The Quest for a Flat White

Two years ago, when I went to Australia with my little sister, we were at a cafe for breakfast early into our trip and I was trying to figure out what coffee drink to order. Even though I had planned to get mochas from most places, I felt like having just a regular cup of coffee that morning. I looked up at the menu board and couldn’t find something that just said “coffee,” “drip coffee,” or anything similar.

The guy behind the register asked me what I wanted and so I asked: “What’s your regular coffee drink?” I figured he would hear the Amreekan accent on me and realize that I didn’t know what was what and could help me out.

“Flat White,” he responded. So I ordered that.

From what I could tell when I got it, the Flat White seemed to be coffee and milk. Or a shot of espresso with milk. I couldn’t tell. Coffee and milk was my first impression. More milk than what would put into coffee but it didn’t taste like it was weak as what happens when you put in too much milk into a regular cup of coffee. I liked it. It was simple but not as simple as just a cup of coffee. I know it almost sounds like a latte but it didn’t taste like that either.

Flat White seemed to be an option at every Sydney and Melbourne coffee house my sister and I went to. This drink I had never heard of before was ubiquitous in Australia. When I had some time, I looked it up and found out that it was a drink that actually had its origins in Australia.

When I came back to the States, I figured I’d never really have a chance to have a Flat White again beyond going back to Australia. That was that, I thought. Best get it out of my head and move on with my life.

But wait!

A few months later, my coworker/friend/coffee buddy went to London for a bit and when she came back, she brought news of cool coffee places in London. I didn’t think that was possible. The last time I was in London in 2004, there really didn’t seem much else coffee-wise in London beyond the multitude of Starbucks. I then looked up coffeehouses in London and found out that London had apparently undergone some sort of coffee revolution where a bunch of Australian folks settled in London and opened up coffeehouses based on the awesome ones in there home country. Therefore, London had all these cool coffee places now. With this Australian influenced coffee culture came the Flat White, now a fixture at some of these London coffee houses.

I got excited because in my inevitable future trip to London (InshAllah sometime in the future, who knows ;), there would be a lot of coffee to be had and I can be rejoined with the Flat White.

But wait! Again!

Turns out I didn’t have to wait: For my trip to DC, I was looking up coffee shops in the DC metro area when I came across a place called Filter Coffee House that had.. wait for it… Flat White on the menu! Folks, I was excited. So last week, I had a Flat White for the first time in 2 years. It was nice :)

I came back to the Bay Area with its awesome coffee shops but couldn’t help but lament our lack of the Flat White drink here.

I had taken a couple of extra days off to properly get over any tiredness from my trip so that’s how I found myself at Barefoot Coffee Roasters yesterday morning doing random stuff on my laptop. I had ordered a mocha and was enjoying that when I thought I heard someone explain what a “Flat White” was. I looked up and realized that from the vantage point of the table I was at, I was able to get a really good look at the relatively new menu board above the coffee/register area. Truth be told, I hadn’t even noticed the new menu when I walked in the last couple of times. So now I took a good look at it and noticed, in one particular section, Flat White.

Exclamation Points!

For the remainder of this story, please forget the part where I said I had ordered a mocha. Don’t want y’all think I drink too much coffee…

I went up and ordered a Flat White. I sweetened it slightly, as per most of the ones that I got in Australia (I believe most of them were already sweetened by the barista) and it had a taste reminiscent to the ones I remembered.

Folks, I’m just happy that we finally caught up here to something cool that was going on in other parts of the world. A Flat White is a nice drink to get if you want something different but not too different. It’s comfortable. It’s a Flat White. Now in California! What up.

Ok so this is a mocha I had in Australia, but the Flat Whites were presented in the same manner :)

12 thoughts

  1. Since I have to go to Barefoot Coffee Roasters anyways, I think I’ll try this…Did you have to sweeten it because it wasn’t sweet before or cause you wanted it sweeter?

    1. It’s not sweet at all. You should try it before putting anything in it. I ended up putting in about 1/2 a teaspoon and that was perfect for me.

  2. I get an e-mail notification when u publish a new post.
    I think I will start playing some statistic and try to guess
    if there would be a coffee mentioned in that new post,-)

    Just teasing u, since I can’t contribute in any other way to any ‘coffee discussion’. I m drinking only black without coffee and all other when joking I simply categorize as ‘the coffee perversions’. Just too much.
    But I do love reading about it. If once my taste change, u will have ur contribution in it too:)

  3. Love it. Now I want a Flat White. I thought the post was going to be about bread. Haha. I learned something new today. I can chalk this up as a successful day!

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