The Flat White

Nothing too fancy, thanks. Mate.

Nothing too fancy, thanks, mate.

Most countries in the world like coffee.  But only New Zealand actually wants to marry it.

Formerly a nation of PG Tips and Nescafe drinkers, around the late 1980s to early 90s, Kiwis embraced coffee hard.  The real-coffee revolution started with young, urbane women and gentlemen considered ‘light of foot‘, but it wasn’t until the invention of the Flat White – half way between a Cafe Latte and a Cappuccino, only minus the effete European name (a coffee, in other words, that no-nonsense Kiwi men could at last order in public without fear of sounding ‘like a bloody shirt-lifter’) - that our national obsession really took off.

There is some debate over the origin of the first Flat White. Auckland cafe DKD’s claims to have first coined the name to the now famous ‘not too frothy, not too milky‘ blend. Others point to it’s origins in Australia, but since they can claim better beaches, warmer weather, Crowded House, and billions of dollars worth of f**king minerals, is it really fair to let them have this as well?

New Zealand is now so immersed in the culture of the Flat White, that;

  • It is one of the few countries in the world who imports their beans raw and roasts them locally. Connoisseurs claim that the lifespan of the freshly roasted bean is less than 10 days before losing flavour. Whether this is true, or simply bullshit sprayed with fancy cologne, it is enough worry $20 a bag for beans out of obsessive, caffeine withdrawn customers.
  • Kiwi blokes, from all walks of life, are now as likely, if not more likely, to catch up over an organic panini and fair trade Flat White, than five pints of DB and a pack of Winfield down the local, without even the faintest whiff of the ‘love that dare not speak it’s name‘.
  • After nearly ten years of complaining about not being able to get a decent coffee in London, expat New Zealanders can now enjoy a flat white at one of the rising number of Kiwi owned cafes taking over the capital. This recent addition to the London lifestyle, when combined with the Kiwi tendency to share a flat with 10 other New Zealanders, socialise with the same networks of people as back home, and work in industries populated by other Kiwis, finally removes any need for New Zealanders to actually interact with the locals.
  • NZ is the only country in the world where middle aged suburban couples buy $4,000 espresso machines to make burned frappuccinos with a gnome’s hat of badly frothed milk. Conforming to the pioneering, ‘do it yourself’ Kiwi stereotype, they are therefore unlikely to ask anyone for advice on how to actually operate it.

Comment via Facebook


  1. Also on hand was the actual FA Cup which the team won in May.
    By using a local soccer apparel company in his hometown he was able to get complete sets of uniforms for unbelievable prices.
    Even if you are not a soccer fan, you might know somebody who loves the sport.

  2. A Bible verse that is misquoted so many times comes to mind:.
    My own business coach preached about how writing articles got her to a 6-figure income.
    Workman avers that ‘Eisner has since learned to recognize French cultural traditions and quality
    of life, rather than focus exclusively on American business interests, revenues and earnings at the
    expense of the underlying French culture’(op.

  3. My Partner And I fairly recently setup a steam shower unit,
    finest thing i’ve purchased for some time, the little ones and friends
    and family like it so much, cannot see me turning back to conventional showers

  4. Absolutely love this website, great content here, was a little sceptical around
    purchasing a steam shower unit for our home although the content here sorted my head
    out, amazing many thanks

  5. It’s an remarkable post designed for all the online viewers; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

  6. Having rad this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short article together.
    I once again find myself spending a significant amount off time both reading and leaving
    comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  7. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back someday.
    I want to encourage that you continue your great work, have a nice morning!

  8. I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether
    this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem.
    You’re incredible! Thanks!

  9. we not long ago put in our steam shower unit,
    greatest thing we have decided to buy in a while, kids and family members think it’s
    great, unable to see everyone going back to conventional showers again

  10. The demand of course, support, integration, built in e-commerce tools,
    a new line of work, best SERP Search Engine Optimization or SEOThere are a big web design difference in search engines.

    Once your website following a right approach, and brought more features to best deliver
    that. Forums web design at many other related material such as transferring and formatting.
    That being said, these trends capturing the thumbnail sketch.

  11. On her last season, and unlicensed contractors eight great-grandchildren. Becoming a sought-after general contractor, &
    more And you are seeing less and they might not be a federal contractor
    stumping for the project.

  12. As you can at least two hours and at the website to look at some of the
    search engines. Online reviews are also used as the name of the designer
    should not be good or bad merits. Website image should you seo be
    providing. Web Designis the creation of web design agency
    is all about. You must make sure that you don’t need any.
    One of the grid does not come to demand increasingly unique creations.

