Flat White, Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso and more…What’s the Difference?

Have you ever had one of moments when you just feel like something a little different for your daily caffeine fix? You look up on the board a little perplexed with the variety, and, with a line up behind you, decide to just opt for  your usual. Our baristas have a wealth of knowledge and are always happy to help you decide, so feel free to ask at any time.  We also thought we would help out and break it down for you.


The flat white originated in Australia so you will be hard pressed finding the exact replica anywhere else in the world. Sure you will find variations that will give you some enjoyment on your travels but the saying “same same but different” will spring to mind. In America, for example, their version of the American latte is nearly exactly the same as our flat white.

At the end of the day, a flat white is textured milk and an espresso shot with a thin layer of foam to finish off.

The flat white will be strong in flavour, combined with that velvety smooth feeling we all know and love.

Flat White made at Quest Coffee Roasters


The key to a great latte is in the art of steaming/texturing the milk. Texturing milk plays a big role in creating the perfect latte. Firstly, the most obvious, is to bring the milk to the desired temperature for drinking but it also creates micro foam. You can’t make micro foam without air being added into the milk – that all too familiar “hissing sound” you hear in the café is the sound of micro foam…that is when perfection is being made.

What is in a latte? Espresso shot, steamed milk and approximately 1cm of micro foam on top.

For those of you who wonder what the difference is between the flat white and the latte…it is quite simply the 1cm layer of foam.

Latte made at Quest Coffee Roasters


The cappuccino is a traditional Italian drink and some would say that it is defined by its froth. The cappuccino is typically a stronger beverage.

It has three parts and is generally made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 textured milk, 1/3 froth, then finished off with chocolate dusting powder. What makes the cappuccino special is the equal quantities of each component.

What you will most likely notice while consuming the cappuccino is that the foam is nice and stiff to begin with and finishes with a rich milky coffee underneath.

Cappuccino made at Quest Coffee Roasters



This one doesn’t take much to explain…a mocha is just a cappuccino with chocolate. We know what you chocoholics are thinking…YUM!


Pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water makes the popular long black. It is similar to the Americano except that the long black retains the crema (the glassy layer on the top of the drink) and has less volume, which gives it a stronger flavour.

The barista’s job is important, as they need to monitor the shot speed so that they can produce the best possible extraction. Allowing your long black to rest, as it cools from slightly boiling to a drinkable temperature, is the best way to enjoy a great tasting long black.

The great thing about a long black is that you are able to taste the undertones, flavours and sweetness of the coffee.

Long Black made at Quest Coffee Roasters


Many people have the misconception that an espresso is a dark and bitter to burnt-flavoured coffee. Let’s clear that misconception up for you. Espresso often forms a bold, not bitter, flavour. It is quick to make, doesn’t interfere with flavour and is often referred to as the drink of coffee connoisseurs.

The big difference is that you get the same caffeine hit you would get in any other of the espresso-based drinks, minus the larger volume of liquid. It is therefore, quick, easy and convenient and packed full of flavour.

An espresso is meant to be intense and the art of the good barista is to create a balanced flavour. There are many factors involved in making a good espresso; the grind size, temperature, freshness of the beans and the length of the shot. A little more complex than it looks, right?

Drinking espresso is the best way to experience the true flavour of the bean; mild/medium/strong, chocolate or fruity, and all those special undertones.

It is best consumed straight away, before the gassy layer dissipates and the liquid cools down. A cooled espresso will taste completely different to a fresh one.

Espresso made at Quest Coffee Roasters


Macchiato means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’. In short, it is an espresso with a ‘stain’ of hot milk (a dash of foam). The quantity of milk is just enough to stain the colour of the black coffee.

The macchiato takes the edge off an espresso, adding a different aspect to the drink. It is worth a try for the coffee enthusiast who enjoys a strong, full bodied flavour but is not a big fan of the straight espresso.

Macchiato made at Quest Coffee Roasters


Last but not least, the delicious Affogato. This is really similar to the macchiato. It’s a coffee-based dessert for those times when you feel like being a little naughty. It’s quite simple really…a shot of hot espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bon appetite!

Affogato made at Quest Coffee Roasters

Our happy baristas here at Quest Coffee Roasters are all about customer service and providing you with the best quality coffee. We have grown to understand that each individual has different likes and dislikes, and the perfect coffee isn’t just as easy as ‘black and white’. We have had so many different requests over the years that it would take a lot to surprise us.

So next time you are visiting us at our James Street, Burleigh Heads café, be sure to ask for your coffee how you like it best and we will be happy to accommodate. Don’t forget that we always have 4 different types of coffee to offer you until 3pm everyday.

