Want a delicious way to enjoy the rich flavors of espresso? Try this Starbucks copycat flat white recipe. It's a simple medley of espresso and steamed milk that will please all coffee lovers. Whip this up in a few minutes, and you'll be sipping on something delicious!
If you love Starbucks coffee drinks, make sure to try our copycat recipes for Starbucks salted caramel mocha and Starbucks apple crisp macchiato. Don't miss our collection of 9 copycat Starbucks recipes, too!
The exact origins of the flat white are disputed, as both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to the drink. However, the most commonly accepted story is that the flat white originated in Sydney, Australia during the 1980s.
The first documented mention of this drink was in a 1983 newspaper review of a café called Miller's Treat. Alan Preston, the owner of another Sydney café, claimed to have gotten the flat white concept from cafés in his hometown of Queensland.
The drink's popularity spread to the UK in 2005, and the Starbucks locations there were serving flat whites in 2010. By 2013, the drink had spread to the United States, where it became a permanent menu addition in 2015.
Why This Recipe Works
- We're using Starbucks coffee beans. This drink uses Starbucks Espresso Roast (affiliate) coffee beans for a similar flavor profile to a drink you'd get from the coffee shop. Otherwise, use single origin dark or medium-dark roast beans.
- The beans are freshly ground. Ground coffee goes stale within 10 minutes of grinding, so don't use pre-ground coffee! Freshly grinding your beans with a conical burr grinder (affiliate) will ensure a great flavor every time.
- You can use either stovetop "espresso" (moka pot coffee) or traditional espresso. Not everyone has an espresso machine at home, but fortunately you can substitute by using a moka pot (affiliate) to brew your own stovetop espresso-like coffee for this recipe!
According to the official Starbucks flat white recipe, a flat white only contains two basic ingredients: espresso and milk. Let's talk a little about these key ingredients.
- Coffee Beans: If you want a flavor similar to the coffee shop's flat white, use Starbucks Espresso Roast beans. If you don't want to use Starbucks' often burnt coffee beans, you can use your favorite dark or medium-dark roast coffee. Choose single origin, locally roasted beans if possible.
- Water: You'll need water to brew the coffee. I'd recommend using the best filtered water you can find, as it will improve the flavor of the coffee.
- Brewing Method: If you have an espresso machine, pull two ristretto shots for each flat white you'll be making. If you don't have a fancy machine; this stovetop moka pot (affiliate) is what we've used with great results.
- Milk: Starbucks recommends using whole milk for the best texture. If you use a low fat milk or almond milk, realize that the texture and mouthfeel won't be as creamy.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Vegan/Dairy Free: Swap the whole milk for your favorite plant-based milk. We like this plant-based Califia Farms oatmilk barista blend (affiliate) for a tasty, dairy-free alternative, and it steams and froths really well.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the flat white.
- Start by grinding the coffee beans until they're a little coarser than table salt.
- Next, you'll need to make the espresso. We're using a moka pot since we don't have a espresso machine. To use the moka pot, fill the hopper with the grounds and lightly tamp them down. Fill the lower chamber with water, right below the valve.
3. Screw on the upper chamber and place the moka pot on medium-high heat until the coffee starts coming out, then lower the heat to low. Once the coffee has stopped coming out, remove the moka pot from the heat and gently stir the coffee.
4. Heat the milk to 140°F, then froth the milk by using a milk frother or by shaking it vigorously in a mason jar.
5. Now, pour 2 shots (¼ cup) of espresso into a glass mug.
6. Top it up with the steamed milk, and keep pouring until you have a dot of foam on top. Enjoy your flat white while it's hot!
A latte contains more steamed milk than a flat white, and has a 5 mm layer of foam on top. Otherwise, these two drinks are very similar. The flat white gets its name from being topped with a thin, flat layer of u0022microfoamedu0022 milk, which is just enough to create some latte art. Flat whites are also smaller in size (typically around 6 fl oz) rather than the 10-12 ounce size popular with lattes.
