• Adam Anderson

Oh, You Don't Know What A Flat White Is?

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Breakfast is, by far, my favourite meal of the day. Not because of how spectacular pancakes, bacon and maple syrup taste though.

It’s because that’s when I drink my coffee.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘coconut milk flat white with pure Columbian blend and sugar free hazelnut syrup’ type of guy.

I’m the standard ‘black americano’ kind of chap.

(For those of you who don’t know, that’s just espresso poured into a cup of hot water. If you go into a coffee shop and order ‘just a normal coffee’, this is what you’ll get.)

I used to drink five, six cups a day. Especially at work as a barista.

But it was noted by my girlfriend that I’d become increasingly twitchy.

I’d have a brain crash at about four o’clock, then spend the rest of the day with a clouded mess of a mind.

Now I’m down to a single mug of the daily black nectar.

It sucks. But it’s for the best.

Anyway, onto the point of this article. Unlike me, not everyone has simple tastes.

Whenever you go into a coffee shop, there’s always weird and wonderful things on the menu that leave the average drinker feeling slightly lost.

So, even though I can’t enjoy it in the excess I used to, I’ll use my knowledge to clear up some things that people get confused about.

Here’s what some of those silly sounding things actually are.


Flat White:

Pretty standard, but still one that confuses people.

We’ve all seen that advert.

Oh, you don’t know what a flat white is?’

Well, no actually. Most baristas don’t describe it very well.

Basically, it’s a very concentrated shot of espresso, put into a small amount of velvety milk.

That’s it.

Super simple, right?


Flat Black:

Less common than the flat white, but still really simple.

You take the super concentrated espresso that’s used for flat whites, and put it in hot water.

It’s a fancy americano.

Nothing to stress over.



This one’s slightly more confusing, mainly because certain places do it differently.

Some brands make it (wrongly) almost like a latte. Then people go to other places and ask for a macchiato.

Then they’re surprised when given a tiny tiny little cup.

A macchiato, a proper one, is meant to be a shot of espresso with a mini dot of frothed milk.

That’s the important bit. Just a dot.

Maybe the size of a 50p coin, maybe slightly bigger.

Marchio’ means ‘Mark’ in Italian. And that’s what you want to do.

Give the coffee a little ‘mark’.


Con Panna:

The same as a macchiato, but instead of frothed milk, use whipped cream.



Sometimes called a ‘Frostino’ by certain brands, it’s a coffee milkshake.

Just coffee, ice, milk and (probably) sugar, thrown in a blender.

Sometimes it's strawberry or chocolate or whatever flavoured.

Whipped cream optional.


Those are all the ‘weirdest’ ones you’ll probably run into. Any others will most likely be the shop’s own creation.

So there you go.

Now you can look at a hipster café menu without breaking into a sweat.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be popping to the shop for some coffee beans.


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