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.
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:
- 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)
- 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.