Starbucks Flat White vs. Latte: Which One Tastes Better?

A flat white and a latte are popular drinks at Starbucks and they are both espresso and milk drinks. The major difference lies in the espresso shots. The flat white uses ristretto shots, while lattes use espresso shots. I love both drinks and I don’t mind starting my day with either. I have come across people who can’t differentiate between the two and often confuse these two drinks. In this post, we shall look at each drink’s features in detail. By the end of this read, you will know what drink tastes better, so keep up.

What are the differences between Starbucks Flat white vs. latte


Flat White



Two ristretto shots, steamed milk

2 shots espresso, steamed milk, foam

Taste Profile

Strong ristretto taste that stands out from the milk

Toned down espresso taste

Caffeine content/ Nutritional Value

Grande-caffeine 195mg, 170 calories, 12g of protein, 12g of fat

Grande-150mg, calories 170, fat 7g, carbs 19g, and proteins 12g


All year round

All year round

Espresso Type


Full Espresso

Starbucks Flat White vs. Latte-How they Compare

Starbucks Flat White vs. Latte

What it’s made of (ingredients).

Starbucks makes the flat white with two shots of ristretto and a thin steamed milk layer at the top. The drink is finished off by some cute latte art dot using milk. You can add sugar to the drink, but it’s optional. The flat white is a basic drink that is used to train new baristas and introduce them to latte art.

Starbucks latte is made using two shots of espresso directly into a cup, then steamed milk is added, and finally a topping of foam. The milk and espresso blend well and the foam topping comes as adornment. The latte is the most popular drink at Starbucks due to its great taste and simplicity. This drink is versatile and one can customize it in so many ways. You can add syrups to enhance flavor or use other milk options to cut on fat and carbs.

In this category, the latte wins because of its versatile ingredients and its many available modifications to the basic ingredients.

Taste Profile

The flat white is a strong taste of coffee due to the use of ristretto. You will be delighted by the well-balanced milk and coffee taste. You will enjoy the velvety milk taste and a rich, creamy taste due to the microfoam. A ristretto is a stronger coffee but has an amazing sweetness.

On the other hand, the latte is balanced to tone down the coffee taste of espresso. The milk and the espresso blend well and the result is a subtle pleasant coffee flavor. If you can’ down the strong espresso, a late is a great option. Many people add vanilla to a latte to make the famous vanilla latte. Some who love warm spices prefer cinnamon dolce syrup in their lattes. All these syrups are added to enhance the flavor of the typical latte.

The latte takes the lead in this category as well. The toned-down espresso and added flavors work well to bring out an amazing taste profile.

Caffeine content/ Nutritional Value

A Grand flat white gives you a caffeine boost of 195mg. A tall serving will give you 130. The 16 fluid ounces serving has 170 calories, 12g of protein, 150mg of sodium, and 12g of fat. These values can significantly change if one opts for nonfat milk. A venti skinny flat white has 120 calories. This is much lower than a whole milk tall serving. This drink will have zero fat and will retain its 12g of proteins.

A Grande latte at Starbucks has 190 calories, 7g of fat, 19g of carbs, and 13g of proteins. The same serving will give you 150mg of caffeine and a venti 225mg of caffeine. These are high levels of caffeine for a single drink. A skinny latte has 3g of fat, zero fat, 5g of proteins, and only 35 calories for a tall serving.

The nutritional value of both drinks is similar, but the caffeine level in the flat white is higher. In this category, the flat white takes the lead.

Availability/ Accessibility

The Starbucks flat white is available all year round. It is unlikely that you will ever go to a Starbucks and walk out without a flat white. This drink is a staple for most coffee lovers, and Starbucks makes sure that it is easily accessible to all. The latte is also available all year round. However, we have some seasonal lattes like the pumpkin spice that comes in the fall. Most lattes will be readily available at Starbucks. All you need to do is go to the store and place your order and let the baristas do the rest. You can also place orders online via the Starbucks app or a delivery app that’s available in your area.

In this category, we get another draw. Both of the drinks are easily accessible and are available all year round.

Espresso Type

A flat white uses two ristretto shots. A ristretto is an Italian word that means restricted. It is the first half of a full espresso. This means that water is restricted when pulling a ristretto in an espresso machine. The ristretto is pulled after 15 seconds. This is shorter than the time it takes to pull a full espresso. The result is a strong coffee that has a nice sweetness.

The latte uses two shots of full espresso. This pull uses coffee ground and water but takes around 30 seconds to complete. This is double the time needed to pull a ristretto. The espresso is strong and has a bittersweet taste.

In this category, we have a draw as both drinks use strong coffee shots to make. The only difference is in the pull.

Starbucks Fat white vs. Latte: A comparison Review

Starbucks Latte-Overview

Starbucks Flat White

The Starbucks latte is the most popular drink at Starbucks. When I embarked on my journey to find the perfect coffee cup, I landed on the Caffe latte. I could taste the coffee taste of the espresso but in a subtle way. I loved how versatile the latte menu was. You could add all sorts of syrups and flavors to customize it to your liking. I was impressed by the cinnamon dolce latte and how warm its taste was to the mouth. The beauty of the latte is that you can make it skinny or use plant-based milk options. My favorite was the oat milk latte and the almond milk. I could barely tell it apart from the dairy milk latte. The velvety texture and creaminess of a latte is its strong point, and as long as it keeps tasting that good, many people will keep prioritizing it in their selection. I am attracted by little things and latte art makes me love the drink even more. I love how milk can make something so beautiful and the skills in this art are nothing short of great.

What I liked

  • The many milk options.
  • The high caffeine

What I didn’t like

  • The espresso taste didn’t stand out, and was too toned down by the milk.

Who it’s best suited for

  • This drink is best suited for those who love coffee in a toned-down flavor.

Starbucks Flat White-Overview

Starbucks Latte

A flat white is a ristretto drink made with steamed milk. When I first ordered this drink, I loved how the ristretto oozed a sweet taste, but still retained its strong coffee taste. The steamed milk addition blended perfectly with the ristretto to make a perfect liquid milk and coffee flavor. If you love latte art, the latte dot at the top will impress you.

When I tasted it, the coffee taste stood out more than the milk taste. I also tried the skinny flat white, and the taste was still as great as in whole milk. The caffeine boost was out of this world and I realized that I had downed a whopping 195mg in my Grande. I was energized for the day, and I did not need a refill. A flat white is a basic drink and is used to train baristas in latte art. On the downside, the drink has limited customizations, and you can only make it skinny or add sweeteners at Starbucks.

What I liked

  • The coffee taste stood out from the milk.
  • The high caffeine boost.

What I didn’t like

  • The limited customization.

Who it’s best suited for

  • This drink is best suited for strong coffee-drinking beginners.

Final Verdict: So, which is better? – Starbucks or Flat white?

The latte is better because it can be customized into so many drink options. The flat white is limiting when it comes to customizations. Lattes can be made using tea in the place of espresso and can include flavor-enhancing syrups like cinnamon dolce and vanilla.


Is Starbucks flat white stronger than a latte?

Yes, the ristretto shots in flat whites are stronger in taste than full espressos in lattes.

What is the main difference between a latte and a flat white at Starbucks?

A late is made with a full espresso while a flat white I made with ristretto shots.

Leave a Comment