Flat white coffee is a newcomer when it comes to the coffee industry.
Both New Zealand and Australia are sharing the credit for originating the Flat white coffee.
It Doesn’t matter who is the real creator of Flat White because the beverage has been able to capture most of the cafe menus.
But what makes a Flat white coffee so special that it became a popular choice around the world?
What Is Flat White Coffee?
The flat white coffee is based on an espresso drink with having two main components of micro foam and steamed milk.
Micro foam is made from steamed milk which infuses with air gently. This gives the drink a silky texture with tiny bubbles of air. If the coffee is made with perfection, the air bubbles are barely visible by the drinker. The coffee is served in a small size traditionally, 150-170 ml. The size is even smaller than usual lattes and cappuccinos.
But flat white coffee served by coffees chain shops (large-scale) is considered as non-traditional because they usually come in 300 ml.
And because of this, the richness of the beverage gets diluted. Espresso coffee’s flavor can get diluted just like this by cold or hot water. The texture, famed body, and intense taste diminishes more and more if milk components get added too much. The quantity of espresso is supposed to be greater than the milk to dominate the sweet taste factors of the milk. Cafes should use a thin layer of foam on the white flat to avoid texture issues and any other distraction that could create discomfort while drinking.
The hard work and art that requires to create an exceptional espresso fade away when cafes tend to focus more on milk. To nail the taste of flat white, maintaining and balancing the espresso shot and quality of micro foam is necessary. This means you’ll have to pay attention to the tiny bubbles while steaming the milk and keeping an eye on your espresso recipe.
Flat white, Cappuccino & Latte
Even though the drinks Flat white, Cappuccino, and Latte are based on milk, preparing and serving them properly can show how different they are from each other.
All three of them are prepared traditionally with double espresso shots, which now are around 30 to 60 ml. And the size of the espresso shot is different depending on the country or region. Also, it could depend on the preference of cafes and baristas. With increasing knowledge about espresso, the espresso recipe now seems to evolve depending on the water the surroundings have and the equipment used.
Now that we have studied espresso, let’s have a look at the most common drink in UK cafes, the Latte. A latte contains more milk in both quantity and taste. In the UK, the regular size of Latte in specialty cafes is 230-250 ml. And to keep in mind, the sizes depend on the demand for the drinks. Traditional portions of Latte have 1-portion of espresso to 4-portions of milk, to 1-portion of foam. Size and amount of foam change according to cafes and baristas. But the usual foam depth is 0.5-1 cm. The foam and espresso amount are unlikely to change in different sizes, just the liquid “milk” will change.
Now we jump onto the Cappuccino, the composition is a lot different. However, recipe and making style keeps changing on factors we discussed above. Traditional Cappuccino has around 1cm depth in foam, but you can see a reduced size in some places. It is done, to let the baristas pour latte art on the drink. Did you know? Cappuccino sometimes is served with cinnamon or chocolate for a wider audience.
Regular Cappuccino comes smaller as compared to Latte, but larger, compared to “shops” Flat White, which is 150-170 ml. The Cappuccino proportion ratio is 1-espresso to 3-milk to 2-foam.
But in the UK or at some other places, the milk foam is less in modern style Cappuccino.
Cappuccino has a thick foam that hides the real beverage below it, the liquid that sits below the foam is strong in brew flavor. Flat white has more espresso compared to milk. Which makes espresso stand out and dominates the overall flavor. Milk and espresso are blended, so the taste is more consistent with each sip.
Specialty cafes use Latte and Flat white to perform latte art on the beverages. To create a perfect and detailed Latte art the milk needs to be more homogenous, silky in texture, and similar to white paint. To get a thicker foam the milk requires more air.
Now let’s see the recipe for Flat white coffee. You’ll require milk with a thin texture, about 0.5 cm for 150-170 ml cup, and double shots of the espresso.
The remaining drink is made with steamed milk by using a steam wand. The recipe is quite flexible as you can see in cafes in the UK.
The coffee they have differentiated from roasting and seasonality style usually has a different recipe for espresso. It changes the balance and taste of coffee. But in general, you will see 60-90 ml of espresso with the addition of steamed milk and a cute little latte art.
How To Make It?
- Make an espresso shot of good quality. The production and time taken to brew are the main factors in the preparation of Flat white.
- Steam the milk, addition of air to the milk is a process that is better understood when taught personally.
- Now keep the milk moving while you are swirling the espresso shot, if you see any bubbles in both, get rid of them. Later pour them together, and that it! You are ready to taste your Flat white.