Starbucks is getting a new menu item. No, it’s not another crazy seasonal Frappuccino (though you can bet there’ll be another one of those around the corner). This time, the world’s most massive coffee chain is taking a cue from a beverage created in the Southern Hemisphere, adding a drink that’s seen increasing popularity in the States in recent years and is known as a Flat White.
Most seem to agree that the Flat White was invented in Australia in the 1980s—though some Australians also claim they’ve been drinking it since the ‘70s—and the people of New Zealand say the beverage came from their shores. The only thing more hotly debated than the Flat White’s origin story is what the beverage actually is. What separates it from other espresso drinks is the milk foam. Flat Whites use what’s called microfoam—steamed milk with tiny bubbles in it. When added to espresso, the end result could be described as either a stronger latte or a wetter cappuccino. Some coffee shops even openly admitted that their cappuccinos are so similar to what Aussies call a Flat White that the two are nearly interchangeable.
For Starbuck’s sake, their take on the beverage “will be made from two ristretto espresso shots—which are smaller and more concentrated—topped off with whole milk” and then steamed to a microfoam, according to a company spokesperson who spoke to Eater. The drink has been available in British Starbucks since 2010. It’ll be hitting all American stores Jan. 6, gaining a spot on the company’s core menu.
If you’re still a bit confused, just order one up next week. And then, like any good Starbucks customer, further confound the situation by asking for three extra pumps of syrup and a topping of whipped cream.