Make the Best Flat White Coffee in Your Coffee Shop

What is a Flat White?

A flat white, a favorite in many coffee shops, is primarily crafted from essential flat white ingredients: espresso and microfoamed milk. This beverage distinguishes itself from others like lattes or cappuccinos by having minimal foam on top and a more pronounced coffee flavor, thanks to its higher espresso-to-milk ratio. When exploring how to make a flat white, it's crucial to understand its distinct preparation and the careful balance of its components. While both the flat white and latte share foundational elements of espresso and milk, their differences lie in the precise ratios and techniques employed. Delving deeper into the art of making a flat white not only offers a method but also uncovers a rich history behind this beloved drink.

Flat White, How to Make the Best Flat White in Your Coffee Shop

What's the Difference Between a Flat White & a Latte?

The primary difference between a flat white and a latte lies in their composition and presentation. Both drinks use espresso as a base, but when considering how to make a flat white coffee, one would incorporate microfoamed milk with minimal foam on top, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor due to the higher ratio of espresso to milk. Lattes, on the other hand, have a more substantial layer of foam and often a more even balance between milk and espresso, leading to a creamier texture and milder coffee taste. While the nuances might seem subtle, they make a world of difference in flavor and mouthfeel to coffee aficionados.

The History of the Flat White

There is some debate about who invented the flat white. No one in particular has a patent for it, but we know it originated Down Under in Australia and New Zealand. In the 1980s, people in these places were transitioning from drip and instant coffee to espresso-based drinks. People weren't used to really foamy drinks yet. Things like lattes and cappuccinos had so much foam on top that people started asking for a flat latte or a flat cappuccino. Baristas started foaming the milk less to make a microfoam to fit the demand. Eventually, the ratio was refined to really differentiate the flat white from a latte or cappuccino. This resulted in what we know as a flat white.

Since then, coffee shops in the UK and the US have adopted the flat white. Even Starbucks added it to their menu! People love the flat white because it's less foamy, has more espresso flavor, and it's stronger than a latte.

Flat White, How to Make the Best Flat White in Your Coffee Shop

How to Make a Flat White

What You'll Need:

How to Make it:

1. Brew Your Espresso

Prepare your ground coffee as you would normally for espresso. Brew it directly into your cup. 

2. Steam Your Milk

As your espresso is brewing, pour milk into the steaming jug. Steam it with the steam wand until the jug is no longer comfortable to hold in your hand. Your milk should not have a stiff foam like you'd make for a cappuccino. The perfect consistency for your milk will look shiny and just slightly thicker than your original milk - think shiny paint.

3. Add Them Together

Pouring Steamed Milk, How to Make the Best Flat White in Your Coffee Shop

Tap your jug on a flat surface to eliminate any big bubbles. Pour your milk into your espresso. Start with your cup at an angle and pour your milk in circles through your drink. You can make art on the top if you'd like.

Serve or enjoy it yourself!

The flat white is a perfect drink for customers who aren't the biggest fan of foam in their drinks. It's subtle and delicious all at the same time!


A flat white typically uses a 1:2 ratio of espresso to steamed milk. Starting with a double shot of espresso, it's complemented by microfoamed milk, giving it a distinct creamy texture and stronger coffee flavor compared to other espresso-based drinks like lattes.

Yes, a flat white traditionally comes with a double shot of espresso, which is then complemented by steamed milk, giving it its characteristic strong coffee flavor and creamy texture.