How to Make a Flat White

Love coffee? Of course you do! Everyone’s taste is different though, and it can be difficult to find the perfect blend for your palate. If the flat white is your cup of choice, it can come in handy to know how to make a flat white in your own home.

A flat white is a coffee that is made by pouring velvety milk over a double shot of espresso. It is comparable to the cappuccino or latte but with much less foam. So how can you create this delicious drink? You will need a steamer to create the perfect milk, and an espresso machine.
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Step 1: The Espresso

It all starts with the espresso shot – well, most coffees do. For a flat white that really ticks the boxes, it is important to use freshly roasted, specialty grade coffee beans. It is also important to choose a coffee blend that is complimented by milk as some coffee is best suited for drinking black.

The espresso extraction is very important to pouring the perfect flat white. Under extracted espresso will lead to poor flavour articulation and a weak flavour that gets washed out by the milk. If the espresso is overacted, the coffee will be generally bitter and harsh. Click here to read more about how to extract espresso.

Step 2: The Milk

The milk is where the magic happens. For a great flat white, the milk needs to be stretched to allow some texture to develop without having any thick foam rising to the top. A wand steamer is the preferred tool to create the correct milk for flat white, whilst electric milk frothers tend to make it difficult to create different variations of milk for different coffees. 

After stretching the milk, dip the wand further beneath the surface of the milk to circulate the tiny bubbles of foam through the rest of it. This is known as ‘microfoam’ and this is how your milk gets a velvety texture and the appearance of glossy paint; both of these qualities are good indicators that your milk is spot on. It takes a practised hand to create barista-quality milk, so be prepared to try, try again when you are learning this art. 

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Step 3: The Pour

The final step is to free-pour your milk over your espresso shot. Keep the spout of your jug close to the surface and pour into the middle of the cup. This is your chance to be creative – the flat white is an ideal canvas for the ‘latte artist’, so experiment with different wrist movements to discover what shapes and patterns you can make.  

What’s your top tip for creating the perfect flat white at home?