Over the last few months Starbucks has been making new additions to their company rosters in an effort to improve the business. They have added premium roasters that give coffee lovers a high-end experience, they have begun preparation to offer delivery services and have even started offering reserve coffees that are premium beverages for coffee connoisseurs.
In their latest efforts to expand offerings, Starbucks is adding a new flavor to their menus. The company’s latest addition to their permanent menu is known as a flat white espresso. The flat white was originally only available in the United Kingdom and Australia but now people in the United States can also enjoy this beverage as of January 6, 2015.
The latest beverage on American Starbucks menus is simply a combination of milk and espresso, there are no syrups, no bits of cookies or even whipped cream added to this drink. Instead the flat white espresso is a layer of steamed milk over two ristretto espresso shots. Ristretto shots are actually a more concentrated shot of espresso. The more concentrated flavor is sweeter and has a more intense flavor profile. In order to create this shot the barista actually pulls only the first portion of what would be a full espresso extraction. Once the steamed milk is layered over the ristretto, in a free pour that acts to combine the two ingredients throughout the drink, the barista swirls the latte to give it the look of what is known as latte art in a simple dot pattern.
The vice president of espresso and brewed coffee for Starbucks, Christine Barone, discussed the addition of the new flavor to American menus and believes the flat white could be considered the perfect beverage for true coffee lovers. Barone believes this is the perfect beverage because of the continual growth of sophistication in coffee drinkers in not only the United States but also the entire world.
At this point the beverage is getting mixed reviews from people on social media who tried the beverage on its debut day. While some customers have found the drink to be a positive change from the other sugary confections that are offered on the menu because of its lack of frills and extra additions, still others are not as happy. The negative reviews call into question the simplicity of the drink. One reviewer said the drink was basically the same thing they could make at home, coffee with milk. Another reviewer said while the drink may have tasted better than it looked to them they did not plan to purchase the beverage again. Still another reviewer said the drink had no flavor and said that it tasted bland.
Starbucks is not the only place to offer this new flavor addition. There are a number of other coffee shops that also offer the flat white in and around the Los Angeles area. Since the origination of the drink in Australia in the 1980’s, it has slowly infiltrated the Starbucks menus around the world. Now the flat white can be purchased in the United States and Canada in select stores.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by James Maskell – Flickr License