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Thread: When is a flat white not a flat white?

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    When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    OK.... I like my coffee in a particular way - as most do - but why is it that when I ask for a flat white, I get froth?
    IF ITS FLAT, IT JUST DOES NOT HAVE FROTH, right? Am I such a bastard to return the coffee with instructions on how to make a PROPER flat white?
    What are the rules with this tricky one?
    How is a flat white suppose to be anyway? Am I the customer from hell?
    >:(
    Xandro

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    First of all, why arent you at your post?

    Im sure the majority of baristas (in the US anyhow) take your order and walk to their machine in a panic wondering how to make their milk flatter and whiter then it already is :)

  3. #3
    mwatt
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    From memory, a flat white should have about 0.5cm microfoam?

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    I go by 2mm for a flat white and 10mm for a cafe latte.

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    Jim
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    At our neighborhood cafe my wife always orders a latte and I get a cappuccino. The only difference in the end product is a sprinkle of chocolate. Both have about 5mm of foam. Pure kwality.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    i think 3-5mm is nice. Depends on the cup though. If I made one with 5mm froth on top and the customer returned nicely it I would make it again to keep them happy.

    If they came back with "instructions on how to make a proper flat white" Id be up for an argument.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim link=1215952738/0#4 date=1216014707
    At our neighborhood cafe my wife always orders a latte and I get a cappuccino. The only difference in the end product is a sprinkle of chocolate. Both have about 5mm of foam. Pure kwality.
    Thats how they learned to make them at the Leagues Club my son used to work at (super auto too).

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    Senior Member Sketchy's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    flat white has 5 mm latte 10 mm. we have some that ask for flat no froth, we do our best but can only fill 3/4 as milk always slops over top, then get told coffee has to be full. :(
    if you tell them when you order it should be no problem, just dont expect full cream milk as hilo splits quicker to remove foam.

    LE

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    sdg
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Naw, what you do is, boil the bejeesus out of the milk in a microwave, then let it sit til it skins, then let them have it. If theyve been really nice they can have the skin too.

    OR -- you could use *cold* milk (thatd be pretty flat!)

    Happily I do not, nor am ever likely to, work in a cafe [smiley=evil.gif]

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    I was told only today by a chef about a customer who ordered a steak well done. It was served, and the customer complained it was underdone. It went back to the kitchen, was thrown on the floor, jumped on, and then cooked some more. The customer then thought it was great.

    that is why I would never return a meal, or a coffee.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    If you want a flat white made your way...youd better just make them yourself!

    Honestly, I think I know my trade...Ive been working as a barista for over two years and have never stopped trying to improve myself in it either.

    However, I think that when youre churning out coffee after coffee...sometimes your flat whites might have some foam on them. In fact, as far as I know, all my flat whites will have foam. Just the way it is when you steam milk and dont use a spoon to hold back the tide!

    If you came into my shop and asked me to make your coffee a particular way...I would go out of my way to do so.

    If you came into my shop and told me how to make coffee...I would probably think about stomping on your steak before serving it. Be careful how you approach your barista...

    Please customers...be nice to us behind the machine...and Im sure well respond in kind! :)

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1215952738/0#9 date=1216472839
    I was told only today by a chef about a customer who ordered a steak well done. *It was served, and the customer complained it was underdone. *It went back to the kitchen, was thrown on the floor, jumped on, and then cooked some more. *The customer then thought it was great. *

    that is why I would never return a meal, or a coffee.
    I recently complained about a steak.

    The menu was a little different to the usual and emphasised the different levels of cooking.
    You could even order your hamburger patty rare, medium or well done (weird).

    Anyway, I felt like ordering my steak that day medium rare.
    Sometimes Ill order blue if they have it or rare; depends on my mood.

    When the steak arrived it was just beyond medium; it was a little uneven but mostly well done.
    I called over the waiter and asked him if hed call it medium rare and he agreed not and offered to get me another one.

    I declined his offer (as I can eat it the way it was and am wary of what will come back) and asked him to tell the chef it wasnt right.

