Disclaimer: I do not own a $1,000 espresso machine, and I’m not a trained barrista. I suck at using a steaming wand. (Think exploded milk everywhere.) These techniques work for me and produce a decent microfoam, which is the key to a flat white. Coffee snobs avert your eyes.
I’ve been posting about the glories of the Flat White in the last few months. Someone [Hi, Jakki!] asked on Instagram how I made this delightful beverage at home. So I’m sharing my recipe.
Being a multitasker, I thought I’d combine the Flat White recipe with the current Holidays with Jane Fall into Austen promotion. It’s Mansfield Perk approved.
See. There’s a seal and everything. (If you don’t understand this joke, go download Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet for free on Kindle.)
Anyway, Starbucks describes a Flat White as:
Bold ristretto shots of espresso get the perfect amount of steamed whole milk to create a not too strong, not too creamy, just right flavor.
Let’s break that down: a ristretto shot is a short shot of espresso. Stop pulling before the espresso turns that light umber color at the end. This produces a sweeter shot.
Whole milk is specified. Whole milk seems to be the key to producing microfoam. In my experience, milk with less fat produces more of a meringue-style foam above the steamed milk. There are two distinct layers: foam and steamed milk. In a flat white, the goal is to achieve one layer of rich, thick milk. You want tiny, little air bubbles evenly dispersed throughout the milk. The finished product should be a single layer of shiny milk.
But whole milk? Ugh. I hear you. I’ve tried to save calories and use skim, but you just can’t get a decent microfoam with anything but whole milk. I find the the PET brand whole milk produces the most consistent result. Maybe that’s just me.
- Espresso machine or espresso creating device of your choice
- Milk frother (You can use the wand, but I prefer this frother. I also use it for the French Drinking Cholcoate recipe I’ve raved about.)
- 1 cup whole milk
- double shot espresso
- sweetener of your choice, optional (I use 1 tsp of Sugar in the Raw.)
- Warm your mug. Seriously. Fill your mug with hot tap water and set it aside. It’ll keep your beverage warm longer.
- Start your milk frother. I use the low heat setting with the frothing disc on my Capresso frother. It heats the milk but doesn’t overwork it.
- Pull your espresso shot. Be sure to dump the hot water out of your mug first!
- Add sweetener. I like to add it to the espresso. It seems to distribute evenly, and I’m not agitating the foam by stirring the drink too much after the milk is added.
- As soon as your frother stops, add the milk to your espresso. Don’t wait! Time is of the essence. If you allow your milk to sit idly by, the micro-foam bubbles will rise to the surface, and you’ll end up with steamed milk/foam and not micro foam.