Ask Hot Dish: Where can I get a Flat White?

A flat white: It's not just a little latte.

A flat white: It's not just a little latte.

We at the Hot Dish love helping eaters find the perfect dining or drinking experience. In a new ongoing series, we'll be answering your most pressing food- and drink-related questions. If you've got a query, email us and you might see your question and our answer here.

I just moved back to the Twin Cities after living in the UK for several years. Over there, they have a coffee drink known as a flat white, which I understand originated in New Zealand. I've made do with traditional Italian cappuccinos from the likes of Dogwood and Kopplin's for now, but I'd love to be able to order a flat white somewhere in Minnesota. 

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In poking around to find an answer for this week's Ask Hot Dish question, we learned three things. First, a flat white is not just a small latte. As our recently transplanted reader pointed out, the coffee drink did originate in New Zealand and is distinctive for its ultra-creamy foam and high ratio of espresso to milk. Some people describe it as halfway between a latte and a cappuccino, but instead of the stiff foam or milk being blended into the espresso as is characteristic of those other drinks, the flat white requires the barista to pour a thin layer of shiny mircofoam (a.k.a super-charged foam made of tiny bubbles) over a double shot of espresso.

Second, we got proof that flat whites are definitely back in the zietgiest, as fans of Girls will note that a customer ordered one at Ray's coffee shop in a recent episode.

And finally, we figured out that very few places around the Twin Cities make a true flat white, although a few places we contacted, including Parka in Longfellow, said they would modify a five- to six-ounce cappuccino to be closer to the ratio and foam quality of a flat white. It's also worth noting that Angry Catfish Bike Shop + Coffee Bar makes a mean cortado, which they describe as being somewhere between a macchiato and a cappuccino. But the one place we found that has a straight-up flat white on its menu is Royal Grounds in East Harriet. Perhaps it's the Stony Creek Dairy Farm cream and milk they use that makes the difference? 

Do you have a secret spot you go to for flat whites? Share it with the group in the comments below.


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