What is a Flat White?: Explained

Of all the drinks on a cafe menu, one of the most complicated to explain is the Flat White. Why?

There is no 100% accurate definition for a flat white.

If you ask 10 different specialty coffee baristas, “What is a flat white”, you will receive 11 different answers.

It’s one of those drinks that has evolved over the years and taken various forms which brings it to it’s unique, hard-to-pin-down form today.

EXPLAINED:

I will save you the time and research by giving you the 2 most distinct factors of a Flat White that set it apart from other drinks:

  1. Espresso to Milk Ratio: It has a higher rate of milk than a cappuccino, but a lower rate of milk than a latte
    • (latte: 7-9oz milk, flat white: 5-6oz milk, cappuccino: 3oz milk, all with 2 shots espresso)
  2. Milk Texture: It is very thinly textured, more so than a latte (aka: less frothy)

FOR MORE HELPFUL TERMS EXPLAINED: CHECK OUT THE COFFEE LINGO DICTIONARY

How does the taste compare to a latte?

Being that the latte is a very familiar drink, and potentially it’s closest relative, we will make a quick comparison:

Things to keep in mind:

  • Every Cafe does it differently: Be sure to ask the barista how they make their version of the Flat White
  • Don’t let the little white dot on Starbucks’ Flat White’s confuse you…that little white dot Is Not a defining factor of a Flat White
  • Many cafes are doing Flat White’s with ristretto shots rather than espresso shots
    • A ristretto shot is an Espresso shot that has a higher grounds to water ratio…AKA…stronger/ richer than Espresso…but when added to milk, a bit more smooth and less bitter

Next time you are at a cafe, and you see a Flat White on the menu, you can now order it with zeal knowing that you know exactly what it is. 

Cheers!

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Hey! If you are looking for a way to make lattes at home, I have 2 recommendations at various price changes:

The PowerLix Milk Frother $13.95 and the Bellman Stovetop Steamer

Depending on how much you are willing to spend, the Bellman Stovetop Steamer wins hands down for best home steamer, however, I know not everyone is willing to spend as much money on coffee as me….therefore, if that sounds like you…just grab the PowerLix Milk Frother since it’s under $14!

P.S. If you want to learn how to make great drinks at home such as the flat white, check out:
The Coffee Recipe Book: 50 Coffee and Espresso Drinks to Make at Home

4 thoughts on “What is a Flat White?: Explained”

  1. Daniell, would you let me know, please, how you found my blog ? I recently completely cancelled out of one and started completely anew, using an email alias, and Microsoft has made me life almost untenable because of the alias. It also affects the actual blog.
    I’d be grateful .. M.R.

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