Brunch Review: The Flat White

Starbuck's Flat White

Ordinarily, one consumes food for brunch. However, on this day, Sara and Cazey decided to try Starbuck's new addition to their menu, the Flat White. Because sometimes you have so much caffeine, you just forget about the food - or is that just me?

Now if you're like our one friend, you may be asking, "What is a flat white?"

Cazey: Are you even American? Do you go to Starbucks?

Sara rationally explains: The flat white is the Australian drink of choice, which Starbucks now brought to America. It's an espresso with a ton of frothy milk.

TLDR: Microfoam is what separated this espresso drink from the pack. And it's from Australia, you cultured soul (so maybe it's named after the Great White?).

Four friends accompanied us on our Starbucks outing. We resembled the Friends ensemble minus we were in Richmond, VA, not NYC. "Can we have a round of flat whites?"

Here is where we should disclose that Cazey arrived with preexisting bias. While the flat white review was his idea, he also already decided he wanted the review's title to be "Flat White Falls Flat." Sara told him he couldn't do that, as the whole point of reviewing things is to come in with an open mind.

However, Sara did come in with a few concerns of her own. Primarily: It better be worth all these calories (she's currently in second in her Biggest Loser competition). Secondly, Sara drinks one cup of black coffee everyday. She only adds a drop of skim milk to iced coffee, and never, ever has whole milk in any of her beverages.

Cazey also already decided the flat white price was ridiculous. $3.75 for a tall? A gallon of milk costs less. Sara thinks everything is overpriced at Starbucks, so she sort of assumed it was going to be the same for the Flat White. All hail capitalism.

All week we asked our friends if they had tried the flat white:

"It's not life-changing." - Friend A

"It didn't change my life." - Friend B

"It tastes like a basic latte that's not that great. It tastes like any other drink here that's not sweet." - Friend C

"I love it because it has no sugar." - Friend D

"I'll have a chai latte." - Friend E

"It's quite delightful. It was very smooth and easy to drink, even though I usually like to add sugar and flavoring. But I liked it just how it was." - Friend F

"I haven't tried it because I can't drink milk." - Barista

"Can I have two pumps white mocha?" - Friend G

Sara ordered the straight flat white, tall (12 oz. for the Dunkin' Donuts readers). Cazey ordered a grande (16 oz.) and then immediately regretted the $4.95 price tag. We both went with whole milk because we were told that is the only way, which is 170 calories Sara will never get back.

Look at that foam. Not so micro.

Cazey was surprised by the volume while Sara thought it lacked body, but admired the texture. It was fun to feel the foam on your tongue. Unfortunately for Sara, her drink lacked the signature dot. Cazey had his, and the dot maintained form until he reached the dregs.

But Friend C was right: This was a latte that tasted like half-and-half. And had a wall of microfoam that was not worth $4.95 even if the Coffee Mermaid made it. Sponges cost three for $5 at Target. And can Starbucks provide a spoon for this mess leftover in the cup?

Of course, there's the fact that Cazey has the caffeine spins post-flat white. He'll give it that. Sara prefers her coffee black, and not with a $5 price tag, but the Flat White is drinkable.