Starbucks Flat White is a Flat Out Disappointment

Starbucks flat white

Starbucks flat white

I am an admitted Starbucks addict. Therefore when I heard that Starbucks has a new drink out called the “Flat White,” and subsequently learned this category of beverage is supposedly the darling of Australian coffee aficionados, I was excited.

I really wanted to like the flat white. Served in a tall sized cup, the flat white consists of two ristretto shots (kind of like espresso shots, but with less water involved) and foamed whole milk that has been carefully crafted to have a thick, velvety texture, thicker than in a cappuccino. That sounds delicious, right?

The first flat white I had last week had an amazingly thick, creamy texture as promised, which was the best part of the drink. But the taste? Ugh. The first note I detected was like sour milk–that is not the taste you want for your first sip!

I realized the milk had not actually gone sour, but the coffee beans used to produce the drink possessed bitter notes that in effect made the milk seem sour.

I wanted to give the flat white another chance, so I went to a different Starbucks today, hoping for a more impressive showing. Unfortunately, I think the barista botched it. There was no creamy texture whatsoever, and the flat white tasted incredibly watery.

I wonder if the flat white is simply too complicated for rushed Starbucks baristas to craft properly as they jump and dive behind the counter to keep up with their massive influx of orders and cranky, caffeine deprived patrons.

Sadly, I will not be giving the flat white a third chance. I think Starbucks was ambitious in trying to tackle an Australian staple, but ultimately the flat white will disappear, if you gauge society’s reception by the disappointed and lukewarm online reviews.

Where I got my flat white: two different local Starbucks shops

Where you can get your flat white: Find your closest Starbucks location using

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