    One thing I hate is being offered something they cant deliver.
    If you cant cook a medium rare steak dont put it on the menu. *

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1215952738/0#9 date=1216472839
    I was told only today by a chef about a customer who ordered a steak well done. *It was served, and the customer complained it was underdone. *It went back to the kitchen, was thrown on the floor, jumped on, and then cooked some more. *The customer then thought it was great. *

    that is why I would never return a meal, or a coffee.
    Never returning a meal seems a bit extreme... My wifes worked in many restaurants and cafes & tells me that despite a higher than usual amount of complaining and swearing when a customer returns a dish, shes never seen food interfered with in any way. It should be safe to return something at a reputable restaurant, provided there is actually a problem with the dish and youre polite about it. If not, its probably an indication that you should eat somewhere else!

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by m@ link=1215952738/0#12 date=1216622248
    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1215952738/0#9 date=1216472839
    I was told only today by a chef about a customer who ordered a steak well done. *It was served, and the customer complained it was underdone. *It went back to the kitchen, was thrown on the floor, jumped on, and then cooked some more. *The customer then thought it was great. *

    that is why I would never return a meal, or a coffee.
    Never returning a meal seems a bit extreme... My wifes worked in many restaurants and cafes & tells me that despite a higher than usual amount of complaining and swearing when a customer returns a dish, shes never seen food interfered with in any way. It should be safe to return something at a reputable restaurant, provided there is actually a problem with the dish and youre polite about it. If not, its probably an indication that you should eat somewhere else!
    Thing is, you never know what happens behind in the kitchen. If your steak has been stomped on, you wouldnt be able to tell anyway. You could be polite to the waiter in your complaint but that could be transmitted quite differently to the chef...

    Back to the original topic, by the replies, therein lies the problem. some believe a flat white has 2mm froth, some 5mm, some none. Same with a cap and a latte... so what is the ABSOLUTE standard for these?

  15. #15
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Im a qualified ISO auditor and I dont know of any written standard.

    The one for tea is ISO 3103:1980

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1215952738/0#14 date=1216625666
    Im a qualified ISO auditor and I dont know of any written standard.

    The one for tea is ISO 3103:1980
    That standard looks like its used for sensory analysis. If so, there is a similar one for coffee... ISO 6668:2008

    Neither standard answers the question. Maybe there just isnt a definitive answer for good reason?

    I doubt whether anyone is going to get out a ruler and measure the depth of foam sitting on the top of a coffee at a specific point in time.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Okay...according to the baristas bible...

    The industry standard that is being taught in the Prepare and Serve Coffee unit is that the Flat White is "an espresso topped with silky smooth textured milk" and has "up to 5mm of foam".

    It is also stated that the foam depth for a flat white will vary from barista to barista.

    I honestly think that if you have one idea of how a coffee is made in your mind...then just make it that way for yourself at home. When youre out, you are never going to get your own standard of drink unless you can take the time to personally train the barista and I dont really see that happening. So, you are either just going to have to accept that the flat white will vary from cafe to cafe or maybe stop drinking them all together and just drink espresso. At least theres not much debate on how much foam they should have! ;)

  18. #18
    psaigh
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Put simply, there is no global or national standard. Only a cafes individual standards. Some are 2mm some are 2cm, at the end of the day theyre all right, as long as they keep to their own standards. If they make a flat white the way you like it, go back. If they dont, either go somewhere else or ask politely for the barista to make it how you like it (no foam, little foam, lots of foam).

    The cappucino has been around for decades all over the world and is still not made to any standard rule (throw out that 1/3 1/3 1/3 cr@p, wed be looking at double shots in every 6oz cup). Or even an espresso, 50 years later were still debating its definition. So what hope does the flat white, created in Australia (and pretty well only consumed here except by special request) only a few decades ago, have at becoming a standardised model.

    I say who cares, if you really only like "your" coffee made "your" way, then stick to making yourself one at home. If you like going out and chancing a new experience, then do that. I think this is one of the major hurdles holding coffee from becoming truly cullinary. To this day no-ones still tried to define exactly what or how to cook an omelete, or the exact way to make ragu, or any number of a thousand other classic culinary feats (including wine, cognac, gin, vodka etc etc etc).

    Its not the definition thats important, but whats in the cup. Id hate it if everytime i went out for a coffee i got the same thing again and again (think, star-bucks!).

