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I am the big shot

Starbucks add millions of extra shots of espresso to customers' drinks every week, so they’ve invented the Flat White. Perhaps we’re all just mugs, thinks Lynda Moyo

Written by . Published on February 16th 2010.

I am the big shot

A MEW coffee has hit the café society to cater for those who like to keep it strong and simple. It’s called Flat White and is reportedly in response to ‘the growing sophistication of the country’s coffee drinkers.’

Starbucks declare it to be rich and velvety smooth with two shots of espresso. It also, apparently, won’t leave you with that acidic espresso mouth. They also claim it’s not lacklustre like a latte, or overloaded with foam (hence the name) like a cappuccino. It’s top quality, strong coffee and milk. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Flat White makes the most of the Arabica coffee bean crop used by Starbucks. The price is £2.25 and it all fits in their smallest cup. The idea originated from New Zealand and Australia.

Alan Hartney, a Starbucks Coffee Ambassador (don't you just love those US of A job tags?) said: “We’ve noticed that coffee drinkers are becoming very specific about their coffee and there are a growing number of customers looking for a stronger more intense coffee flavour. One in five of our customers ask for an extra shot, syrup or different type of milk to personalise their coffee.”

Any mention of a mass franchise such as Starbucks, of course, always sparks debate about global monopoly and ethical practices, more so than the supposed devil's brew itself. As a frequent target of protests on issues such as fair-trade policies, labour relations, environmental impact and political views, to name but a few, Starbucks probably spend as much time wiping up negative press as they do spilt coffee.

However, look around and you will see on the streets of Liverpool, or anywhere in the country for that matter, endless branches of Starbucks gleefully playing a life size game of drafts with Café Nero. Starbucks still has the most kings. They must be doing something right. If it's a love-hate drinking experience, Starbucks, it seems, are keen to please, and either we love them back, or we're too lazy to find another coffee choice.

The critic's view: Jonathan Schofield likes it...but only somewhat
“I've tried a couple of cups. The first Flat White still had that overstewed acrid aftertaste which is the bane of the Starbucks blend and brand. The second was much better, much smoother, with the nasty aftertaste almost gone. It seems that the trick with the Flat White is to get the right member of staff making it – luck in other words. Still it will be my Starbucks brew of choice in future, when I need coffee in a hurry and there's nowhere else to go.”

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Lex IconFebruary 16th 2010.

"Drafts" - surely 'draughts'!

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