What Is A Flat White Coffee?

what is flat white coffee? a coffee with double espresso shot and creamy frothed milk

Double ristretto + milk = flat white! It’s simple, and it’s delicious. How to make the best flat white at home? I’m here to help.

Espresso flat white, everyone’s favorite

What is a flat white? A gently frothed milk beverage that initially contains a light-roasted double ristretto and is served in a glass cup. 

This drink contains more milk than a cappuccino but less than a latte macchiato. It’s an excellent choice for coffee lovers who want to taste the coffee flavor while still enjoying the creamy texture of milk.

The origin of flat white

The flat white started gaining popularity in the world of specialty coffee sometime at the end of the 20th century, originating from the regions of Australia and New Zealand. However, the exact place where it was first created remains uncertain.

If I were to guess, I would lean towards the former, as our Australian coffee-loving friends were already familiar with milk-based beverages and started experimenting with various milk drinks much earlier.

What does a flat white taste like?

Flat white has balanced sweetness. Of course, if you make it with almond milk, it will be sweeter than brewed with regular milk. But the milk and the double espresso balance each other pretty awesomely. Drink rich espressos with creamy milk!

What is a flat white at Starbucks?

The flat white is an expertly steamed milk poured over two espresso shots in Starbucks. It’s the same as elsewhere.

How to make a traditional flat white?

The secret of this milk-based coffee lies in its creamy, thin milk froth. (Learn how to froth milk at home!)

By this, I mean that in the case of a flat white, the milk foam doesn’t fill half of our cup like in a traditional cappuccino. The foam appears only on the top of the coffee, forming a thin layer.

One thing’s for sure, it’s a favorite among baristas, as they can showcase their latte art skills with this drink. You will know you are in the right place when you’re served a perfectly creamy, hazelnut-colored milk coffee with about a finger’s thickness of steamed milk.

i'm showing how to make a flat white coffee with beautiful latte art

Flat white coffee recipes for brewing at home

You will need:

  • double ristretto (usually light-roasted)
  • about 6.1oz (180 ml) of milk
  • and that’s it (seriously!)

It’s important to highlight that this drink requires practice since achieving perfectly steamed milk foam is difficult.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d highly recommend it. I continue to encourage everyone to dare to try new things. Believe me, a flat white coffee is a perfect way to start the day. You surely won’t be disappointed!

Flat white vs. Latte: the differences

Flat WhiteLatte
OriginIt originated in Australia/New Zealand, known for its higher coffee-to-milk ratio.It originated in Europe, particularly Italy, and is known for its balanced coffee-to-milk ratio.
Coffee-to-Milk RatioHas a higher coffee-to-milk ratio with a double shot of espresso.Features a balanced coffee-to-milk ratio with a single shot of espresso.
Milk TextureUses microfoam, a velvety and creamy milk texture achieved through precise steaming.Generally, it uses more steamed milk and foam on top, resulting in a creamier and frothier texture.
Espresso FlavorThe espresso flavor is more pronounced due to the higher coffee concentration.The espresso flavor is balanced by a greater milk volume, resulting in a milder coffee taste.
Coffee IntensityOffers a strong and intense coffee experience focusing on the espresso’s richness.Provides a more mellow coffee profile, perfect for those who prefer a less intense taste.
Milk FlavorThe milk complements the coffee, providing a touch of sweetness without overpowering the espresso.The milk dilutes the coffee’s intensity, resulting in a creamier and smoother overall taste.
SizeTypically served in smaller cups (6-8 oz) to maintain the coffee’s strength.Often served in larger cups (8-12 oz) to accommodate the milk volume.
PresentationOften includes latte art on the surface due to the velvety microfoam.Latte art is also common due to the milk’s frothiness, adding to the visual appeal.
Specialty Coffee CultureOften associated with specialty coffee shops and barista craftsmanship.Well-known and available in various coffee shops, both specialty and mainstream.
Flavor PreferenceSuited for those who enjoy a bold coffee flavor with a velvety milk texture.Ideal for those who prefer a balanced coffee-milk blend and a creamier overall taste.

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