When it comes to delicious coffee, the flat white is the new kid on the block that every coffee lover should try out! Originating from either Australia or New Zealand (depending on who you talk to), this trending drink has taken on the coffee industry by storm and has since appeared in cafe menus all over the world. From Starbucks to local coffee shops, flat white coffee is a great option for espresso lovers who are looking to elevate their coffee experience.
Even with its status as the new kid of the block, flat white coffee has surely made a name for itself. Despite not being as traditional or established as other coffee drinks, the flat white coffee has become a coffeehouse staple. Today, you can see a number of coffeeshops put their own twist on the new classic.
But what is flat white coffee? From what it is to how you can make it, check out our beginner’s guide to flat white coffee!
What Is Flat White Coffee?
Flat white coffee is an espresso-based drink that’s made with micro-foamed milk poured over one or two shots of espresso. For best taste, flat white is usually served as a small drink. While Starbucks and other large scale chain coffee shops have 8oz versions of the drink, flat white is traditionally served in 6oz cups.
If you happen to have an espresso machine at home, then you’re almost certainly going to be able to make this drink. While great quality espresso is essential, flat white coffee also needs perfectly steamed milk. Combined together, this drink highlights the rich flavor of the espresso and the silky, creamy texture of the milk.
True coffee connoisseurs know just how to tell if a flat white coffee is prepared correctly: the milk!
The secret to a delicious and properly prepared flat white coffee is through the milk. While cappuccinos and lattes use foam and steamed milk, the flat white uses microfoam steamed milk to achieve that subtle, creamy taste that the drink is known for. This is achieved by using a steaming wand under constant temperature.
As an espresso and milk-based drink, flat white coffee is an excellent choice for both new and seasoned coffee lovers as it provides a delicious, subtle, and creamy taste. This satisfies newer coffee drinkers who may not have acquired a taste for stronger coffees and it also peaks the appreciation of coffee veterans who will delight in the complexity of the espresso and milk combination.
Flat White Coffee VS Other Coffees
As an espresso-based drink, flat white coffee can be confused with other drinks that are usually mixed with milk. In fact, the flat white has been described by some as simply a smaller latte! While drinks such as latte and cappuccino are often interchanged with flat white coffee, there are actually minute differences between them.
Between a flat white, latte, and cappuccino, there are several subtle yet important differences you should note. Aside from the milk to coffee ratio, you should also take into account how the milk is steamed and poured, as well as the drink’s container. These vastly affect the taste and the kind of drink you’ll be getting.
If you’re not quite sure what your coffee order really is, here is a handy guide between flat white coffee and other espresso and milk-based drinks:
Flat White VS Latte
Between flat white coffee, latte, and cappuccino, there’s been some major confusion between flat white and cappuccino. If you’re feeling confused between the two, don’t worry–it’s perfectly normal. At first glance, there’s not much of a difference between the two, but a closer look reveals differences in the composition and preparation of the two drinks.
In terms of proportion, a traditional latte usually has a ratio of 1:4:1–1 part espresso, 4 parts milk, and 1 part foam. What greatly differentiates the two is the presence of the foam. While both flat white and latte use double shots of espresso, the latter uses milk that is diluted by the foam. On the other hand, flat white uses microfoam which should be barely visible to coffee drinkers if done correctly.
The size of the drink containers is also a telltale clue as to what you’re drinking. Traditional flat white is served in 6oz containers–meaning that on average, flat white coffee is served in 5 to 6 oz proportions only. On the other hand, latte is served in 8 to 10oz containers. If you’re ordering from a large scale chain coffee shop, you might encounter flat white coffee being served in larger quantities. In which case, you can also look at the material of the container! Although not strictly followed, lattes are best served in glass while flat white coffee can be best appreciated in ceramic containers.
Flat White VS Cappuccino
Another espresso and milk-based coffee drink, cappuccino may also be one of the drinks that you interchange with flat white. Unlike latte, cappuccino and flat white have very different compositions and even appearances–making it easier for most coffee drinkers to tell the difference between the two.
Visually, a cup of cappuccino has an impressive amount of froth making it distinct from both flat white and cappuccino. If you’re looking at a drink with coffee art on top, then chances are it’s a cappuccino. The rich, frothy foam on top makes it instantly recognizable and is one of the distinct factors of the cappuccino as an espresso-based drink. This foam is what differentiates it from dry white. In fact a dry cappuccino is considered as the direct opposite of a flat white! The most common ratio for a cappuccino is 1:3:2–1 part espresso, 3 parts milk, and 2 parts foam.
Because of the composition, drinking flat white coffee and cappuccino are two very different experiences. When drinking a flat white, you get a rich and velvety drink that perfectly blends milk and espresso. On the other hand, drinking cappuccino lets you experience a delicious bed of froth and a surprise of strong flavored coffee at the bottom.
If you’re going to be using serving size as a basis, it might be quite difficult to differentiate it from the others as there is no noticeable difference when it comes to how big a cappuccino comes. Usually, it takes up to 5oz, although some coffee shops may provide a bigger serving size. Generally, if we’re going to compare common serving sizes it goes: latte, cappuccino, and then the flat white.
How To Make Delicious Flat White Coffee At Home
Making flat white coffee at home is easy, as long as you have the right equipment for it. Thankfully, finding a nice coffee maker in the Philippines has never been easier with Curated and the thriving coffee culture in the country! That’s why you can enjoy your favorite brews in the comforts of your own home. From coffee grinders, espresso machines, and whatever else you might need to make the perfect cup of coffee, we have it for you!
If you’re an avid lover of flat white coffee or simply looking to try out the delicious drink at home, we put together a simple how-to recipe for the best flat white coffee brew at home:
- Using your trusted espresso machine, make enough quality espresso shots. Keep in mind that for flat white coffee, you usually need double espresso shots. In some cases, a flat white may have only one shot of espresso–keep in mind to adjust the proportions and flavor accordingly!
- Steam the milk. Make sure that your temperature is around 52-62 degrees Celsius to ensure the creaminess. Remember that for a flat white, the coffee to milk ratio is 1:2–one part espresso and two parts milk.
- Eliminate the air bubbles from the milk by giving the milk container a light thump on a flat surface and then slowly swirling the milk around. This gives you the microfoam steamed milk which flat white coffee is known for. There’s no thick foam in a flat white, so this step is especially important to give you the taste and aesthetic that this drink is known for.
- Slowly pour the milk over your double espresso shot and enjoy!
This is a simple way to brew your flat white and it only requires minimal equipment: an espresso machine, a steaming wand, a pitcher or container to steam your milk, and your coffee cup!
The Perfect Coffee Down Under!
Despite now knowing where the flat white coffee truly comes from, there is one thing coffee lovers are sure of: its deliciousness and their love for the drink!
If you’re still finding your go-to coffee order, giving this drink a try isn’t a bad idea at all. After all, the creaminess of the steamed milk, the richness of the espresso, and the complexity of the drink itself all contributes to the sheer perfection that the flat white has.
Enjoy your perfect cup of flat white coffee and bask in just how lovely this subtle yet potent drink truly is.