It's arguably the most fashionable coffee drink in America right now. But does anyone really get what it is? We're talking, of course, about the mysterious "flat white," the puny but reputedly potent espresso-based concoction, which originated in either Australia or New Zealand, depending on your source. Though once the provenance of only the most worldly, hipper-than-thou baristas in the U.S., the flat white has suddenly gone mainstream with Starbucks' recent move to add the buzzy brew to its menu at locations nationwide, even if critics contend that the nation's dominant caffeine supplier isn't doing it quite right.
So, what is a flat white exactly? Everyone seems to have a different definition. Aussie actor and newbie coffee shop owner Hugh Jackman, for one, has described it as "like a latte with a little less milk and more espresso," while a far lesser-known barista conversely pegged it as "a hotter version of a cappucino with a lighter layer of foam." Maybe the most accurate description comes from the coffee-centric news site Sprudge, which dubbed it "a small latte with a funny name," making it essentially no different from a Gibraltar or Cortado.
In an attempt to demystify the flat white once and for all, coffee authority Sprudge is now conducting a poll, which asks Australian and New Zealander coffee buffs to weigh-in on the highly disputed drink's exact specifications. The survey addresses everything from proper serving size and temperature to the amount of espresso and foam, as well as the history and whether or not the mass-market Starbucks version lives up to the hype.
As a New York-based company, Food Republic is strictly prohibited from participating. But, we're anxious to see the results. Or, maybe that's because of the small creamy coffee we just ingested. Whatever you call it.
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