Or has it? I’m a bit of a coffee snob(as only an ex-Wellingtonian can be) and have already made sure I can get a flat white in various U.S. cities before visiting them over the last few years of living here. Perhaps not known colloquially as a ‘flat white’ until more recently, if you strike the right place (not necessarily run by New Zealanders or Australians), their competition cappuccino-style drink is pretty much the same as a flat white.
So there was a bit of a fuss about the flat white arriving at Starbucks in the States last week. Lots of people who know I hunt out the good coffee had been asking me if I was going to try it. Of course I scoffed NO, but then I’m not the kind of person to operate on assumption, so I did my coffee fans a favor and took one for the team by going to try it.
It was exactly as I expected. Doesn’t taste like coffee (it comes in different bucket sizes for crying out loud) is searing hot, is made with some kind of plastic-tasting milk. Those who’ve tried Starbucks and don’t like it will know just what I mean – their flat white is basically the same as every other ‘coffee’ drink on their menu (in an emergency once I went in there), although yes, they have attempted to make it less foamy. It certainly doesn’t look like their own picture of a flat white.
So what started out all smiles (not sure why I was smiling even… I think it was the deranged smile of someone who feels so totally inappropriately out of place worrying that in a city of millions that someone they know will spot them in a place you vowed you’ve never set foot in that it was just a gut reaction) ended with a burnt tongue and regret mixed with gleeful I-told-you-so! In my defense, I didn’t order the drink, nor pay for it, I was with American business associates who wanted to try it so I just took a tiny first sip!
Luckily I know lots of places in New York City where, for a while now, if you want a flat white, you just rock on up to the counter and ask for one and they don’t ask for clarification, they just make it (properly). And I have a list of those places, so tweet me for a recommendation next time you’re over this way!