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Thread: Flat white?

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    Flat white?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Ive been so hard at work trying to get good microfoam that it seems that all i can make now is a latte...

    My flatmates drink usually dink flat whites, but i seem to have forgotten how to make them :-[

    I tried plunging the steam wand into the milk to create a whirlpool immediately (without creating foam first) and left it like that until 70C, but i still got about 1 and a half centimetres of foam. help?

    victor.

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    Re: Flat white?

    If you can make a latte, you can make a flat white. Just serve it in a cup instead of a glass.

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    Re: Flat white?

    70c?? YIKES! Id be stopping quite a bit earlier than that..... say 55c.

    But thats just me

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    Re: Flat white?

    Yeah,

    70 C is a bit too hot for sure, will most likely be starting to burn the milk :(..... 55-60 is plenty hot enough.

    Re: trying to get decent foam... theres been lots contributed by CS members on the subject and a quick search of the forum will turn up lots of useful info, as will this site for example.... http://www.home-barista.com/espresso...lls.html#_milk.

    Basically though, this is what you need to do..... Select the size of jug best suited for the amount of milk you want to texture, i.e. you dont want the milk filled any higher than half-way... just to the bottom of the pouring spout detent is about right. For best results the jug should be chilled in the fridge to the same temperature as the milk, about 3-4deg C.

    Once youve done this, open the Steam Valve Knob slightly with the Steam Wand directed over the Drip Tray to remove all traces of condensate (water). Place the Wand in the jug and immerse about 25-35mm from the surface. Open the Steam Valve gently until you get an active swirling motion happening with the milk when the jug is tilted slightly toward you and away from the Wand. Then, lower the Jug until the Wand Tip is barely immersed under the surface of the milk and you notice a very slight slurping kind of noise, a series of ssshhh sounds.

    Providing you have the milk swirling around the jug really actively, you should be able to notice that your milk volume is increasing or stretching, as the foam is being developed and becoming entrained in the milk. You dont want to see any really big bubbles at this time as it will mean that the milk has become too aerated and micro-foam will be difficult to create. Once you have stretched the milk such that it has increased in volume by about 30% or so or no more than 40deg C, you can plunge the Wand (raise the jug) until the tip is immersed about 25-30mm from the bottom of the jug to heat the milk up to the desired temperature. Always maintain a vigorous whirlpool action in the milk by keeping the jug angled toward you and away from the Wand.

    Once the milk temperature has reached 55-60deg C, turn the Steam Knob off and the Steam Switch if applicable, then remove the jug. If you notice a few largish bubbles in the milk, just tap the jug gently on the bench a few times and swirl the milk around in the jug to try and incorporate the foam into the body of the milk itself, as much as you can. Once you are happy with the appearance of the foam, it should appear very liquid and wet, not foamy as such.... then you can get stuck into making your Lattes and Cappas, etc.

    In the end, it all comes down to practice, practice and more practice. I guess if theres any one thing that helps to make it work for you more than anything else, its to try and get the milk swirling ASAP as you raise the tip of the Wand to start the stretching process. This means you need to pay attention to the amount of steam being directed into the milk.... not enough and the milk wont swirl vigorously enough, too much and youll be blowing bubbles ;). Also need to pay attention to the position of the Wand in relation to the jug to ensure that once the whirlpool is established, you maintain it right through to the completion of the stretching process. Sounds like you need to do a lot at the same time, but once you break it down it doesnt take too long before it becomes second nature.... thats where the practice comes in 8-).

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Thanks for the advice Mal - you are too kind... Im sorry... my first post was a bit ambiguous i guess. I really hope you didnt put much effort into writing that... Or at least I hope its helpful for others who still cant do it properly.

    I am having no problems getting the microfoam at all, especially after reading article after article on the subject. Ive been trying to perfect this skill since my sunbeam days.

    My problem is that I cant get a _small_ amount of microfoam for flat whites. I seem to get either nothing at all, or almost 2cm of the stuff. I cant seem to get the 1-2mm. Last time, I plunged the wand into the milk almost straight away and still got about 1.5cm.

    about the temp... the red zone on my thermometer is between 65 and 70... and from what i have read in previous articles, thats where it should be? I have never had a problem with burnt milk.

    victor.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Hey Victor

    I too used to take milk upto about 65 degs. Never again! Im getting much much nicer milk now. The basic rules I stick to are:

    1) Start with the milk and jug as cool as possible. My jug lives in the freezer.
    2) Get the whirlpool going asap and keep the milk folding over and over itself as much as possible
    3) Never continue to introduce air into the milk after 35 degs - doing so creates milk which is noticibly less sweet
    4) At a max of 35 deg, dig that tip in and continue to whirlpool to a MAX of 55 degs. I have tried stopping later and the milk gets worse and worse. 55deg to me is the perfect spot. This assures the milk has the max sweetness and taste. I can easily tell a difference in taste between milk stopped at 55 deg and that stopped at 60 deg.

