An Ambitious Risk – Starbucks’ Flat White
If you are like me, an amazing cup of joe will always make your day a little brighter. That’s the reason I love coffee and make it a point to drink it every day. I also like experimenting with my coffee, and when a café or a coffee shop does a really interesting take on it, I get very enthusiastic about trying it out.
That being said, I have only recently tried Starbucks’ Flat White espresso, even though it came out a couple of years ago and it’s now one of their core drinks.
How is a Flat White Made?
This style of coffee is based on the espresso, with the addition of steamed milk. It’s great for anyone that really likes cream in their beverage, but also enjoy the kick from really strong coffee.
A flat white is usually made from two shots of espresso mixed with milk that has been steamed, and a layer of micro-foam to top it all off.
The technique is the most important part of making a good flat white, and the flavor and texture is all because of it, and not because of the ground of the coffee beans or the type of milk.
Where it all Started
Where it originates from is a very controversial topic and it is still up for debate, but the two most likely places seem to be the land of the Outback (Australia) or the native-land of the Maori (New Zealand).
What is not up to debate is that it was invented in the 80’s, probably in the early years. In the following years, it has spread across many countries, including the US, and has now become a very common beverage in coffee places that focus on specialty drinks.
Later on, people from the area switched from drinking regular coffee to drinking espressos. This caused them to look for something different from the cappuccino, which was served with foamed milk that formed peaks.
They asked for the coffee to be made “flat”, as in without the fancy foam. After further experimentation with the beverage, they thought of adding a layer of microfoam on top to differentiate it completely from the cappuccino.
A couple of years ago, Starbucks started serving flat whites as an alternative to the latte, the most popular espresso-based drink in the US, and it has since been considered part of the mainstream.
The Difference Between Flat White and Latte
The main thing that separates a latte and a flat white is the ratio of milk to espresso. The texture of the milk is pretty similar in both drinks, although a flat is more aerated so it is a bit smoother. Flat whites are generally served in smaller cups than lattes. Starbucks’ Flat White comes only in Tall, while you can have lattes in Grande or even Venti.
How Does a Flat White Compare to a Latte?
As a more concentrated coffee, a Flat White has less milk and as a result has a stronger coffee flavor. Because two shots of coffee are used to create the Flat White it also has more caffeine.
Starbucks’ Flat White
1. Taste and Texture
First of all, you will be surprised that the baristas at every Starbucks are pretty consistent with how the coffee is made. When made well, it is a pretty damn good cup of coffee. It has a very rich coffee taste, and the microfoam of the milk makes the drink very creamy.
Even though it has less milk than a traditional latte, it tastes a lot smoother and stronger as well.
2. Is It Healthy?
Starbucks’ Flat White contains 170 calories, 9g of fat, 14g of carbs, and 9g of protein, and all of that comes from the milk, as the coffee itself has no nutritional value but it does have 154mg of caffeine. Because there is less milk in a flat white than in a latte, it has fewer calories and if you are trying to shed some weight but unwilling to give up milk coffee every day, going from a latte to a flat white may be a good choice.
3. Is It Worth It?
A tall Starbucks Latte costs about $2.95 while a tall Flat White is $3.75, so it costs 80 cents more. A big point to consider besides the price is that since it requires a bit of knowhow to make a flat white, it may vary from not just one Starbucks location to another but also from one barista to another.
I would say that it’s a very nice drink but because of the price, I will not be making it a daily drink. However, you should definitely try one if you’re looking to switch up your usual order.
Taste – 5/5
Value – 4/5
Quality – 4.5/5