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Here's What Aussies And Kiwis Think Of Starbucks' New Flat White

Spoiler: They're not fans.

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Starbucks may well be the undisputed champion of the American cafe scene, but it's not doing so well Down Under.

In Australia, a country fiercely proud of its coffee culture, the U.S. chain had to shut 60 unprofitable stores in 2008, and just last year the company sold the licenses for its remaining 24 stores to the Withers Group, which owns a chain of service stations.


Hugh Jackman, who owns several cafes in New York, once explained to Grubstreet that a flat white "was a latte with a little less milk and more espresso." But it's a little more complex than that.

A flat white consists of a double shot of espresso combined with micro-foam milk, resulting in a velvety texture that is quite different to the foam of a latte or cappuccino, as these in-store Starbucks signs endeavored to explain:

Debates rages between Australia and New Zealand over who actually invented the drink, but one thing is for sure: Aussies and Kiwis know a good flat white.

So BuzzFeed rounded up four Aussies and a Kiwi to sample Starbucks' attempt at this Antipodean beverage and give their verdicts.

The test was highly scientific in that it involved walking to the Starbucks across the road from the BuzzFeed offices in Manhattan to buy three flat whites.


"I've actually tried to assimilate in America in that I drink really shitty coffee all the time now," Annabelle said, "so when I went home to Australia I felt like I was a Queen when I would go ordering flat whites."

"I've heard that it's bad and burnt and generally too big and that it's all Starbucks," she said.


To ensure the taste test was a trans-Tasman affair, we included Tessa from New Plymouth on New Zealand's North Island. Tessa, who's lived in the U.S. for five years, isn't the biggest fan of Starbucks.

"The only good American coffee is from the American coffee joints that are owned by Kiwis and Australians," Tessa said. "Starbucks is only really good for Wifi."


Madison wasn't a fan of the color of her Starbucks flat white. "It’s a very light brown," she said. "I wouldn’t really say that it’s an appealing color. It’s more of a light tan."

"I guess this is the smallest one?" Madison asked when we handed her a "tall" Starbucks flat white. "Who needs a coffee that's this big? Actually, this is OK. Who needs a coffee that's twice this size? That's the part that confuses me. How much coffee do you need?"


"That’s an interesting flavor," she said. "Not really sure it’s my thing. It’s kind of got a nice burnt coffee taste and then a little bit of milkiness at the end. Definitely you’d want to be adding two or three sugars to this to make it sort of OK."

"It's probably around four times the size of a coffee I would normally drink," Khym said when he picked up the venti.


"Way too big to definitely be a flat white," she said. "When you’re buying a flat white you’re after something that’s not going to fill you up too much but still give you a coffee hit, and this is going to fill me up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."