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The BIG question, what is a flat white?

The BIG question, what is a flat white?

Flat white coffee, it’s everywhere and even McDonald’s are in on the act now but we bet that a few years ago you’d never heard of it right?  So, what exactly is a flat white and where does it come from?  The coffee geeks at Gordon Street Coffee are here to help!

It’s said that the Flat White originated in Australia, or perhaps New Zealand.  There’s a virtual fist fight on who came up with the term first!  Regardless of whoever did, it came from down under somewhere!

So, what is a Flat White? It’s a smooth, velvety and strong coffee, a bit like a latte with less milk or a cappuccino without the foam.  But what really distinguishes it from the others? Well, Lattes and Cappuccinos have either a single or double measure of strong espresso which is then topped with steamed milk, foam (and some even add water!) but this is crucially different in a Flat White.

You may have heard of terms like ‘microfoam’ or ‘microbubbles’? Well, a Latte is made with mostly steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk sitting on top. A Cappuccino is made with roughly the same amount of milk as coffee but has larger layer of foam on top. In comparison, a Flat White has a flat (see what they did there?) layer of steamed ‘micro-foamed’ milk. No froth or big bubbles but lots of tiny ones created with the right temperature, action and timing by a skilled barista.

Cup size is the second difference.  A latte is a larger drink, usually around 240ml which is mostly milk. Whereas a Flat White is a smaller serving but with the same amount of espresso, and while a cappuccino may be closer in size, it’s typically 1/3rd espresso, 1/3rd milk and 1/3rd foam. Flat Whites on the other hand are mostly coffee and never watered down so despite the serving size they have a much more concentrated coffee flavour due to the higher coffee to milk ratio.

So there you go, that’s what makes a Flat White a Flat White!

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