07 Jan The Flat White: A Better Kind of Latte

flat white new latte

With Starbucks’ announcement to add Flat Whites to their menu, it’s safe to say they are now in the mainstream, but what is it?

From the looks, the Flat White is latte without the art; but like all coffee drinks, there are some small differences:

Size: A latte can be vary in sizes, flat whites are typically 8oz. They can be made larger, but the idea is to have a 1:3 ratio so the coffee does most of the talking.

Espresso: Flat whites are made with two ristretto shots of espresso. Also called a “short shot,” ristretto espresso is a shot of coffee without the final bitter drops.

Milk: Flat whites are made with milk that has been steamed, but not aerated, creating small bubbles, a sweet rich taste and a velvetine texture. When milk is steamed past 170 degrees, it loses much of its flavor in favor of volume. Also, the milk is free-poured into the espresso, combining the two instead of keeping a foam layer on top of the milk like in a latte.

The flavor of a Flat White is similar a concentrated latte; creamier, stronger, and slightly sweeter.

While the Flat White doesn’t do anything radically new, it reflects the difference between two coffee cultures.  The Flat White comes from the land of no-nonsense coffee: Australia. With names like ‘short black’ (espresso) and ‘long black’ (americano), the flat white perfectly represents the Australian coffee culture built from quick espresso-based drinks.  Simplicity is favored and modified instead of the elaborate sugar syrup saturated drinks that were popularized by Starbucks.

Why is it getting popular? The drink falls perfectly into line with the current trend of third wave coffee shops. Before Starbucks added the item to their menu the drink had been popping up around the US and rest of the world so get a Flat White and celebrate the un-sugared simplicity of change.

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