How to Make a Flat White: A Guide for Coffee Lovers

How to Make a Flat White: A Guide for Coffee Lovers

Craft Café-Quality Flat White at Home: Your Step-by-Step Guide (Flat White Recipe)

The flat white, a delicious pairing of espresso and milk, has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of coffee enthusiasts worldwide. But did you know you can recreate this café favorite right in your own kitchen? This guide will equip you with the knowledge and steps to brew a flat white that rivals any barista's creation.

Flat White: Beyond Latte, Beyond Cappuccino

Often mistaken for its latte and cappuccino cousins, the flat white boasts a unique identity. While a latte features a larger milk portion with a distinct layered look, and a cappuccino showcases a thicker milk foam cap, the flat white strikes a beautiful balance. This coffee drink features a strong espresso base topped with a thin layer of microfoam, creating a creamy texture that complements the espresso's bold flavor without overpowering it.

Unleash Your Inner Barista: Tools and Ingredients

Before we embark on our flat white journey, let's gather the necessary tools and ingredients:

  • Espresso: The foundation of your flat white. You can use a traditional espresso machine, or a Moka pot. We recommend using our Zero-dark Espresso for this drink. 
  • Milk: Whole milk is traditionally preferred for its creamy texture and ability to froth well. However, skim milk or plant-based alternatives like oat milk can be used for a lighter or dairy-free version.
  • Grinder (optional): Freshly ground coffee beans deliver the most flavor. Aim for a fine grind, similar to table salt consistency.
  • Milk frother (optional): A handheld or electric frother helps create the signature microfoam texture.
  • Thermometer (optional): Ideal for monitoring milk temperature during frothing (around 140-150°F or 60-65°C).
  • Mug: Pre-heat your mug to ensure your flat white stays warm for longer.
  • Tamper (optional): If using an espresso maker, a tamper helps pack the coffee grounds for optimal extraction.

The Flat White Ritual: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare Your Espresso:
    • For an espresso machine: Follow your machine's instructions to pull a single or double shot of espresso, depending on your desired strength.
    • For a Moka pot: Fill the lower chamber with water just below the pressure relief valve. Place the funnel filled with coffee grounds (not tamped too tightly) on top, then screw on the top chamber. Heat the pot on a stovetop until coffee brews and collects in the top chamber.
  2. Steam and Froth the Milk:
    • Pour your preferred milk into your frother or a small saucepan. Aim for slightly more milk than you think you'll need for the final drink.
    • Heat the milk using the frother or on the stovetop over medium heat. Don't let it boil.
    • For frothing: If using a frother, follow the manufacturer's instructions to create microfoam – tiny bubbles with a silky smooth texture.
    • Without a frother: Heat the milk while whisking vigorously to incorporate air and create a light foam.
  3. Temperature is Key: The ideal milk temperature for a flat white is between 140-150°F (60-65°C). This ensures a smooth texture without scalding the espresso.
  4. Pouring with Precision:
    • First, pour your freshly brewed espresso into your pre-heated mug.
    • Hold back the milk foam with a spoon and pour the steamed milk into the mug first. Aim for a steady stream to create a nice base.
    • Gently swirl the milk and espresso together to create a marbled effect.
  5. The Crowning Touch: Finally, spoon a thin layer of the microfoam on top of the drink for a classic flat white presentation.

Pro Tips:

  • Use fresh, cold milk for the best frothing results.
  • Practice your milk frothing technique to master a silky smooth texture.
  • Experiment with different coffee bean origins and roast profiles to find your favorite flavor combination.
  • If you don't have a milk frother, you can achieve a similar effect by shaking the milk vigorously in a sealed container before heating it, though this can take a while. 

Now, sit back, relax, and savor your barista-worthy flat white! Remember, practice makes perfect. With a little time and these helpful steps, you'll be crafting café-quality flat whites in no time, impressing even the most demanding of coffee aficionados.