How to Make the Best Flat White in Your Coffee Shop

Flat whites are a common coffee shop drink. The difference between a flat white and a latte is fairly minute in concept. They're made from the same basic ingredients - espresso and milk. There's also a fascinating history behind the flat white! Keep reading to learn more.

What is a Flat White?

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

A flat white is a drink made from espresso and microfoamed milk. Unlike the latte or cappuccino, a flat white is made with very little foam on top. Generally, it's smaller than a latte with a higher ratio of espresso to milk. The coffee dominates the flavor more in the flat white than in other drinks.

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, 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!

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