I used to be a tea man. Tea was my go to hot drink, the drink that would keep me comfort in the winter, and the drink that would gradually escort me out of my post-binge hangover. I'm Chinese, we drink a lot of Chinese tea. As a student, it was all about the tea. We couldn't get enough, forfeits were based around making tea, going to the supermarket to buy tea bags and on the odd occasions, milk to go with our tea. And then one day, I discovered coffee.
I still love my tea, but coffee just takes it to the next level. These days, I struggle to function without my daily dose of caffeine and will travel further than my nearest supermarket to indulge in a good cup. Over the last six months, I have begin to appreciate the intricacies of the coffee bean and slowly ticking off some of the better cups across London. One afternoon, I managed to make it to the highly lauded New Zealand outfit in the heart of Soho, Flat White.
A flat white is another variation of your standard coffee drink. With a strong espresso base, it is topped up with a strong textured head of milk, often displayed with "coffee art", which highlights the required texture of the drink. So, I clearly had to order a flat white at Flat White.
There has been talk of a certain arrogance of the staff at this establishment, but I can honestly say I never saw any of that in my brief visit. Those behind the till and coffee machine were perfectly amenable whilst tending to their string of customers. The coffee certainly looked the part, beautifully textured head, excellent "leaf" pattern milk art...and then I took a sip.
Unfortunately I felt rather let down. The flat white at Flat White tasted flat. I vowed that I would never try a flat white in Starbucks but this was so milky and had so little discernible flavour of coffee that I might as well have been in Starbucks. Disappointing, although I hear that their sister outlet, Milk Bar round the corner is better. I know where I will be heading next time.
Flat White - 17 Berwick Street, Soho W1F 0PT