Those of you who may have happened into one of those big chain coffee shops in the last couple of days may have noticed a new addition to their menu – the “flat white“. Most of the American public is blissfully unaware of exactly what a flat white is while our coffee-loving friends down under drink these things as if conquest by Mordor was imminent.

So…What exactly is this thing?

There’s some significant debate about exactly what a flat white is around the world. I’ve seen a flat white described as everything from “just another latte” to a “very wet cappuccino” and all manner of stuff in between.

Really, it’s neither but the idea is simple enough. In its truest, Kiwi-perfected form, It’s a 5 oz drink (150ml for you enlightened metric types) made up of a double shot of espresso and finely steamed milk – or at least that’s what it should be.

One writer said the flat white should be “recognised as the single greatest Antipodean contribution to world gastronomy”. That’s high praise. I guess if Americans can contribute buffalo wings, they can give us coffee.

My thought? Expecting a large coffee chain to tell us how to prepare a quality espresso drink is like expecting Disney to faithfully reproduce fairy tales. I’ll let you know for sure when I get to stop by and try one.

Where has this Coffee Goodness been hiding?

An expertly poured flat white

An expertly poured flat white

Excellent question – but not an easy answer. This seems to be an endless, intense debate among Aussies and New Zealanders. It’s downright craziness that has risen to the same level as the Chicago or New York style pizza.

Australia has continually insisted that the flat white originated either in Sydney or Melbourne. Americans are probably happy to let the debate end there since those are basically the only two cities in Australia we can name. Apparently, a bunch of New Zealand roasters have laid claim to the iconic drink as well. Being that hobbits mostly enjoy tea, I’m loathe to come down on the New Zealand side of the debate.

So the debate will go on, and the American coffee drinking public will continue to be confused over about of 3 oz of milk.