The large FW.

Dare I even talk about the FW? It could get ugly pretty quick! Don’t worry, this is a fairly simple, light-hearted one. Naturally, I am an unashamed proponent of the small flat white. And the only-small. It’s all about less-is-more, quality over quantity, richness and preservation of (good) coffee-flavour, sincerity to the coffee, and the craft, etc, etc.

That, together with the fact that flat whites have generally been offered by those skilled independents who really care about great coffee (until more recently, at least…), is why they have risen to almost infamous (and often misinterpreted) fame within the UK artisan coffee scene, and beyond this sector, over the last several years. And that’s why I put them on our menu some years ago, some time before the chains decided they wanted a piece of the action.

This week, we have happily been discovered by many of the Aussie Olympians, who are currently in Cardiff, before heading on to the Paralympics, which has been great, a joy, as I know Australians generally sniff out a good coffee, and are really appreciative guests when they find it. Anyway, as part of this, there have been a few requests for large flat whites! I have encountered some bemused consternation occasionally in the past from Aussies (and others for that matter) about the lack of a large flat white around here. Usually I try to politely explain that we only make it in the small size (and diligently remain true to my craft, and concept of the flat white, as above). And that we can do a large latte instead..? I will usually, happily, explain the (previously mentioned) reasons for the small-only offering.

But when it comes to coffee, I don’t like to disappoint, and this week I have been a little outnumbered, and faced with this quizzical confusion about the issue more than usual. So, I have been making a few large ‘flat whites’, on request. I could insist dogmatically about the philosophy. But at the end of the day, within reason, I think it is about trying to give the customer what they want, whilst simultaneously retaining the integrity and quality of your craft/product. So I am serving this as a 10-12oz (in/out) drink (our large latte size) with an extra shot (3), and flat white milk (I normally texture just a touch thicker for lattes). This maintains, as best I can, the richness, and nature, of what I see as a flat white, in a bigger drink, for those that want it (it won’t be going on the menu though!). I might be totally bending over backwards for no good reason, and maybe a simple large latte would suffice. But I cannot bring myself to serve that, if someone is asking for a flat white! So, somewhere in the middle, we meet, and everyone’s happy!  And I really don’t mind, when customers are this enthusiastic, and appreciative, about the final product. It’s a pleasure.

Is this large FW more of an Aussie thing as opposed to  NZ? Or does it just vary region to region? Ouch, actually, I really don’t want to open that whole can of worms, there are so many different permutations as to what it is, where it’s from, what its components are, and everything about the drink, as it is!! And it varies a little here too – I know I might make ’em a little differently on our set-up to how some other places that I hugely respect in the UK make them (although the basic concept is about the same). All I know is, the coffee made (various types!) has been well received this week, it’s always a pleasure making coffee for coffee lovers, and, sometimes they’ve gone in completely the other direction and opted to try a piccolo anyway! All good fun.

Today was La Malacara single estate espresso from El Salvador. Tomorrow will be a real mixed bag (three coffees, one after the other!), ending with Naturelle espresso, which will then continue on through the weekend, and until our next Guest Roaster for espresso starts mid next week!

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