Your coffee your way at Quest Coffee Roasters

The 5 differences between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans

… and why we think Arabica Coffee (preferably Organic) is always the way to go if you want a super tasty coffee.

Time to learn something new about your beloved hot and cold beverage. You probably say coffee all looks a bit the same once it is roasted and it is pretty hard to see the actual difference but there are some significant ones and it’s helpful to know what they are when you are choosing a coffee.

Did you know there are over 100 different coffee species in the world? That said we only use 2 in commercial coffee production; the Arabica (Coffea arabica) and the Robusta (Coffea robusta). 

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

Here are the 6 main differences between the two mighty beans:

  1. Robusta beans have a much higher level of caffeine than Arabica beans, yes it’s almost double the amount.
  2. Arabica beans have a milder, more aromatic taste while Robusta beans have a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain-like overtone and peanutty aftertaste.
  3. When the coffee beans are un-roasted (green), the beans can easily be told apart by their difference in colour and shape as Arabica beans are a darker shade of green, flat and elongated, the Robusta beans have a more obvious round shape.
  4. Robusta is easier to grow on the farm, has a higher yield and is less sensitive to insects – the high caffeine level is a chemical defense for the coffee bean as this amount in the Robusta is toxic to bugs. Arabica coffee is also grown at a higher altitude (600 – 2000 meters) and in cooler sub-tropical climates while Robusta can be grown at sea level.
  5. Over 70% of the coffee grown around the world is Arabica. And although Arabica is generally known as the higher quality bean, there are many high quality blends of Robusta available on the market too.

So you want to know what we use at Quest?

We only use the best Organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Arabica coffee beans available and roast them fresh for you daily. You can find them all here in the shop and we will make sure they will be on there way to you within 24 hours, or come in and say hi at our cafe on the beautiful Gold Coast; we are Burleigh Heads (20 James Street) and have a chat to our friendly baristas.

Fairtrade vs Rainforest Alliance; what’s the deal?

We all like to do our part where we can and when it comes to coffee, we often find ourselves looking for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic, guilt-free coffee.

But do we really know what those fancy labels and certifications actually mean?

Much of our coffee is from places all around the world where the environment is endangered and workers earn only a few dollars for a gruesome day’s work. Coffee farmers have helped cut down tropical forests, and most of them use an abundance of pesticides. Not to mention, child labour is used far more frequently than you can imagine.

Finding coffee beans with labels promising social and environmental improvements is not difficult, especially in a city like ours where niche cafes are as common as a girls in bikinis.

So what is the best option; Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Fair Trade vs Rainforest Alliance Certified

Fairtrade pushes for better wages, working conditions, local sustainability and FAIR terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing nations.

Rainforest Alliance works towards conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behaviour.

Both seem pretty decent, right? Let’s learn a bit more.


Fair Trade Logo

Fairtrade is a worldwide organisation that aims to ensure that those who are creating the product are paid a fair wage for the work that they accomplish. Around 6 million people in developing countries benefit from the Fairtrade system. It  provides them with a fair practice for the product that they sell and also provides for investment in their local community. One more thing: Fairtrade prohibits child labour – yay!

When the product reaches the consumer – or in our case, when we buy our green beans – it is understood that there is a minimum price for each item. Goods can be sold for more depending on quality and demand, but never, ever for less.

However, there is some criticism. Some believe it creates a quality problem, where even poor quality products are still sold, because that minimum price must always be reached. Others say that because there are such strict pre-requisites, that it is restrictive of which producers are able to enter.

When it’s all said and done though, Fairtrade is still seen to be one of the most ethical trade systems available to the consumer.

Rainforest Alliance Certified

This coffee is rainforest alliance certified, Quest Coffee Roasters Queensland Gold Coast.Rainforest Alliance is more focused on the environment. It has five areas of focus: keep the forests standing, curb climate change, protect the wildlife, alleviate poverty, and transform business practices. As you can see, the focus here is very much so environmental, with only some of the focus given to the production of goods.

In regards to alleviating poverty, Rainforest Alliance claim the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal allows farmers’ products to reach new markets, negotiate better prices, and lift themselves and their communities out of poverty through investing the profit into their own community. Being part of a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm also means that employees receive decent wages (the minimum being $2 a day), respectable housing and healthcare and their children having access to education.

Like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance does have some criticisms too. It has been dubbed as ‘Fairtrade lite’, allowing companies to be seen as doing something ethical, but at a cheaper price. The Rainforest Alliance Certificate also doesn’t provide a minimum price for goods, meaning that those who are involved are exposed to the fluctuations of the market. The minimum price for employees is also seen as being set too low. Finally, for things such as coffee, the Rainforest Alliance seal is used on products that use as little as 30% certified beans… this means up to 70% of that coffee does not necessarily meet their standards.

