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Flat White coffee just like in Australia & New Zealand

I just returned from 6 weeks in Australia where I have been many times and this time I got totally hooked on their Flat White coffee. Flat White refers to the method of preparing the milk that is added to the coffee. It is served in a small cup. A shot of espresso is poured into the cup and then steamed milk (with the froth being folded into the milk as it is being steamed) is added with a slight bit of foam on top, similar to a latte (or maybe a capuccino) but different.

The only place I have been able to find it is at the White Squirrel on Queen St. where I had one this weekend. It was simply the best of any cup of coffee I have ever had in Toronto, but the woman preparing it behind the counter appeared to want to be anywhere but in that coffee shop.

Does anyone know any other places in Toronto that one can get a Flat White? I don't know why it hasn't caught on here since it really is an abolutely delicious cup of coffee.

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  1. my guess is the peeps at Te Aro know about flat whites, the owners are from NZ

    1. And her lack of enthusiasm puts you off the best coffee you've ever had why? It obviously didn't negatively impact the product. Is it that you have a moral objection to torturing baristas by supporting their continued employment?

      5 Replies
      1. re: bytepusher

        I totally know what Flexitarian means. Whenever I've been in there to pick up coffee (which is fairly often) the service ranges from indifferent to surly. I don't expect to be served my coffee with a fanfare and a fake smile, but it wouldn't hurt for the staff in there to at least pretend they're not about to off themselves at the prospect of having to pull yet another shot.

        Not that it stops me from going there mind you... beats the stuff they serve at Clafouti any day.

        915 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

        1. re: dxs

          Had to pipe in. Only been once, and the gal serving was totally rude to me as well.
          I asked for a latte - nonfat if they had it, with a shot of vanilla syrup. She said in a rude way they didn't have syrup, and i asked (genuinly surprised) really?, I would have thought you would...
          To that she murmered, "yeah, ha ha, we like our coffee to taste like coffee around here"
          I was like what? I asked her repeat it to see if she would and she did.
          I just laughed at her.
          My buddy who works in the area says she's like that to everyone.
          wouldn't go back.

          1. re: dannyboy

            that sounds terrible. i hope she's not the owner....better yet, i hope someone tells the owner about her behavior. that type of attitude ruins the enjoyment from a cup'.

          2. re: bytepusher

            I agree that a constantly scowling barista would put me off. "Going for a coffee" is not just about a beverage; it's a break from the rest of your day. The process of obtaining the coffee should be a relaxing one. Starbucks exploited that desire to full effect. My favourite coffee shop pulls great coffee (but sorry, no flat whites) but it's also the friendly vibe that keeps me going back. I don't need my ass kissed or phony friendliness, but you can tell when people are happy with their jobs and when they are not, and the vibe they give off extends to everyone around them.

          3. Oh...flat whites...I drank these all the time! I was blown away by the coffee in Sydney and Melbourne - head and shoulders over most of the stuff here. I've certainly never heard anyone use the term here so I can't really help you. If I recall, though, it was like a latte only the proportions were better than a lot of the too-milky lattes they serve here. You might be able to direct someone to pour you a latte in a small cup, and perhaps there was a bit of capp foam on the top. Okay, not so helpful - but if Te Aro's owners are from NZ, they'll definitely know what you're talking about so sleepy's suggestion is a good one!

            1. They definitely have flat whites at Te Aro in Leslieville.

              1. Along with The Common Cafe at 1071 College St at Dufferin (which i just heard makes them), Te Aro and the White Squirrel make a grand total of three places in Toronto to get a flat white so far. I don't know why no restaurant (especially the high end ones) know of it. I always get a blank stare from them when I ask.

                What I loved about Down Under was that flat whites also always came in a smaller ceramic cup not in a paper one and had the right proportion of espresso to milk so that the dominant flavour was the coffee not the milk. When I ordered a latte or cappucinno in Starbucks (which I have now stopped doing) I always got too much of the milk taste and not enough of the coffee taste so i always ended up ordering an extra shot Iwhich brought the already usurious price even higher, especially for a coffee in a paper cup).

                3 Replies
                1. re: Flexitarian

                  I don't think it's just about "flat whites" in particular - I think the urban centres in Oz have just had a more developed coffee culture than we do. Even if you had the proportions right (and I agree, most lattes here are overly milky and are part of the "more is better" North American model) , you still need great espresso, properly poured, etc. In other words, even if someone pours the same drink, it won't necessarily taste as good as the ones you had down under.

                  If you were to order it at Starbucks (let's assume all the indie shops were closed that day), ask for a double shot in a "short" cup (which they stopped advertising but always carry) and the proportions will be more to your liking.

                  PS - ask for a "bloody caesar" just about anywhere outside of Canada and you'll get a similar blank stare - endless examples of food and drinks that are typical to only certain parts of the world - one of the great joys of travel.

                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    Next time at Starbucks, try ordering the latte "short". Much better ratio of espresso to milk, and it costs less too!

                    1. re: mgs

                      Better yet, order a shot of espresso - and then ask for steamed milk - which they provide for free.

                  2. White Squirrel, on Queen St across from Trinity Bellwoods.

                    Bellwood Restaurant
                    756 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E9, CA

                    1. My friends came back from Australia talking about this and have since become regulars at Bulldog - I think maybe it's "the Bull Dog" coffee that they order?


                      1. I ended up trying Te Aro Friday mid-morning. They did a great flat white and it's a nice looking space.

                        But there was initially only one person at the counter taking orders and making the coffee so there was a long line-up. Then someone else showed up behind the counter and the line sped up a bit, but of course there was still only one person making the coffee.

                        It was also kind of a turn-off though that there were all sorts of dirty dishes on the counter and no staff did anything to remove them while the barista placed the freshly made cup of coffee right for you to pick up right beside those dishes. Seems like keeping the counter free of dirty dishes, especially the serving conter, is Restaurant Service 101 no? And the barista was over-filling every cup with milk so every person who picked their coffee up ended up spilling it onto the saucer. I know I may sound to some like just a complainer but what differentiates establishments is the little things that are so easy to correct. And they can make all the difference in the world to your experience.

                        Anyway, I was happy to find another place for flat white so thanks for the referral.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Flexitarian

                          I was just going to post about this. I went yesterday at the end of the day. Seemed all right and no overpours while I was there. Though there weren't many people.

                          I really like their corrugated cups though!

                          http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                          Te Aro
                          983 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1K2, CA

                        2. T.A.N. Coffee on Queen W just east of Ossington is a fair-trade place that does flat whites. I have no idea whether theirs are anything like the ones served in Australia and NZ, but I tried the ones at Te Aro and White Squirrel and not only did T.A.N.'s taste better to me (like a stronger latte but smooth rather than foamy or frothy), the woman behind the counter is consistently friendly and their baked goods are great.

                          Te Aro
                          983 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1K2, CA