What is Flat White coffee?

what is flat white coffee
Sanne Bakker
Sanne Bakker

Updated: maart 22, 2023

We’ve all heard of Cappuccinos, Lattes and Espressos. What about the flat white, though? The latte’s chic sister, but smaller, stronger and more refined. And what is flat white coffee?

With a flat white, you can completely imagine yourself on the beach of Australia, where this coffee variety originated. However, the flat white is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Because of the perfect balance of espresso and whipped smooth milk, it is a popular drink among baristas.

Table of contents

What is a flat white?

The Flat white is a coffee variant made up of one part strong espresso, two parts warm (not boiled) milk, and a thin layer of fine foam. It is critical that the foam is extremely fine and has few to no bubbles. This provides the velvety texture and elevates the cup to a higher level of refinement than many others.

This coffee is mostly consumed in Australia and New Zealand. It began in the 18th century, when the British and later the Italians arrived. The Italians exported their coffee culture to the rest of the world. The espresso brewing method has taken on a life of its own over time, giving the coffee an Australian twist. Around 1980, the flat white was born. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, this type of coffee spread to Europe and America.

Flat white vs Latte

A flat white appears to be a latte at first glance. The flat white, like the latte, has a layer of milk on top of the coffee. So, what makes a flat white so unique? The texture of the milk: a silky foam layer on top of the coffee and the small, strong espresso. Without bubbles, a delicious coffee with steamed milk.

How about a cappuccino? From above, the flat white appears the same, but there is a distinct difference. The cappuccino is made up of a shot of espresso, one part milk, and one part milk foam. A flat white is made up of one part espresso, two parts milk, and a thin layer of fine foam. In fact, a flat white is more like a latte than a cappuccino because it contains more milk. The foam layer, however, is more refined than in a cappuccino.

How to make flat white

The flat white is distinguished by its velvety milk layer devoid of bubbles. Getting this one right is a real challenge, even for the most experienced barista. Here’s how you do it yourself:

  1. Make an espresso 

An espresso serves as the foundation for a flat white. This strong coffee, combined with more milk, imparts a subtle coffee flavor to the flat white.

  1. Froth the milk 

Froth 100 to 130 ml of milk. Do not disturb the jug and do not allow the milk to boil. This creates a stiff cream layer in the steamed milk.

  1. Pour the milk 

Then, to the espresso, add the hot milk. Check that the crema layer is not breaking and stop pouring before fine foam accumulates in the cup.

  1. Serve flat white 

It’s time to serve! Serve the flat white with a nice biscuit. For the sugar enthusiast, you can also include a sugar sachet.


The Flat White is a beloved coffee beverage that has gained popularity in recent years. While its exact origins are somewhat disputed, it is generally agreed that the flat white originated in Australia or New Zealand in the 1980s or 1990s. It is characterized by its velvety texture and balance of espresso and steamed milk, making it a great option for those who want a more intense coffee flavor than a latte or cappuccino can provide.

When it comes to the differences between a flat white and a latte or cappuccino, the distinctions may seem small, but they can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of the drink. While all three beverages contain espresso and milk, the ratios of each can vary greatly, resulting in unique flavors and textures. A flat white has a higher espresso to milk ratio than a latte, while a cappuccino has a higher foam to milk ratio.

If you’re interested in making a flat white at home, it’s important to use quality espresso and to steam the milk properly in order to achieve the signature velvety texture. While it may take some practice to perfect, the end result is a delicious and satisfying coffee drink that is sure to impress.

So there you have it – this drink may be a relatively new addition to the coffee world, but it has quickly become a beloved classic. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just someone who enjoys a good cup of joe, it is definitely worth a try. Who knows – it may just become your new favorite!

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