Starbucks recently added a new drink to its Canada and U.S. menus called the flat white, which has become trendy in the New York coffee scene. But the java beverage isn't new and has been a coffehouse staple in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for decades. Even actor Hugh Jackman is a reported fan of the espresso-based drink.
What is a flat white?
Starbucks described its flat white as "an espresso beverage made with two ristretto shots, combined with a thin layer of velvety steamed whole milk and finished with a latte art dot." A ristretto is a smaller, more concentrated serving of espresso, which delivers a sweeter, more intense coffee flavor than a regular shot of espresso, according to a press release.
According to Jackman, a flat white "is like a latte with a little less milk and more espresso," the Australian actor told Grub Street. Jackman recently launched a nonprofit coffee bar called Laughing Man Coffee & Tea in New York City, which offers the rich, creamy beverage as its signature drink. "Our barista is trained by me on how to make it exactly," he reportedly said.
Who made the first flat white?
Starbacks credited flat white's origins to Australian baristas in the 1980s. However, New Zealand also laid claim to the coffee drink, according to Stuff.co.nz, a New Zealand news website published by Fairfax Digital.
How is a flat white made?
Keegan Dahl, a Canadian barista who was trained in Australia, told Men's Journal that the flat white is about proportions and texture. “A regular flat white is it is to be served in a 170 ml tulip cup. The proportions are 30 ml/1 oz of espresso to 140 ml/5.75 oz steamed milk, with a thin layer of velvety microfoam that has incorporated with the espresso," Dahl reportedly said.
Starbucks baristas make their flat whites by steaming milk into creamy microfoam (not froth), which is then poured by hand into the espresso. The result is slightly thick, velvety foam layered inside the espresso, rather than sitting on top. Starbucks customers can choose nonfat, whole, 2 percent, soy or coconut milks for their flat white creation.
A flat white at Starbucks costs between $3.75 and $4.25, according to MarketWatch. So if you don't feel like doling out several bucks for a coffee, you can make a flat white at home using a moka pot. “To make a flat white at home I would use a moka pot to make the espresso and warm the milk on the stove and use a milk frother to create "microfoam" (you won't actually get microfoam using this method but let's face it... you're at home). I would then get a small mug and use a 1:5 espresso/milk ratio," Dahl told Men's Journal.