It’s official – the Flat White coffee is an Australian invention. Well, at least according to Wikipedia. This came as no surprise because a request for a Flat White coffee during a recent visit to the UK was generally met with a blank look. And even those who claimed to know how to make it, failed miserably – with a couple of notable exceptions.
Café Delifonseca down on the Liverpool docks made a good cup but the real experts in the delivery of the perfect Flat White coffee were discovered at Bold Street Coffee in the Liverpool CBD. I didn’t bother to ask for a Flat White in the US. The home of Starbucks just doesn’t seem to “get” good coffee even though they drink plenty of it.
So what is a Flat White? In England I described it as a cappuccino without the froth to keep things simple but it’s more than that. A Flat White usually has a double shot of espresso topped with milk and is finished with a smooth, velvety micro foam or “crema” on top and not a pile of milky froth.
Back to Australia. I can’t remember a time without the Flat White but imagine that it has a fairly short history as we weren’t very good at making coffee until relatively recently – especially in Queensland. That situation definitely changed for the better in 2002 when Brisbane born (of good Italian stock) Phillip Di Bella started Di Bella Coffee just as café culture was really taking off. The company now supplies over 10% of the coffee drunk in Australia or over 2 million cups per week.
Di Bella has a “Crop to Cup” philosophy and sources the best beans from around the world. They roast them in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and have recently expanded into China and India. The roasting technicians are highly trained and skilled and all Di Bella trained baristas are passionate about their coffee.
I enjoy my Flat White at Cafe 3eightnine in Scarborough (Queensland) and anywhere else that I see the Di Bella logo knowing that I’ll get a decent cup every time.