glad to know that, in general, they are one of the lowest.
This is because they contain less milk. It can vary greatly, however, depending on what sort of milk is used (full-fat, skimmed, or milk alternatives).
Some coffee lovers believe that a flat white should always be made with full-fat milk, but we’ll leave that to your personal preference.
A flat white made with full-fat milk has around 150-170 calories, most of which come from the milk–not the espresso.
Milk does contain sugar from lactose, and many milk alternatives are also high in sugar, so if you’re genuinely looking to cut the calories, a classic americano may be a good option, even over the flat white.
Of course, a double shot of espresso or a regular americano will have even fewer calories than a flat white, but you may find milkless coffee drinks to be a tad strong. If that’s the case, then a flat white could be the perfect drink for you.
Flat Whites Are Relatively Strong Drinks
If you like the flavor of coffee and find something satisfying in the slightly bitter bite it can offer, then a flat white is an excellent choice for you.
The coffee-to-milk ratio makes it strong enough to make you feel like a ‘proper’ coffee drinker, while the creamy milk still allows some room for the indulgent feeling of a latte.
So, the flat white is the right choice for you if:
- You want a drink without too much liquid volume.
- You’re looking for a strong coffee taste.
- You like the creamy taste of a latte but sometimes find them overly milky.
The flat white coffee has become a staple on most coffee shop menus. They will deliver the caffeine hit you’re after in a creamy, enjoyable beverage.
At a size of 5 to 6 ounces (150ml to 180ml), the flat white won’t leave you feeling full of liquid but will leave you full of energy.
If you want a strong taste without deciding the size, how many shots, or how you want your milk, then this coffee choice might be the one for you.
- New Zealand Story: Who Invented The Flat White?
- Eleven Coffees: Best Drip Coffee Makers in 2023
- Food Standards Agency Australia New Zealand: Takeaway Coffee Cup Measures Program
- Trung Nguyen Online: What Size Is a Shot of Espresso?
- Sweet Maria’s Coffee Library: Espresso: All Things Espresso
- Eleven Coffees: 38 Popular Types of Coffee Drinks Explained
- Barista Institute: Latte vs. Flat White: What Is The Difference?
- A Couple Cooks: Cortado Coffee
- Nescafe: What Is A Cappuccino?
- UPMC: Skim Milk vs. Whole Milk: Which Is Healthier?
- The Sunday Morning Herald: How To Have Your Coffee and Drink It Too