A little over a year ago, the “flat white” was the hottest drink in the coffee world. The South Pacific spin on a cappuccino had become so popular that Starbucks added it to its permanent menu. But when is a flat white, not a flat white? Or maybe a better question would be: When does a flat white become a flat white? Or maybe a better question would be: What is the sound of one hand slapping against your forehead?
All these questions came to the forefront earlier this week when writer Jamila Rizvi ordered a flat white at a coffee shop in Australia (the purported birthplace of the flat white), and it arrived “deconstructed.” What exactly is a “deconstructed flat white”? As a photo she posted to her Facebook page showed, it is three beakers – one with milky foam, one with hot water and one with espresso – served with a spoon on a wooden board.