    Ben

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    Re: Flat white?

    ill try a lower temp... maybe that will also decrease the amount of foam i am getting =)

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    Re: Flat white?

    Hi again,

    The problem with pulling the jug as the temp hits 65-70deg C, is that the overall temp will still be increasing and hitting the region where the proteins start to coagulate and burn. Definitely gives an off flavour to the milk. Ive found that after the jug is pulled away from the wand, the temp can continue to rise by another 5deg C or so.

    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Hi victor,

    Try using a little less steam pressure; stretch for a short amount of time so that you get a just noticable amount of "runny" rather than dense microfoam and then plunge on a lower steam setting. Make sure you have a whirlpool, but a less vigorous one.

    Ive found that if your steam pressure is high and you have a very vigorous whirlpool going, you can still be whipping air through the milk unintentionally.

    Your mileage may vary :)

    Lachlan

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    Re: Flat white?

    So if a flat white is a latte without 10mm of more aerated textured milk in it, what it a long black with a dash of milk?

    Lets face it, most cafes would not produce a discernably different product if you asked for both, other that being served in a glass and a cup.

    Boris *:-?

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    Re: Flat white?

    Boris- Aust standard is 30ml espresso, textured milk and 1cm textured microfoam on the latte- and 1cm or less on the flat white. A latte is served in a glass and the flat white in a cup.

    That said, Perth interprets a latte in a beer stein sized glass (as does Bris) and charges accordingly. Having just returned from Perth (Dundborough) my g/f ordered a strong t/a latte and got a double shot, 12oz ripple wrap cup of underextracted crap espresso swill and reheated milk...and how much would you pay??? How does $4.30 sound? :o

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    Re: Flat white?

    Aust standard for long black is doppio espresso 50-60ml over water- so a long black with milk is watery, whereas a flat white is milky ;)

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    Re: Flat white?

    It makes me wonder about the propagation of these standards. Fine and beaut to have them, but when 90% dont have a smick, how are they ever going to change? This morning I ordered a latte, and a cappa. I swear they were made the same, the lass even spooned roadhouse merang on top and asked if I would like some chocolate too!. God give me strength. >:(

    Boris.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris link=1141608833/0#12 date=1142331188
    It makes me wonder about the propagation of these standards. Fine and beaut to have them, but when 90% dont have a smick, how are they ever going to change? This morning I ordered a latte, and a cappa. I swear they were made the same, the lass even spooned roadhouse merang on top and asked if I would like some chocolate too!. God give me strength. >:(

    Boris.
    There, there Boris,

    Down boy, down I say ;). I think in this situation, one must adopt the persona of the Master trying to be patient with a wayward student..... as in Master/Grasshopper :D,

    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1141608833/0#13 date=1142430704
    There, there Boris,

    Down boy, down I say ;). I think in this situation, one must adopt the persona of the Master trying to be patient with a wayward student..... as in Master/Grasshopper :D,

    Mal.
    Unfortunately Mal that only works when the grasshopper is willing to learn, which has not been my experience with most cafes. They either dont care or insist theyre doing it correctly. I think Master Po would need to apply his staff to their nether regions to convince them otherwise. :P

    Java "Take this peeble from my hand" phile

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    Re: Flat white?

    The way I see it, there is one simple answer....send the dodgy cup back, tell them how you want them to make your cup and then send them to me at the academy and Ima knock them into shape ::)

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    Re: Flat white?

    Prepare to be besieged.

    Oh, and if anyone shows up a little bruised or worse for wear, then it means they didnt take the constructive feedback as well as they could have. ;D

    Boris ;)

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1141608833/0#14 date=1142445850
    They either dont care or insist theyre doing it correctly. I think Master Po would need to apply his staff to their nether regions to convince them otherwise. :P

    Java "Take this peeble from my hand" phile
    Sadly......