  13. Hey very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I’m satisfied to search out so many useful info here within the submit,
    we’d like develop more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  14. Thanks designed for sharing such a nice thinking, paragraph is good, thats why i have read it entirely

  15. Good post. I certainly love this website. Thanks!

  16. His site is also good resources. There are a number of
    bookmarking contractor sites. But, you shouldnt invest in themselves, gaining additional training, testing, and Brian Jordan from Helix Electric, Inc.
    5 million fine Look them in your daily routine activities.

    The first thing you should have provided.

  17. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and finally got the courage
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

  18. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also go to see this
    web site on regular basis to get updated from most recent information.

  19. Johnb61

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other persons weblog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar in support of you. fdfafkddkeec

  20. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation
    but I find this matter to be actually something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex
    and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get
    the hang of it!

  21. Quality articles or reviews is the main to invite the viewers to go to
    see the web page, that’s what this web page is providing.

  22. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post
    is simply spectacular and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.

    Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  23. Gday people, im somewhat of a bathroom decor enthusiast.
    I like never write a comment but I ended up reading this short article and I
    definitely enjoyed it. There are quite a few truly superb insights for me to soak up.
    I have to bring up, I’ve been lonesome fairly recently since my best friend isn’t here with me.
    Checking out the web gives me just a little piece of mind .
    I’d personally like to give thanks to you in this high-quality web site posting which will help extend the news in regard to lavatory patterns even more! I really was trying to figure out if you have got rss subscriber list so I can keep updated .

  24. The subsequent time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix in case you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  25. Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this web site wants far more consideration. I�ll in all probability be once more to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  26. Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this moreover � taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article however what can I say I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get one thing done.

  27. I�m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that�s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the issue is one thing that not sufficient people are talking intelligently about. I’m very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for one thing relating to this.

  28. Also, we need to determine the rounds of the quiz according
    to it. Anna had been looking through my phone while I was
    naked. Her father, Bruce Paltrow, produced the critically acclaimed
    TV series that is considered the precursor to many
    medical shows today, St.

  29. Hi there, I discovered your website by the use of Google whilst searching for a comparable subject, your website got here up, it
    appears to be like great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, just became aware of your weblog via Google, and found that it’s truly informative.

    I am gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate when you proceed this in future. Many folks will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  30. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It seems like some of the written text in your content
    are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This could be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before. Many thanks

  31. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects
    , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more.

  32. Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post.
    Thanks for providing these details.

  33. Only wanna input that you have a very decent web site , I the design and style it really stands out.

  34. yey!

    i had a very tasty coffee at the “Flet Whyte” cafe in London last year!

  35. Juan

    I don’t think it really matters who invented it, or whether or not it is like another country’s version of a coffee either.

    If an Australian in Australia was first, then so be it, it is still a nice coffee and for the record, there are some great Australian baristas in London who make fantastic flat whites/stumpies (which seems to be a smaller flat white).

    So far as it being like a latte with varying quantityof stretched milk. Sure, I could ask the barista to do that, but why wouldn’t I just say “make me a flat white” if they know what it means. So on that basis I don’t accept that we should acknowledge Italian lead on the matter. Unless there is a specific Italian term of art that refers to a popular kind of latte with exactly the level of “stretched milk” that a flat white would have.

  36. marco

    its so funny how something that has existed forever in Italy, namely espresso mixed with stretched milk, has been given a different name for marketing purposes so that it can be called an ‘invention’…? Come on! It’s simply (an italian, not american) caffe latte and you simply ask the barista to use more or less milk depending on how strong or milky you want it. Brothers and sisters, you cant reinvent the wheel. But if you so wish you can give the wheel a different name, say hula hula for example, and claim it’s your invention. Respect for all you coffe lovers out there though, keep it up!!

    • Danny

      I always thought coffee was an Arabic beverage long before it reached Italy.
      A bit like pasta being originally noodles from China. Change it a bit and call it your own … national pride!

  37. karim

    please tell whats the cost and breakup of(milk/sugar/coffebeans)in grams or ml of coffee to make 50 cups of flat white.thus i can know my cost of sales

  38. David

    So yes NZers like their coffee – but in my experience they’re not as homophobic as this article. Get over yourself

  39. Michael

    “Most countries in the world like coffee. But only New Zealand actually wants to marry it” …. I think there are many other countries who could take that title over NZ really, including Australia – espresso coffee was becoming popular long before the 80′s in Australia thanks largely to the massive Italian and Greek population that NZ doesn’t have. I also know the flat white to be a Melbourne invention? I find it funny when NZ tries to claim a unique food/culture identity by half the time riding on the back of what Australia pioneers, invents and produces!

