This Guy Knows Coffee

Wow, Michael Symons has some serious writing here about “flat white” in New Zealand (Wellington).

Do they do a good “flat white” in Oz? Adelaide? Sydney?

As perfected in Wellington, a flat white is a double shot of espresso, making around 30ml in a 160ml, usually tulip-shaped cup, topped with carefully “textured” or “stretched” milk without “dry” (light, cappuccino) foam, and at a hot but not burning temperature. It is finished with “latte art”, showing the fern emblem, similar to the “rosetta” elsewhere. The secret is care with every step: high- quality arabica beans, not overly roasted, towards a week after roasting (and no more than 10 days), freshly ground; a clean machine, run for 25 to 30 seconds; starting with cold, full- cream milk; steaming that creates a vortex without bubbles; served immediately in a ceramic (never plastic or paper) cup.


"I agree with Scot's thoughts, and I think they are stories not just worth telling, ..."

Willow Elder Of 30 Years Talks
"Eric, I did call attention to it at the time."

Willow Elder Of 30 Years Talks
"It is amazing, and troubling, to see how hard a time the Willow Creek leadership ..."

Willow Elder Of 30 Years Talks
""Believe it or not, one of the hardest and most frustrating tasks of a pastor ..."

Pastor As Midwife (Mike Glenn)

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ReJoyce

    Never heard of it, but am pretty sure I need one *now*!

  • The Flat White is the standard form of coffee throughout Australia… and it seems New Zealand are trying to steal the credit for it now unfortunately.

    Hopefully the flat white will become more widely adopted throughout the world instead of the weaker lattes you get in most places.

    I wouldn’t nomimate Adelaide and Sydney as coffee capitals though. Melbourne is still probably the king of coffee in Australia (if not the world), and Perth has some excellent roasters and cafes also. Even my new adopted home of Hobart has a thriving cafe culture too.

  • Carol

    As a temporary transplant to Melbourne from the Seattle, WA area I concur with Baggas… you definitely must include Melbourne. Amazing coffee. I don’t know that I will ever think of Seattle coffees in quite the same way.

  • Trav

    Yep, here in Melbourne we are indeed famous for our coffee.

  • ChrisBallard

    Don’t worry Scot, you’ll still be able to get great coffee in Adelaide when you visit us. Typically, there’s no love lost between South Aus and the Vics, they claim they’re better at everything (but we know better) and pinch our best footballers :). I’m sure somebody will be able to point you in the right direction.

  • John Mark

    Sounds like dialogue from an episode of Frazier to me.

  • DRT

    I think there is something about the whole “white” thing as it pertains to things that are robust. I remember in college, having….was it New Holland White? ….. very good.

  • Todd


    You’ll find really good coffee in Australia and Adelaide. We lived there for 4 years and miss and RIO coffee which was our bean supplier when we were there. Australian have their own language that includes the aforementioned “flat white” and “short black”.

    Enjoy mate

  • Dan K

    No Kiwi I know would have as much hubris as to claim inventing the flat white… But my goodness I’ve had some fantastic coffee in Wellington. Not as good here in Auckland, but not too shabby nonetheless. I’d recommend making sure they’re pulling double shots though, some cafés have been pouring singles by default. Vaguely disturbing really. 😉

  • Stuart B

    Due to the influx of independent coffee shops (mainly run by Aussies) the flat white is pretty widespread here in the UK too.

    Even Starbucks sell a ‘flat white’, in a vain attempt to capitalise on the ever-growing indie scene.
    It does however pale in comparison to the real thing.

  • James

    Now that sounds good.

  • JKC

    Baggas #2
    The article is written by an Aussie – it doesn’t claim flat white was invented in NZ – just says the best ones are now to be found in Wellington – come, taste and see for yourself 🙂

  • phil_style

    When leaving NZ for the UK 4 years ago one of the things I missed most was the flat white (I’m from Wellington). Now though, one can finally get the FW in London. There are a number of great coffee companies in this historically coffee deprived nation.

    If you’re in London, get yourself to Monmouth (Covent Garden, or Borough Market) and sample one of their flat whites. As good as any I ever had in Wellington or Auckland!

  • Great Aussie coffee doesn’t stop at espresso either; I’ve had syphon, cold drip, pour-over and other coffee approaches in both Adelaide and Melbourne. Check out this news clip as well, about Aussies bringing their cafe approach to London.