    All too true,

    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Dear Master Po,
    * A humble coffee snob I am, frustrated by the muck I get passed and resistance to make coffee properly. I have job for you, ongoing permanent position, wage negotiable . Please ring 1800 bye bad coffee and ask for Jon. ;D

    Boris

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    Re: Flat white?

    Just wanted to add a horror story, I was at the airport the other morning and had to resort to Krispy Kreme as it was before 6am, ordered a large flat white, then watched the guy put 3 double shots in the cup then fill it with hot water to within 1 inch from the top then ask how much milk I would like in it. Needless to say I didnt need milk as I unpolitely refused the "coffee"

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1141608833/0#14 date=1142445850
    Unfortunately Mal that only works when the grasshopper is willing to learn, which has not been my experience with most cafes. They either dont care or insist theyre doing it correctly. I think Master Po would need to apply his staff to their nether regions to convince them otherwise. :P

    Java "Take this peeble from my hand" phile

    Agreed Javaphile. When I have a handful of students that are only attending because the boss made them,I make them a coffee first up and watch the bulls turn into grasshoppers! Not easy to do at your local cafe. Mal, maybe you should offer to make the manager a coffee?

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    Re: Flat white?

    Mal, I printed off your instructions and followed them to the letter last night.

    I had a fantastic mirofroth and even got a compliment from OGs mate (who I was making the coffee for). It was good to see I have been instinctually doing this, though still hit and miss at times at getting it right.

    Thankyou for setting me on the right path.

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    Re: Flat white?

    You are most welcome Lucinda :),

    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Mal i was trying your instructions...but the part about pointing the just towards you and away from the machine has me stumped, as i see no possible way to do that unless the steam wand was longer, and either flexible or bent back on itself. So my only conclusion is that im just misinterpreting what you mean by "pointing towards"


    Do you mean the top of the jug facing the wand, and the bottom of the jug pointing towards you? Or is there some sideways tilting going on?






  26. #26
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    Re: Flat white?

    I had a laugh ;D
    Yes mate, just my poor choice of descriptive verbs.... That is what I mean, tilt the base of the jug slightly away from the wand and towards the back of the espresso machine. This will hopefully be less confusing than my previous attempt at trying to be helpful :). This works with wands that are perpendicular (or near to) the base of the machine. Machines with wands that are more user friendly, i.e. they can be tilted in any direction, dont require all of this palaver, just angle the wand as appropriate and go for it. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by buster link=1141608833/15#21 date=1161650012
    Hi folks

    This advice above, is it correct?

    In particular, this page on techniques for the FW: http://www.espressocoffeesnobs.com/espresso-drinks-with-milk/how-to-make-a-flat-white.htm

    I have been following this advice, using a kind of spatula thing (sorry, dont know the technical term) to fold in the foam to the less texturised milk, as it says there.

    Most of the time my effots looks like they should according to the picture on that site (okay, apart from the latte art on the top: I think Im a long way off from that!) and I have had compliments on it from customers, but I dont think Im actually getting the 2mm microfoam like I should. I guess if I poured one in a latte glasss Id be able to tell for sure.

    If Im just using a completely wrong technique, well I guess that would explain it.

    By the way the rest of the advice on this thread has been really helpfull too, thanks.

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    Re: Flat white?

    clairebbb,

    At the commercial machine course I attended we were told to texture the milk normally and , whilst pouring, hold back the foam with a spoon (or the special flat bladed device designed just for this).

    Hold back most of the foam allowing just enough to give the 2mm or so of microfoam on the top.

    One of the exercises was to texture the milk and pour a cap and a flat white from the same jug..... and it can be done!

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    Re: Flat white?

    Thanks Java. So the advice is wrong then? Oh well, the path to doing it right begins today...

    2mm seems to be a hard amount to pour to me. I can do 10mm for a latte most of the time, 5mm with a bit of practise, but 2 seems really fiddly. Does it matter - should I be satisfied with the 5mm?

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by clairebbb link=1141608833/15#28 date=1164619866
    Does it matter - should I be satisfied with the 5mm?
    It probably doesnt matter that much. If you hold all but the first bit of foam back.... the continue to pour just the milk component you will get to 2mm after a while....

    The secret seems to be to pour the milk plus foam at the beginning..... rather than trying to add it at the end of the pour..... by the end of the 3 hour course we were all doing it quite well.....

    Mind you, Id hate to think how much milk we used!

