Flat Whites & Short Blacks

The first quite shocking realization about living in New Zealand:

No drip coffee.

We’d heard that New Zealand had some of the best coffee in the world, which I won’t argue with. But by “coffee,” they actually mean espresso.

Yes, back in the States, there was always a time and place for a perfectly frothed cappuccino. But as coffee enthusiasts (you all know our Philz obsession), our transition away from a daily mug (okay, thermos) of home brew has been tough.

Espresso drinks are a way of life here. Seemingly every New Zealander has their “local” where they spend roughly $4.00 on a handcrafted espresso drink each morning.

From what we’ve read, the unique coffee culture here stems from the fact that New Zealand takes extreme pride in the quality of their ingredients. The concept is: locally grown beans and fresh dairy that taste like they should, in simple combinations that people understand. (Sorry Starbucks.) Even a gas station in the middle of nowhere only brews fresh espresso per drink, rather than stoop to serving stale brown water from a vat. Now that’s something we can get down with.

So, what would you order?

Perhaps the two most popular drinks:

  • If you like milk: The Flat White*** (1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, topped with froth)
  • If you don’t like milk: The Short Black (espresso, straight up.)

***The flat white seems to be the absolute standard. Although it was credited to Australia, there’s some argument that the Flat White was invented in New Zealand. It made its way to the UK and then the US, popularized by Starbucks. It’s similar to a cappuccino but milkier. But not as milky as a latte. (Get it straight!)

Of course there are many variations to these two. Brett’s solidly in camp Flat White. But as someone who doesn’t usually drink milk, my poor stomach can only handle one occasionally. I started ordering a Long Black (water added to a Short Black, resulting in something between a shot of espresso and an Americano) with milk. Which I later found out is similar to a secret menu item, the Long Macchiato (Long Black with foamed milk). Jury’s still out if this will remain my regular order.

If you’re curious, you can see all the variations and read more about the Kiwi coffee culture here.

Or you’ll just have to come visit and have cup with us at our Locals. 🙂

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