OK – I am here to confess that I am having a real problem with the current coffee culture in Australia. Have you noticed that
nearly everybody, apparently, is now a Barista? Have you noticed that nearly everyone is an expert (even those self-confessed people who don’t drink coffee seem to be an expert)? Have you noticed that nearly every one now has the “best
machine“ on the market? (Even us at PCH…..apparently!!)
Well if this is so – why am I having so much trouble getting a decent cup of coffee?
I have a theory – we have become too clever, too groovy and too bloody arrogant about it!
(according to the free online dictionary) is:
A strong espresso coffee topped with steamed frothed milk.
According to Wikipedia:
A latte (from the Italian caffè latte or caffellatte, meaning "coffee [and] milk") (/ˈlɑːteɪ/or /ˈlæteɪ/)  is a
coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk.
A flat white is a coffee beverage developed in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s. It is prepared by pouring
microfoam (steamed milk from the bottom of a pitcher) over a single or double shot of ristretto espresso. It is similar to the latte and the café au lait although smaller in volume, having a higher proportion of coffee to milk and more velvety in consistency.
The beverage is typically served in a small 150–160 millilitre ceramic cup. Microfoam is used, and loosely frothed milk from
the top of the steaming vessel is typically discarded or held back in the vessel while the creamy milk from the bottom of the vessel is folded into the coffee, resulting in a smooth and velvety texture. A flat white almost always
incorporates latte art, at least if prepared by a properly trained barista.
According to purists, a flat white has several defining characteristics:
1. A very thin layer of velvety micro-foam (hence the "flat" in flat white), as opposed to the high amount of foam in a
2. Medium size (typically the same cup size of a cappuccino, i.e. about 150-180ml or 5–6
3. Free poured milk so that the foam is folded through the whole drink and there is no discernible layer separation between
liquid coffee and foam.
4. Not served in a glass, as the larger (and therefore weaker) cafe latte typically
Making a good flat white is difficult, because a properly skilled barista is needed to prepare the espresso base correctly, to
steam the milk such that micro-foam is created and to properly fold the milk in with the espresso, thereby creating the thin velvety layer of foam with latte art.
Now I remember when I was in Italy staying with my Nonna, way before the advent of flat whites in the 80’s…..we would start the day with a small pot of coffee made at home – then we would pour some warm milk on top of the coffee (in a large cup/almost soup bowl vessel) and add some torn up ‘dolce’ left over from last night’s dessert. That would be our quick snack
before we would go to the local espresso bar. At the local we would have an espresso shot (notice that word does not have an “x” in it so is pronounced with a “s” not an “x”!!),a glass of water chaser and then home, or shopping or whatever!
Nowadays if I ask for a strong flat white – I receive warm milk that has had a bit of dishwater squeezed into it to give it
colour and 1/3 cup of froth!!!! I ask you – what is this about????
Firstly – I don’t want to pay for froth – if I want froth I will ask for cappuccino!
Secondly – strong means I want to be able to REALLY taste the coffee flavour.
Thirdly – I don’t want to taste warm milk – usually it makes me gag – I want to have a cup of strong flavoursome coffee with
some milk and no froth on top.
Why is it so hard?
After years of research Tez has finally purchased our home machine (affectionately named Sophia, ‘cos she is larger than life, bold and Italian!).
Yep, I have started drinking a lot more tea!