Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flat White - A rather flat coffee

Flat White, Soho

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.

Flat White, Soho

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

11 comments:

An American in London said...

I haven't tried Flat White's cappuccino, but I love their iced coffee. It's so rare to find that simple summer treat in London, and Flat White's includes a decadent scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is not typical of iced coffee, but works for me.

tehbus said...

@AiL - I think they are called Affogato's and I do love them too. Not ideal for this weather, but may well give them another go in the Summer!

AW said...

Try Kaffeine

Lizzie said...

I am a big tea girl too (we once texted Any Question Answered to decide who should make the next pot) but I do like a coffee every now again - I liked Milk Bar's, and it was cheaper than Flat White when I was there; odd, considering it's owned by the same people.

Greedy Diva said...

NNNnnoooo! What happened?! I have to disagree with you (for once) on this one Mr Tehbus. Flat White makes one of the best flatties around - although I often find Milk Bar's more consistent. I've never had a really milky one at either place (which I would hate). They're usually so smooth and rich. You must have been unlucky.

I heart cupcakes said...

I really enjoyed the Flat White @FW but I'm one of those who's experienced bad service there. Took about 20 minutes for her to make my FW, not because it was busy but because the girl serving was doing her hair and faffing around with her jewellery, and forgot I'd ordered. I was on the verge of leaving when another staff member alerted her to waiting customers (there were about 3 of us by then) and she brought my coffee over. I went back with my husband and it was a similar situation - so have decided to seek my coffee elsewhere, and lets face it Soho-area is full of good coffee.
Btw I tried the Starbucks flat white - it was vile. It lives up to the picture believe me
http://www.twitpic.com/15wftq

An American in London said...

tehbus - I think of affogato as more a dessert than a beverage. In other words, affogato is mostly ice cream with a shot or two of espresso.

Dave said...

I've had a fw from fw and must agree that it wasn't stellar. Not bad by any means but for an amazing fw the only place to go is Monmouth in covent garden. Outstanding.

Gourmet Chick said...

Flat White is the standard term for a coffee in Australia and New Zealand (with milk, as opposed to without which would be asking for your coffee black)

Tim £31.75 said...

After a fortnight trying most of them, I think Milk Bar slightly has the edge over Flat White, just for the ambience. Nice pics

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered baked coffee beans (White Coffee) infused with Chai spices? It's made by a former Olympic figure skater from Montreal, Canada and it promises the caffeine of coffee with the taste of tea. Check it out: http://www.teabeancoffee.com

Related posts:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin