Flat White Explained!

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the delicacy of the strong taste of espresso with thin layers of microfoam and some creamy steamed milk? Then, a flat white is a perfect option to satiate your coffee buds.

Steamed milk, good amounts of espresso, and a microfoam with a smooth, velvety consistency that's what a flat white tastes like. You may confuse a flat white with a latte or cappuccino. But they are not the same. It’s even better!

Origin of Flat White

History of flat white:Coffee beans

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Flat White is said to have originated in Australia. But you can also see arguments on the birth of Flat White in New Zealand. According to those debates, it originated in Wellington in 1989 when a despondent barista named Fraser McInnes made a cappuccino with low-fat milk that refused to froth. The failed cappuccino was named Flat White and it became a specialty café standard in coffee stores.

Just like the debates on the origin of Flat White, you can also find differences in their preparation in Australia and New Zealand. The flat white from New Zealand is considered to be superior to that of Australia. New Zealand has a purer dairy industry that provides better milk for a better coffee. They use espresso shots in their coffee giving 50% more volume to it. Flat White of New Zealand is more intense, robust, and more caffeinated. Coming back to Australian Flat White, they use ristretto shots in their coffee and have a lower volume than the New Zealand Flat White.

Flat White in the USA

 A flat white on a table

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It was by 2013, flat white became available in New York City. Hugh Jackman introduced flat white at an Australian coffee store which he co-owned in New York City. He endorsed the product across the USA which added it to the menus of all specialty coffee shop chains. 

Australians were not quite happy about the USA adopting their new coffee. They claimed that no one could understand flat white the way they do. They felt that the flat white in America does not have the taste of the authentic Australian flat white.  They were against the latte-ishness of the American flat white.

Despite these rumors on flat white, the popularity of this coffee has been increasing globally and now you can find it anywhere from Britain to Japan.

Cappuccino and Latte vs Flat White 

 Different types of coffees

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We know that flat white, latte and cappuccino are all milk-based, but they are prepared and served differently. All the three are combined with a double shot of espresso in their traditional serving style.

Latte is one of the most popular drinks served in coffee shops. It is milky in flavor and has a greater quantity of milk to coffee. A regular size of latte ranges from 8 to 12 oz. It has 1 part espresso to 4 parts milk to 1 part foam.

On the other hand, a cappuccino shows a substantial change in composition. It has a thick foam topping which is around 1 cm of depth in the cup. You can find some chocolate or cinnamon as optional dustings in a cappuccino occasionally. A standard cappuccino can be about 6 to 8 oz which seems to be smaller than a latte and bigger than a flat white.  

The flat white uses a much smaller ratio of espresso to milk so the taste of espresso is much more dominant in the overall coffee. The milk is also more evenly blended throughout the drink. It has silky, thin textured milk with 2-3 oz espresso shot topped with steamed milk and a little latte art too. 

What’s so special about a Flat White?

Flat white art

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If you look deeply into a flat white you can see two things that make it different from the others- microfoam and crema. 

Creating great microfoam is crucial while preparing a flat white. A good set of microfoam bubbles will look silky-smooth or velvety when the milk is steamed. If it has a more matte-like texture and larger bubbles you are yet to create better microfoam.

Crema is the orange caramelized coffee that floats to the top of an espresso shot. In a flat white the milk merges seamlessly with the crema tasting sweeter than the dark coffee and adding a mouth-feel. But in a latte, the crema drowns with the liquid milk and a cappuccino loses the crema under the weight of the stiff froth.

A Final Note on Flat White

Flat white preparation

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Happy? Sad? Doubtful? Depressed? A flat white can be your perfect solution to kick start a day or to relax in the late hours. The making of a classic flat white is a challenging art where you have to take care of all minute details. A flat white has emerged as a specialty coffee in all the menus of coffee chains around the world. 

If you are a coffee lover and would love to know how amazing a flat white can taste, stop by at our Laughing Man Coffee Cafe. We are sure that our flat white would leave you with the best coffee experience ever!

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