What Is Flat White Coffee – How to Make It At Home

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What is Flat White Coffee

It’s time to talk about the Flat White.
No, we are not referring to some frozen ski fields or desert plains.
No, we are not discussing a new type of cheese.
And no, we definitely aren’t talking about a ghost.

Desperate for a hint?
The Flat White is something you will see on menu boards in cafes all across the land down under. If you’re still not sure what we’re talking about, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to delve deep and get into the details on the what, where, and how of the famed caffeinated drink. You’re also going to learn the steps that go into bringing the beverage into being. So let’s get down to it.

What is a Flat White Coffee

First thought up less than fifty years ago, the flat white is one of the newest members to enter the coffee community. However, the credit for its creation has been a long-fought battle. Neither New Zealand nor Australia has been willing to yield the title so far, there’s even a ledger that claims the Brits have a right to claim to fame. Regardless of the who, there’s no denying, the coffee world sure is grateful.

Cup of Flat White Coffee

Like many of the existing participants in the coffee menu, the Flat white is an espresso-based beverage. The taste of the drink is enhanced and enriched with textured hot milk.

Flat White vs Cappuccino

So what makes it stand above the multitude of menu additions each year? A lot of the drinks in a coffee menu call the espresso its core ingredient, however, how they treat the milk differs. Cappuccinos and Lattes both call milk froth an important element in their cups. It works as an additional layer that adds texture and to the enjoyment of the drink. The Flat White on the other hand works hard to ensure it holds no foam. The closest it comes is to the creamy steamed microfoam that sits like a crown on the top of the cup.

When it comes to strength, the Flat White has taken the middle ground between a latte and cappuccino. The drink is usually sized smaller than the other two.

How to make Flat White Coffee

If for any reason you’ve never tasted a Flat White or simply wish to make one for yourself at home, there are a few simple steps to follow and you’ll have a steaming cup of Flat White perfection in your hands.

What You’re Going to Need

  • Coffee – Get your hands on your favored coffee beans. If you have a way to crush them at home, try and bag a bag of whole beans. Since the drink is espresso-based, espresso beans or blends are the best options. However, it is not a compulsory choice.
  • Grinder – If you’ve locked on whole beans, you’re going to need a grinder. The burr grinder is the best friend of home coffee consumers all over the world. It’s sharp and cuts the beans precisely offering up a uniform grind size.
  • Milk – A cup of whole milk is the ideal ingredient here. However, if for ethical or health reasons you need to opt for a non-dairy option, coconut or almond milk will work just as well. If you’re trying to cut the calories down, skimmed milk is the solution.
  • Espresso Machine – Since the espresso is at the core of the drink, this might seem like an obvious element. The market is bursting with dozens of automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines. Some are one button wonders while others have buttons and bells to confuse even the most talented barista. If they are not your style, you can even pull your espresso shots using methods like a French Press or an Aeropress.
  • Spoon
  • Thermometer (Optional) – If you’re just starting out with the whole home-brewing or if you simply prefer to be precise, a thermometer will help you keep track of the milk and ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Coffee cup – Everyone has that favorite coffee cup that has the beverage tasting just a little bit extra special.

What You’re Going to do

Let’s start at the very beginning. Set your sights on first accomplishing an impeccable espresso.

  1. Grind the beans – Measure out the coffee you’re going to use and set it in the grinder. Almost all grinders have a setting specific to suit espresso shots. If yours doesn’t, grind the coffee beans.
  2. Place grinds and tamp – Once done, place the grinds in the portafilter. Don’t forget when tamping to press the grinds in well. It can make a difference in over or under extracting the coffee.
  3. Pull two espresso shots – Pull two shots of espresso. Pat yourself on your back if you manage to achieve a satisfying layer of cream on the top.
  4. Pour milk into a pitcher – Next, pour out half a cup of the milk of your choice into the frothing jar or pitcher.
  5. Steam the milk – If you’re using the steaming wand from an espresso machine to help. Purge the wand before you use it. Do not keep the wand too close to the surface of the milk will froth and that is what you want to avoid. If your machine doesn’t have a steaming wand or you’re not using a machine at all, you can opt to use a home frother or kitchen whisk instead. If you’re using a thermometer, the aim is to get the milk somewhere between 55–62 °C.
  6. Hit pitcher on the countertop – Once achieved, hit the pitcher on the countertop. This will rid the milk of any unnecessary bubbles.
  7. Pour milk over espresso – All that’s left to do is pour the milk out over the espresso into your favorite cup. Don’t forget to wipe down and clean all the elements involved in creating that cup of coffee.

Why is Flat White Coffee so Famous

When the Flat White first burst through the coffee community, it didn’t make too much of a stir. The world was fawning over another flavor at the time. The milk that Australia and New Zealand used in their coffee resulted in stiff dry foam. As a result, cappuccinos weren’t a local favorite. Coffee drinkers who in the past had to scoop the foam of their lattes finally caught sight of an alternative. It didn’t take long for Flat White to spread its wings and conquer the cafes in the two countries. However, the rest of the world was still in the dark for a while longer.

It was only close to five years ago that Starbucks caught a whiff of the beverage and decided to include it in their menu. Starbucks is known to set the standard for hip and trending in the coffee community. It placed the drink on the map and since then there’s been no looking back


  1. How much caffeine does a cup of Flat White contain?

    The Flat White lies somewhere in the middle on the caffeine scale. A single average sized cup contains between 60-80 mgs of caffeine.

  2. How many calories does a cup of Flat White coffee hold?

    If you’re watching that weighing scale. Each cup of Flat While holds close to 58 calories.

  3. Why is the drink called a flat white?

    There isn’t any complicated conspiracy behind it. Coffee that held milk as one of its ingredients was called white coffee. The fact that in this drink the foam was flat, led to the christening of the beverage.

At the End of the Day

A cup of coffee serves different purposes for different people. For some, it is a wake-up call every morning, while for others it is a helping push to survive an exhausting day. Some even claim it stands as comfort in a cup. For each person though, the ideal cup of coffee can look different to different people. The beauty of the bean is that it allows you the option to make it your own. The Flat White offers coffee drinkers a middle ground between craving a little milk in their coffee while passing on the foam it is usually partnered with. For some, that is perfection.