Flat white actually originated in either Australia or New Zealand in the 1980s and eventually spread to London and then to the United States, where it has become very popular.
Since this drink is made exclusively from espresso and milk, the exact tasting notes of a flat white depend heavily upon the taste of the espresso. Generally speaking, a flat white has a strong coffee flavor with a creamy, velvety texture from the steamed and foamed milk. When you're making flat whites at home, make sure to use recently roasted and freshly ground coffee beans for the very best-tasting espresso.
Two shots is the typical serving. Each shot is 1 fluid ounce, or 2 tablespoons, so two shots would be 4 tablespoons of espresso.
By default, they don't have sugar added, since this drink is a simple medley of steamed milk and espresso. However, you can easily make yours with some sugar if you prefer! Simply dissolve it in the espresso before adding the steamed milk.
If you love recreating your favorite coffee shop drinks at home, you'll need to try our copycat recipes for other Starbucks drinks! Try our fall favorite recipes for Starbucks pumpkin spice latte and Starbucks pumpkin cream cold brew. Try the coffee shop's Christmas favorite Starbucks peppermint mocha, too!
If you're a fan of some now-discontinued drinks, try these recipes for Starbucks eggnog latte, Starbucks gingerbread latte, and Starbucks smoked butterscotch latte.
Make Ahead: It's best to brew the coffee right before you want to drink it. Also, the flat white shouldn't be assembled until right before you drink it, as the milk will deflate a few minutes after being steamed and frothed.
Leftovers: If you have leftover coffee, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it to make coffee ice cubes. If you have a leftover flat white, you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, but the flavor will suffer and the milk will deflate, so I don't recommend this.
- Use recently roasted, freshly ground coffee beans for the best taste.
- Dark or medium-dark roast beans are the best choice for espresso, but medium roast can work as well. If you're avoiding Starbucks' often-burnt coffee beans, try a single origin, locally roasted dark or medium dark roast.
- Be sure to use whole milk for the creamiest textured foam and volume.
- When using a frother, move it in slow circles at the bottom of the milk until it begins to thicken, then gradually bring it closer to the surface. The milk is done when it has doubled in volume.
Other Starbucks Drinks To Try
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Flat White Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)
- ¼ cup espresso or moka pot coffee, 2 shots
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- Sugar, if desired
- Prepare two ristretto shots of espresso with an espresso machine, or brew a pot of moka pot coffee. Pour the coffee into a glass mug and stir in sugar if desired.
- Steam and froth the milk with a steam wand, or heat the milk to 140°F and froth it with a milk frother until it has doubled in volume. Move the frother in slow circles at the bottom of the jar, then as it starts to thicken, bring it halfway up the milk. (You can also shake it vigorously in a mason jar, but be careful as the jar will be hot.)
- Let the foamed milk stand for a few seconds to allow the steamed milk to settle, then quickly pour the steamed milk into the espresso with an up and down motion. Slow down as the foam starts pouring out, and stop when you have a dot of milk foam in the center, then make some latte art if desired.
- Enjoy the flat white immediately.
- Use recently roasted, freshly ground coffee beans for the best taste. Starbucks uses their Starbucks Espresso Roast, but for this recipe I used Café Verona.
- Dark or medium-dark roast beans are the best choice for espresso, but medium roast can work as well for a "blonde" espresso. If you're avoiding Starbucks' often-burnt coffee beans, try a single origin, locally roasted dark or medium dark roast.
- Don't have an espresso machine? The cheapest substitute is a moka pot. Get our tips for brewing moka pot coffee quickly and easily.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This is a creamy, delicious coffee drink that everyone would love!
That's very sweet of you to say, Alex! I'm glad you enjoyed the flat white.
This is a warm, creamy drink with foam on top. I love the espresso and frothed milk. This is a simple, classic drink that is very comforting.
It makes my day to hear that, Beth! Thank you!