Monday, March 9, 2015

It’s Flat, That’s That!

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about “flat whites” and didn’t have a clue what they were. At first I thought the term must refer to a casual white shoe to wear around the pool between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Or could it mean a house paint without a gloss? Then I thought perhaps it was an egg with no yolk cooked over easy. Now, thanks, to the inexhaustible font of information provided by the indispensable Wikipedia, I learn that a flat white is a beverage.

It is, in fact, a coffee beverage that was developed in Australia and New Zealand about 35 or 40 years ago. It is concocted by pouring what is known as “microfoam”—milk steamed with a wand to produce very fine bubbles—over a shot of espresso. Similar to a latte, it is smaller in volume and has a greater proportion of coffee to milk. It may provide a canvas for latte art.

Its name comes from the thin, flat layer of white microfoam, as opposed to thicker layers in lattes and cappuccinos.  If you have any more questions about flat whites, please apply at the nearest Starbucks.

With all that mlik, a flat white probably qualifies as a “cat-lap.” That is a British Victorian term for tea or coffee that was used disdainfully by those who preferred beer and stronger liquors as their beverage. Sometimes really hearty topers even used the term to refer to champagne.

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou likes his coffee just like the verses he writes: strong, dark, bitter, and unpalatable.

            I like coffee,
            It suits me
            More than toffee,
            Toast, or tea.

            Make it black,
            Make it bitter,
            It will smack
            A tic or jitter.

            Make it strong,
            Yes, oh yes, oh
            How I long
            For an espresso.

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