What the heck is a flat white?

Starbucks is finally going to show US coffee drinkers what a “flat white” is. Prepare for controversy
[Via Quartz]

Foamier than this. We think.

Starbucks is introducing the “flat white” to its coffee menus across the US on Jan. 6, reports Eater. It’s a little surprising it took this long; the drink has been available for years in the UK and Australia, which both consume far less coffee per capita than the US. (It’s also a popular drink with New Zealanders, whose coffee consumption is on par with that of Americans.)

But good coffee is more about quality than quantity, is it not? Though the US is the birthplace of Starbucks, the most global (if not globally loved) of coffee purveyors, general opinion in Australia holds American coffee to be a sorry disgrace—watery and thin when it’s a filter coffee, milk-drowned and insipid when it’s a latte. Hence the two favored Australian forms—a “long black,” which is a double espresso with a bit of extra water, and a flat white, which is…

… well, OK. What is a flat white? It turns out this is not a universally agreed-upon definition, and Starbucks baristas in the US should be prepared to expect some bickering—especially from visiting Aussies, Kiwis, and Brits—about what they’re serving up. Here are some descriptions we’ve unearthed.


So Starbucks is about to give us a new drink, one that no one can describe. I was hoping after reading the article I would know what the flat white Starbucks would be selling.

Nope. It sounds like some sort of latte. My standard drink is a double-shot latte. How will this be different?

Guess I am just not enough of a coffee snob.