Starbucks to phase out cappuccino with flat white

Only a few years ago, if you ordered a cappuccino you were said to really know your coffee, and baristas would give an admiring nod as they ground the beans.

How times have changed. These days, the only people ordering this decidedly untrendy beverage tend to be grannies on a day out.

Replacing the berated cappuccino is a new, hipster coffee, the flat white. This drink hails not from the US, but from Australia and New Zealand.


What is a flat white?

The flat white is made using two ristretto espresso shots and warmed milk.

A ristretto shot is like an espresso, but made using the same amount of ground coffee, but about half the water. This makes for a slightly sweeter and denser taste to the overall drink.

Added to this is micro-foam milk, which is poured through the coffee to add a velvety texture and a flatter top, hence ‘flat white’.

It is thought that the flat white first made an appearance during the 1970s and 1980s in Australia and New Zealand. It has now become so popular that it is a common fixture on antipodean coffee house menus.

What is a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is made using one shot of espresso, hot milk and steamed milk foam.

It was popular in the 80’s, when the world first embraced Italian-style coffee. However, it is now regarded as unfashionable, and purchased by people who do not know their coffee.

Digital brand consultant Peter Thompson, is a blogger who reviews cafés on his Coffee Hunter blog.

He told the Times: “The cappuccino is a relic of when the whole world aspired to drink coffee Italian-style.

“It has come to represent the mass consumerisation of bland and poorly made chain coffee.

“The flat white represents a new wave of independent, hipster-style craft coffee from unexpected places like Australia and New Zealand.”

Starbucks takes cappuccino off the menu

Due to the rise in popularity in the flat white, Starbucks has now taken cappuccino off their menus in the US.

But whilst Australian and Kiwi visitors may feel assured that their favourite coffee drink is available, some experts at Starbucks are worried that potential customers might not know what a flat white is.

With this in mind, there have been several news articles explaining what a flat white is, and where it sits in the grand coffee scheme of things.

Despite the disappearance from the menu, Starbucks reassure customers that if they want a cappuccino they can still order one.

Thompson added that the reason for Starbucks to make changes to their established coffee menu was to “to help Starbucks recapture the positioning of a coffee-focused cafe.

“The flat white is part of a larger global push to focus back on coffee.”

The future of cappuccino in the UK

What happens in the US may not necessarily be repeated in the UK however, as according to global research firm Mintel, Costa Coffee is the largest coffee chain the UK.

This UK founded coffee house is now the second largest coffee chain behind Starbucks in the world. And they have had the popular flat white on their menus for a while now. But because the British are still fans of the cappuccino, Costa Coffee say they have no plans to take this off their menus in the near future.

This is probably due to a report prepared by Allegra Strategies that showed in the UK the cappuccino was still almost three times as popular as the flat white.

As for Starbucks, a spokesperson said the chain “definitely” had no plans to stop offering cappuccinos in its UK stores.

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