  19. #19
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Thanks for that Dennis.

    ------------

    psaigh some people dont mind being adventurous.

    Its natural though to seek the comfort of familiarity.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1215952738/0#9 date=1216472839
    I was told only today by a chef about a customer who ordered a steak well done. *It was served, and the customer complained it was underdone. *It went back to the kitchen, was thrown on the floor, jumped on, and then cooked some more. *The customer then thought it was great. *

    that is why I would never return a meal, or a coffee.
    That is disgusting!!! I have worked in a number of cafes and restuarants and have never seen this happen, not that I believe it doesnt. It is all about proffesionalism, if the "chef" had a problem cooking a steak well done than they should have conveyed this to the customer. I have had a few customers who complained about their coffee not being boiling hot. After remaking it with super heated cup and max of 67 degree milk if they still said it was not hot enough I send them next door. I would instantly fire any staff member I caught "tampering" with a coffee or meal.

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewToEspresso link=1215952738/0#13 date=1216623401
    Thing is, you never know what happens behind in the kitchen. If your steak has been stomped on, you wouldnt be able to tell anyway. You could be polite to the waiter in your complaint but that could be transmitted quite differently to the chef...
    True, you have to trust the kitchen staff - but this is true whether you send food back or not. You trust that the chefs wash their hands after they go to the toilet, refrigerate food that needs to be refrigerated and dont let roaches live under the fridge. Id never send food back at a restaurant I didnt trust, becuase I wouldnt be eating there in the first place ;)

    As I said, in over a decade of working in many cafes and restaurants my wife has never seen or heard of food being interfered with. Though a chef was fired for throwing a knife at a waiter at one restaurant...

    But yeah, OT...

    Ive been served flat whites with anywhere from 1mm to 1.5cm of foam; at home I tend to make them with about 2-4mm.

    There seems to be a pervasive belief in the more food-oriented cafes that the correct way to make a flat white is to boil the milk until its hot water underneath and meringue on top, then scrape off the foam. Instead of a few mm of foam, a custard-like skin slowly forms on top...

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1215952738/0#16 date=1216635469
    Okay...according to the baristas bible...

    The industry standard that is being taught in the Prepare and Serve Coffee unit is that the Flat White is "an espresso topped with silky smooth textured milk" and has "up to 5mm of foam".

    ...
    At least theres not much debate on how much foam they should have! *;)
    and it looks like in NZ flat white is more of a cross of Australian flat white and a latte (that is at least 4-5mm of foam on top, often more, but not quite 12mm of a latte ;-)

    I guess the only way to get the coffee you want is either go to the cafe where you know what they serve and you like it or make it yourself...

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Before the term barista was widely used , if I ordered a flat white it usually came without foam. *But Id say times have changed. *And Im getting long in the tooth :D

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Hi TK421.

    If you want a zero-foam flat-white youll need ask for your milk to be microwaved. Steaming (and the inevitable fine layer of microfoam) allows for a distinct increase in sweetness, nicer microscopic texture and consistent milk flavour throughout the flat-white. The fine layer of microfoam that rises to the top increases heat retention in your cup.

    Personally, I am far fussier about the espresso extraction and freshness of beans than milk at cafes. Unless the milk gets scalded of course! Or if the steam wand looks like it hasnt been cleaned...

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    A_M
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1215952738/20#23 date=1221441143
    Hi TK421.

    If you want a zero-foam flat-white youll need ask for your milk to be microwaved. Steaming (and the inevitable fine layer of microfoam) allows for a distinct increase in sweetness, nicer microscopic texture and consistent milk flavour throughout the flat-white. The fine layer of microfoam that rises to the top increases heat retention in your cup.

    Personally, I am far fussier about the espresso extraction and freshness of beans than milk at cafes. Unless the milk gets scalded of course! Or if the steam wand looks like it hasnt been cleaned...
    Some one microwave my flat white, and I am out of there quicker than you can reach for the key on the till.

    Sorry... but I have seen many a reasonable espresso / pour get killed by the incorrect management of milk...

    Give me the full package or not at a ll... A job half done is not worth considering.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    I have had a flat white turn up made with instunt and scalded milk :( I think there Idea of a Barista was any 16 year old they could pay peanuts to.

