The flat white is a popular coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk, originating from down under. Our simple brewing guide will walk you through the steps it takes to make the perfect flat white every single time — silky, smooth and sumptuous as can be.
Brew historians tell us that the first description of a flat white appeared on menus in Sydney, Australia back in the 80s. By this point, coffee culture was well embedded down under, and ‘flat’ was used as a descriptor for coffees that didn’t include too much foam.
To meet consumer demand, baristas set out to develop a brew for the coffee lover who wanted something a little flatter than the standard cappuccino, but with a little more oomph than a latte. As a result, the flat white was born, comprising espresso and steamed milk with just a touch of microfoam.
A flat white is a coffee drink made with a double shot of espresso and topped with steamed milk, slightly textured with microfoam bubbles. The flat white differs from other styles of espresso-based drinks thanks to its higher ratio of coffee to milk, which creates a bolder coffee drinking experience.
A flat white typically features less steamed milk and foam than a latte, allowing the flavour of the base espresso to come through that little bit more. While the exact amounts will vary, a latte tends to hold a ratio of around 4:1 milk to espresso, while a flat white is closer to 2 or 3:1, served in a smaller cup.
The average flat white contains about 130mg of caffeine if two espresso shots are used as the base. However, this amount will vary with the kind of coffee bean used.
Whole dairy milk is generally recommended for a flat white, to create a creamier foam without interfering too much with the coffee’s flavour. If you’re going dairy-free, unsweetened alternatives like almond, soy or oat milk will steam nicely without clouding the tasting notes of your coffee.
A flat white is traditionally served in a small cup sized between 5 and 6oz (approximately 150-160ml).