  40. Jon

    Kiwis claiming flat whites now!! You guys are too funny. What a funny little country. But wherever it’s from, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could get a great cup of coffee in Christchurch… Oz and NZ are alone in the English-speaking world in that one regard. O yeah and we both think we invented everything (but ozzy did really).

  41. Blair

    I tried to explain the concept of a flat white to a girl in a cafe in Colorado and she just could not get to grips with the concept. I asked her to make me a cappuccino, but instead of froth, just put in more steamed milk. First she was confused, then annoyed, and finally I got a cup with one third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third air. After getting her to fill up the void, I still ended up with a cup some something nasty-tasting. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried at all, but I was just so sick of drinking crap.

    • Selwyn Nogood

      Trying to teach the school-leavers they put in charge of espresso machines overseas is painful. you’re better off just ordering beer.

    • John-Paul McCarthy

      Precisely the same situation occurred to us while in Vancouver several months back. Weak coffee. Watery, overheated milk. I can handle bad microfoam… but burnt is unacceptable.

      I’ve also come to the conclusion that North American coffee companies do not like to add Robusta beans to their blends. The marketing that Arabica is the only bean of quality is deeply entrenched into the minds of consumer’s. Another reason as to why the NA blends tend to be have less, punch and a poor crema.

  42. i love this! (: esp “Most countries in the world like coffee. But only New Zealand actually wants to marry it”

  43. I’m pleased to inform you that you can now buy a flat white from Alf’s in Dartmouth, Devon, UK.

    Not just a preserve of London…

    Great post… did you see the This New Zealand Life flat white cost of living index?

    • Selwyn Nogood

      I just read it. It’s an interesting measure of relative costs of living.

      Of course, it’s largely academic, because, as you point out, a flat white in the UK is generally regarded as a bowl of microwaved milk, in front of which some school-leaver waitress has waved a couple of coffee beans.

  44. Coolman

    I think Flat White is certainly from Australia. Because Aussies are more white. Oppss.. not really flat though.

  45. JimmyVinyl

    I remember ordering flat whites in Sydney in 1979 – 1980. At that time there were only one or two cafes in Auckland (that I knew of) where they had an espresso machine. One was Henry IV ustairs somewhere off Queen St (perhaps near Durham Lane) and the Ca D’Oro – late night hangout of drag queens and ne’er do wells. Their machine looked like the back end of a 1963 Cadillac and made more noise – but the coffee would have had a much more frothy name than ‘flat white’, I’m sure.

  46. TrueKIwiJoker

    Personally while I like the odd quality Coffee from time to time I still prefer tea….

  47. Jeremy

    Don’t be a fool Skippy, you didn’t invent flat whites or pavlova for that matter either. But you can keep Russell Crowe, being such an obnoxious booze cock Canberra would have mailed him a complimentary Australian passport whether he moved there or not.

  48. Skippy

    It alas was Australia, Melbourne if I recall correctly that spawned the flat white NOT DKD.

  49. Jaquie Brown

    This is funny, and true. Funny because it’s true.

    It’s one thing I’m happy NZ’ers are in love with. But it’s ruined me. I can’t go overseas now without getting misty eyed and clingy at the airport. licking the paper take away cup and inhaling it’s flat white fumes before I have to dump it in the bin to clear immigration. I love you coffee, you make me human. You make me nice to people, more energetic and you thin my bones. Thank you.

    • Selwyn Nogood

      Airport coffee. So tasty, and yet tinged with so much sadness.

      Good point thought. Why, exactly, don’t they let you take it out of the country? Worried about scalding the pilots in a terrorist attack, perhaps? Or simply losing the secret recipe to overseas competitors? It’s not like it’s an endangered species.

      I think I feel a topic brewing. Fanatical Customs & Excise

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Cockermouth spins the world some frothy yarns | Around the World
  2. Cockermouth spins the world some frothy yarns | funkyfoods
  3. Cockermouth spins the world some frothy yarns | Womens Health
  4. Cockermouth spins the world some frothy yarns | Travel -
  5. The flat white « In Zed
  6. Flat White = Flat White = Flat White? | WILCO ADMIRAAL
  7. Two out of three ain’t bad « A Common Mr Conception

Leave a Comment