What is the difference between a Starbucks Flat White and a café au lait?

What is the difference between a Starbucks Flat White and a café au lait?

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  1. Quite a bit, actually.
    First, a flat white is a type of Latte. A traditional latte is shots of espresso with steamed milk, topped with foam/froth from the steaming process. At Starbucks they typically use 2% milk. A flat white is a modified latte that uses ristretto espresso and whole milk, and is very light on foam. Ristretto is a type of espresso shot that is pulled faster than a regular shot. A regular shot gets extracted in 18–24 seconds, ristretto should be extracted in 12–18.
    A caffe au lait is literally “coffee with milk”. It’s a hot brewed coffee that is half steamed milk and topped with foam.

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  2. A Starbucks flat white is a latte drink made with whole milk and ristretto espresso shots. Ristretto shots are pulled quicker than regular shots, giving them a more intense flavor that some say is sweeter, in a way. They balance well with creamy whole milk.
    A cafe au lait is brewed coffee like most Americans are familiar with but topped with 4+ oz of steamed milk. 2% would be standard at Starbucks if you don’t specify a preference.

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