    Personally if I order a flat white and get a latteish version I dont mind if it tastes good :) If I get a Capp instead then I wold ask for a new one politley, same as if I get a cold one.

    No one is going to improve or bother to take care if they dont get a gentle reminder of a bad brew.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    I would not be so much worried about the 2-10mm of foam or no foam, at the end of the day i am more worried about the quality of the coffee shot itself as this is, in my opinion, the most important factor.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    I saw a horrible thing at lunchtime today. My local bakery 1 litre jug with milkshake sized bubbles coming to the top, no thermometer (no hand underneath) being poured over coffee (wont even call it espresso) made from preground beans spooned into the portafilter then tapped (not tamped) before being exterminated into cold cups foam held back with a spoon to make a flat white :(

    Really nice pies and bread BUT I would never drink their coffee!!!

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    Senior Member caffeol's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    When I was growing up flat white was the fancy cafe name for what dad made on Sunday mornings. * Heat the milk on the stove without boiling it over beacuse you put a lump of metal called a milk saver in the bottom of the saucepan. * A teaspoon of instant in the cup and pour on the hot milk.

    If you were lucky you would get drip filter coffee instead of instant and the microwave just made it all cleaner.

    The shell servo restaurants called it made on milk with a bit of a huff about you being a snob if you called it flat white. * Not many cafes had espresso machines outside Melbourne. * If there was an espresso machine people ordered flat white to make sure they werent ripped of by getting half the cup filled with foam instead of milk.

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    The shell servo restaurants called it made on milk with a bit of a huff about you being a snob if you called it flat white. Not many cafes had espresso machines outside Melbourne. If there was an espresso machine people ordered flat white to make sure they werent ripped of by getting half the cup filled with foam instead of milk.
    Well you learn something every day

    When I was a pup mum put Turkish coffee to the hot milk and poured it over cut bread so we could eat something as well
    Mums are smart

    KK

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    Senior Member caffeol's Avatar
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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Actually that doesnt sound half bad -Ill have to try it!

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by TK421 link=1215952738/0#0 date=1215952738
    OK.... I like my coffee in a particular way - as most do - but why is it that when I ask for a flat white, I get froth?
    IF ITS FLAT, IT JUST DOES NOT HAVE FROTH, right? Am I such a * to return the coffee with instructions on how to make a PROPER flat white?
    What are the rules with this tricky one?
    How is a flat white suppose to be anyway? Am I the customer from hell?
    >:(
    Xandro
    Dunno, but from your post here (and language), Id go for the second ;D

    Trolling aside, a flat white is not a long black with milk/cafe au lait/long black with hot milk/short black with hot milk. Its an espresso with slightly stretched milk. So you should expect chromy, silky microfoam (or froth as you call it), or an attempt at it. If you want a coffee made in a non-menu way, you should ask the barista first imo. Personally, Id preface it with "Sorry to be a pain..." and mean it, because you just made the baristas day a bit harder!

    Not sure if youll ever read this though, doesnt look like you came back after :P

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer Roaster link=1215952738/0#19 date=1216712917
    I have had a few customers who complained about their coffee not being boiling hot. After remaking it with super heated cup and max of 67 degree milk if they still said it was not hot enough I send them next door. I would instantly fire any staff member I caught "tampering" with a coffee or meal.
    hey pr,

    its funny - theres a guy who sent in one of his employees for a few weeks to get his "really really hot" caffe latte, each time this poor empoyee came back saying that his boss was pissed off and that it needed to be hotter. finally the hot-requester comes in and says that it hasnt been hot enough. so we heated the milk in front of him while explaining quite politely how we were killing each molecule of flavour

    he was happy
    we served the hottest coffee known to the Big V (probably)
    and he comes back occasionally and we know what he wants


    dont send these guys away - we need a good laugh

    cmon, we love these guys dont we? *::)

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    Re: When is a flat white not a flat white?

    Quote Originally Posted by AngerManagement link=1215952738/20#24 date=1221468946
    Some one microwave my flat white, and I am out of there quicker than you can reach for the key on the till....A job half done is not worth considering.
    Oooh yeah!



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