So what do I choose?

Personally, I don’t think one is significantly better than the other. Like everything, there are negative aspects. In this situation, Fairtrade has a lack of focus on the environment and quality control, while Rainforest Alliance maybe cares too much about the environment and not enough about its workers. However, products by both are good; great, even. Both are working towards a better world; a more sustainable world where the children and grandchildren of the workers are given much better starts in life.

Come in and have a look at the single origins we offer at Quest Coffee Roasters – some of which are Fairtrade, and some are Rainforest Alliance Certified. Being a coffee roaster where we import our own green beans, we take great time and care in which coffee plantations our products come from.

We all know coffee is a luxury, but appreciating the work that goes into each cup makes it even more special. By enjoying a Fairtrade single origin, you are helping a farmer make a living so that his family can be supported. Or by enjoying a single origin approved by the Rainforest Alliance, you are creating a more sustainable environment for the future generations. Both, in my mind, are equally important.

For more information on how we, at Quest Coffee Roasters, help our friends all over the world, have a read of our other blog articles, or come in and chat with us over a beautiful cup of coffee.

Written by Kristen Bohlsen.VARGINHA, BRAZIL:  (FILE) A rural worker selects arabic coffee beans, 23 Septembre 2004 at a farm near Varginha, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 20% drop in the price of coffee in less than a month and the possibility of the United States rejoining the Coffee International Organization has shaken hardly the coffe market in the first days of July 2004. According to analysts, the drop of prices was mainly caused by the lack of frost in Brazil, the world's main coffee bean producer, which every year destroys much of the harvest.     AFP PHOTO/Mauricio LIMA  (Photo credit should read MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

A short history on coffee…

Written by Therese Glowaski.

With the richness of the coffee taste comes a rich history. Coffee has been in existence for thousands of years and has an interesting history that is full of tradition. Its discovery can still be considered a mystery and there are many legends and stories that tell how coffee came into popularity.

It has been said that the first coffee plant originated in the Horn of Africa. The native tribes would grind the coffee cherries and then mix it with an animal fat. This mixture would then be rolled into small balls and given to warriors as a source of energy.

Coffee has also gained a mystical reputation with many legends attached to its origin. One of the popular legends dates back to around 800AD, which said that an Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi saw his goats beside a shrub that had red fruit. He noticed his herd dancing from one coffee shrub to another, grazing on the cherry red berries containing the beans. He copped a few himself and then found himself frolicking with his flock.  A monk who witnessed this then plucked berries for his bothers and that night they were uncannily alert to divine inspiration.

The history of coffee; Kaldi and his dancing goats.

The history of coffee; Kaldi and his dancing goats.

Aside from that, coffee’s origin can also be found in historical writings. Cafes were seen in Constantinople at the time when Columbus was starting his exploration in the world. It was during the 15th century when the cultivation of coffee began. During this time, the province of Yemen in Arabia was the only source of coffee in the world. The plants there were highly guarded and even prohibited to be taken outside the country. Despite this, Muslim pilgrims still smuggled the coffee plants out of the country. The coffee was then established in India.

In 1530, the first coffee house was opened in Damascus (now known as Siria) and not long after, there were many coffee houses in Cairo. Venice merchant traders took coffee to Italy and then Europe opened its first café in 1645. Not long after that, coffee houses became widespread in Europe as many Europeans became hooked on coffee. It gained so much popularity that even street vendors started selling it.

The Dutch presented it to their colonies in the 17th century. Eventually, coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas where the french were the first people to plant coffee seedlings in Martinique, an island in the Caribbean. Those sprouts flourished and 50 years later there were 18,680 coffee trees in Martinique enabling the spread of coffee cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other islands of the Caribbean.

The Island of Martinique, in the Caribbean

The Island of Martinique, in the Caribbean


History of Australia’s Coffee

Australians are considered one of the greatest coffee lovers in the world. It has been proven by the existence of many cafés in the country. It was during the late 19th century when Australian coffee began to grow commercially. It even won awards in London in the 1800’s.

The history of coffee in Australia.

The history of coffee in Australia.

Due to the high cost of labor, the industry was not able to compete with the prices of coffee in Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Central America. This caused a slight decline in the Australian coffee industry.

This situation didn’t last long though. In the early 1980’s, the coffee industry was re-established. With the help of machine harvesting, the growers had an opportunity to reduce the harvesting cost, thus enabling them to compete with imported coffee.

Australia, due to its geographical location, can only grow Arabica coffee.