Want to know how to make a flat white? Try expert barista Celeste Wong's step-by-step guide, then check out her guide to how to make a cappuccino and macchiato.

Celeste says, 'Many would argue that the flat white originates from Australia or New Zealand, but as a kiwi myself, I’m biased on that argument – I only know it coming from New Zealand! What makes a flat white is strong coffee (a double espresso) and heated, textured milk that's less foamy than it is in a cappuccino or latte. The top of the coffee is “flat” (hence the name), but still has a nice, smooth texture.'

Make your espresso for this coffee using Celeste’s pick of the best compostable and reusable coffee pods. We’ve also tried and tested the best coffee machines, including the best bean-to-cup machines, coffee pod machines and espresso machines.


  • 60ml espresso
  • 100-130ml milk


  • STEP 1

    Make the espresso in a 150-170ml heatproof cup using an espresso machine. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you could use compostable pods, a very strong stovetop coffee or concentrated instant coffee that has the consistency of wet sauce.

  • STEP 2

    Next, steam the milk. If you are using an espresso machine steam wand, hold the wand at least 1-2cm under the surface, making sure you don’t let any cold air in. It shouldn’t make any hissing noises or be spitting milk drops anywhere. Try to use steam jets to spin the milk around in a whirlpool-like motion. If you have a separate steamer attachment on a bean-to-cup machine, steam the milk separately in a silver jug for pouring. You can use an electric milk frother (heat the milk in the microwave or on the hob, making sure it doesn't boil). Or, pour the warm milk into a French press, then carefully plunge the filter up and down to push air through and create foam. If you find your milk too frothy, you can scrape off the overly foamy top with a spoon to reveal smoother milk.

  • STEP 3

    Pour the milk into the espresso, starting in the middle. As you tip the base of the jug up, start to wiggle it back and forth to make a pattern on top of the espresso. Or, to create a simple heart shape, keep pouring and pushing the milk, tilting the base of the jug up, then restrict the milk by pulling the spout up right at the last second. Your milk should be nicely textured, smooth and not too thick.


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 5 out of 5.2 ratings