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1141608833/15#27 date=1164617944
    clairebbb,

    At the commercial machine course I attended we were told to texture the milk normally and , whilst pouring, hold back the foam with a spoon (or the special flat bladed device designed just for this).
    :o They taught you to use a spoon at a commercial machine course!? They didnt teach you to free pour? Im shocked. You have got to teach yourselves to free pour otherwise youre going to find getting latte art a bit difficult, I should think!

    I say, ditch the spoon, guys! Learn to pour your milk without one. Youll be glad that you did...

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    Re: Flat white?

    On the course I did a few years ago, the instructor used two different pouring methods. One was high and fast, the other low and slow? (IIRC :-?).

    I think the cap was high and fast - i.e you held the jug higher above the cup and tipped quicker and with greater angle to generate a faster pour and the flat white was held lower and the pour was slower.

    Im sure the professional baristi here will straighten me out :-/

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1141608833/30#30 date=1164661483

    :o They taught you to use a spoon at a commercial machine course!? They didnt teach you to free pour? Im shocked. You have got to teach yourselves to free pour otherwise youre going to find getting latte art a bit difficult, I should think!
    Yep..... he did. He also poured some damm fine latte art using that method as well.

    If the baristi in Perth followed his techniques (which were about making quality coffees quickly) then about 95% of coffees served would be better than they are now:o

    Next time Im in Epic I must look over Coreys shoulder - he has the WA latte art champion working there! - and check out her technique. It looks awsome and what is in the cup tastes just as good.

  34. #34
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    Re: Flat white?

    I had a laugh! Id be all thumbs pouring latte art with the spoon in the jug, JavaB!

    Speaking of quick, do you know what time it was taking to make a coffee? Ive been using a timer recently at work to see just how long it takes to turn out the various drinks. Ive been doing this mainly to make sure Im not taking too long and that the customer is getting their drinks in a reasonable amount of time.

    Id be keen to hear what times others are making their drinks in. To give you an idea, I time from the beginning of the process, ie receiving the order, through to plating up the drink or putting the lid on the takeaway cup.

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1141608833/30#33 date=1164677905
    I had a laugh! Id be all thumbs pouring latte art with the spoon in the jug, JavaB!
    Yeah ... Im sure he would be too..... after pouring the drink (latte second - capo first) he removed the spoon, swirled the jug and poured the art - all smoothly and quickly (guess thats what comes from lots pf prectice!!) Needless to say our attempts were - emm - interesting ::)

    With two lattes we microfoamed less and just poured directly... no spoon

    Speaking of quick, do you know what time it was taking to make a coffee? Ive been using a timer recently at work to see just how long it takes to turn out the various drinks. Ive been doing this mainly to make sure Im not taking too long and that the customer is getting their drinks in a reasonable amount of time.
    Well the extract, milk texture and pour time was quick - try to time the extract and the texturing so they finish at the same time.... then milk straight into the espresso BUT he emphasised taking your time with grinding and tamping - especially you must "grind through" the doser except when very busy (making coffees constantly). I guess he was trying to promote the best flavour in the coffee and the least loss of heat.

    How long overall - I couldnt really say (other than we took much longer than he did ;))

    By the way, I wouldnt stress too much over speed... there is a coffee shop here in Perth (a "quality" cafe) which turns around an order in something like 60 seconds - great if you really want a "fast" reasonable coffee - but if I want a real coffee Id go to Epic - they probably take 2 minutes (or maybe a bit more) but Id wait several times that if I had to ;D ;D

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    Re: Flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1141608833/30#34 date=1164679721
    By the way, I wouldnt stress too much over speed... there is a coffee shop here in Perth (a "quality" cafe) which turns around an order in something like 60 seconds - great if you really want a "fast" reasonable coffee - but if I want a real coffee Id go to Epic - they probably take 2 minutes (or maybe a bit more) but Id wait several times that if I had to ;D ;D
    Not stressing, yet! ;) Rather, just making sure I wasnt taking an unreasonable amount of time. To do a coffee Im taking about a minute and a half from start to finish, sometimes longer if I have a really empty grinder (as I grind through the doser).

    I still like to think that our seated customers get their drinks fairly quickly, as Im sure I get them out in under five minutes from when theyve ordered. Of course, the customers have to place their order at the counter rather than get table service, so that might also speed things up in the long run. My own personal experience has been that you can wait anywhere up to twenty minutes to get a coffee served up in some places! (wont mention any names, folks!)



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