Sunday, April 3, 2011

C is for Coffee

What's the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white? Most coffee drinkers will be familiar with the cappuccino, but maybe less so with the antipodean flat white - a coffee created with care and served with panache.

A flat white is thought to be of New Zealand and/or Australian origin... who really knows? The two countries are still arguing over their claims to the Pavlova and they'll continue to do the same over the flat white.

So, what is the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white? The difference lies in the amount of micro-foam milk that is placed on top of the espresso coffee and in the way the drink is finished.

In a cappuccino, the milk is steamed and volumized then poured from the bottom of the jug onto the espresso coffee, holding back the foam, until about one third of the cup is full. The remaining foam is then layered on top and sprinkled with powdered chocolate or ground cinnamon. If you don't want sprinkles you order it 'naked'.

For a flat white, the steamed milk is allowed to 'rest' for about 1 minute before adding to the espresso... therefore, prepare your milk first.... and then the fluffy micro-foam at the top of the jug is 'folded' (as in baking) into the milk below. This will result in a rich, velvety textured liquid that is poured onto the espresso (without drowning it). The coffee is finished off with a shallow layer of microfoam and NO sprinkles. Skilled baristas indulge in a little 'latte-art' to finish.

In New Zealand you can order your coffee quarter strength, single shot or double shot and your milk trim or full fat, and all cafes display information on the blend of coffee they use. Whew... by the time you've considered all that a plain old cup of tea looks very tempting... but oh, no... don't get me going on that. Black, green, herbal... ?

1 comment:

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