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Last Updated: 7th July 2021

How to Make a Flat White (3 Best Ways)

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    You need to understand the nuances of how to make a flat white to get it perfect. Many mistake flat whites for simply being small lattes. This article proves those people wrong!

    A flat white is often made with two shots of coffee.

    But even if only one shot is used, the flat white doesn’t lose its kick thanks to the evenly weighted ratio of coffee to milk.

    With its smoothness, caffeine strength, and size, the flat white is the perfect go-to for a quick energy boost.

     

    In Short

    • All you need for a flat white is: an espresso shot (and the equipment to make an espresso, of course), milk, and a small cup (150-200 m capacity)
    • Flat whites can be prepared at home or with professional equipment.
    • You can prepare a flat white using an espresso machine, a moka pot, or an AeroPress.
    • The type of coffee you use will depend on the method of preparation you choose.

     

    What You’ll Need to Make Your Flat White

    Ingredients

     

    Equipment

    • A way to brew your espresso. This could be an espresso machine, Moka Pot, or Aeropress
    • Small cup (150-200 ml capacity)
    • Milk jug
    • Mason jar/small flask for Moka and AeroPress
    • Thermometer (recommended, but not essential)
    • Saucepan (for Moka and Aeropress)

     

    How to Make a Flat White

    When brewing a flat white, you’re always going to get the best results with freshly ground coffee instead of coffee that’s been left open for over ten days.

    You can use a thermometer for your milk since milk has a small window in which it tastes just right. Go past 65°C (149°F), and the milk will taste a little burnt and sour.

    Flat white on a white table

     

    Tip – Whenever you’re making an espresso shot, it’s best to do the milk first because an espresso shot that’s being left to sit will turn sour. So make sure your milk is ready before the shot has finished pouring into the cup.

     

    Using an Espresso Machine

    Before starting, switch on your steamer to blast away any residue and press your espresso button to allow the water to run through and clean the entrance of any leftover coffee.

    How to make a flat white? Brewing espressos using an espresso machine.

     

    Coffee machines can get dirty quite quickly, and you can end up with a bitter taste in your new espresso shot from leftover coffee if they’re not cleaned regularly.

    Not sure how to use your espresso machine? Here’s how to make the perfect espresso in four easy steps.

    Step 1: Pour the milk into the jug and pour the ground coffee into the basket of your portafilter. If you’re using a coffee pod machine, insert the coffee pod inside the designated area.

    Step 2: Start steaming the milk. Make sure to keep the wand just below the milk’s surface and towards the edge of the jug. The resulting vortex will eventually produce a velvet microfoam milk with a silky sheen.

    Continue steaming the milk. Move the jug up, down, and around the wand to break up larger bubbles.

    The bubbles should get progressively smaller. Turn the steamer off once the temperature reaches around 65°C (149° F) on your thermometer or when the jug becomes uncomfortable to the touch.

    Step 3: Press the espresso button and pour your shot into the cup.

    Step 4: As the shot pours, tap your milk jug on the side to cause trapped air bubbles to rise. Continue to gently swirl the jug.

    Step 5: Use a spoon to hold back the runnier milk and begin to slowly pour. Focus on getting the thicker, velvety milk into your cup instead.

    If you want, it’s easy to create a tulip-shaped design in the foam. Bring the milk jug closer to the cup as you pour. Then shake it slightly before lifting the jug higher again. Repeat two or three times.

     

    Using a Moka Pot

    As a significantly cheaper and simpler alternative to espresso machines, Moka pots are a great addition to any coffee connoisseur’s arsenal. And did you know that Moka pots were actually inspired by 20th century washing machines?

    The coffee made from using a Moka pot is often just as strong and rich as an espresso machine shot, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on taste.

    And there’s something rather charming about using the old-school method of a pot on a stove.

    If you’re not sure which pot is for you, check out our buyer’s guide to stove-top espresso makers.

    Small Moka pot next to a coffee cup and saucer on table.

    Step 1: Fill the Moka pot’s water tank.

    Step 2: Pour the coffee grounds into the filter basket. Ensure the grounds are level with the top of the filter basket.

    Step 3: Add 100 ml of milk to a saucepan. Place it on the hob on medium heat for no more than a few minutes. Turn it off when it’s steaming or when it reaches 65°C (149° F).

    Step 4: Return the upper chamber to its place on top of the water tank. Put the Moka pot on the hob at medium heat. Once the coffee starts to fill the top compartment, take it off the stove.

    Step 5: Froth your milk. You can create the velvety consistency of frothy milk using any of the following methods:

    • whisking the milk vigorously in a saucepan for 20-30 seconds
    • shaking the hot milk for a minute in a sealed mason jar or flask for 20-40 seconds (make sure to cover it in a tea towel as well)
    • using a high quality milk frother

    Step 6: Pour your shot into the cup. Then transfer your milk to a jug for easy pouring. Use a spoon to guide the thick, velvety froth as you pour into the cup.

    If you want, it’s easy to create a tulip-shaped design in the foam.

    Bring the milk jug closer to the cup as you pour. Then shake it slightly before lifting the jug higher again. Repeat two or three times.

     

    Using an AeroPress

    Another incredibly easy way to make a flat white is by using the AeroPress. AeroPress have grown in popularity over the years thanks to their durability, affordability and the quality taste they produce.

    Disassembled AeroPress parts on table.

    Step 1: Place the filter into your AeroPress.

    Step 2: Add about 14 g of ground coffee into the top compartment.

    Step 3: Add 100 ml of milk to a pan and heat it on the hob, frequently stirring as you go. If you have a thermometer, your milk should not go over 65°C (149° F). Alternatively, do regular taste tests to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

    Step 4: While your milk is heating up, add around 70 g of boiling water on top of the coffee, being careful not to overfill the top compartment.

    Step 5: Stir for about 30 seconds. Reattach the press and slowly push down. You’ve just brewed your espresso shot!

    Step 6: Take your milk off the heat. Transfer it into a small flask or mason jar.

    Make sure it is only 50% full or less and that the lid is tightly sealed. If it is too hot, place a tea towel around it.

    Step 7: Shake the milk vigorously for 20-40 seconds. When finished, tap on the sides of the container to release larger trapped air bubbles.

    Step 8: Pour your espresso shot into your cup. Use a spoon to hold back the thinner milk as you pour it into the cup as well.

    If you want, it’s easy to create a tulip-shaped design in the foam.

    Bring the milk jug closer to the cup as you pour. Then shake it slightly before lifting the jug higher again. Repeat two or three times.

     

    Enjoy! Whether it’s a kick-start to your day or to beat the mid-afternoon slump, you now know how to make a flat white.

    It’s like an espresso, but more delicious (because you added milk)!

    To top off your perfect coffee experience, visit our list of 14 ideas for leftover coffee grounds! Or check out our list of the different types of coffees to find the next drink for you to master.