What is an Iced Flat White?

Flat White Coffee

What is an iced flat white? If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ve likely encountered numerous espresso-based beverages. Amidst the rich array of options, the iced flat white emerges as a refreshing and sophisticated choice, blending the intensity of espresso with the creamy texture of steamed milk. 

In this article, we delve into the delightful realm of the iced flat white, exploring its origins, preparation, and the unique experience it offers. Let’s dig in.

Iced cappuccino

What is an Iced Flat White?

The iced flat white is a delightful and refreshing variation of the classic flat white, a popular espresso-based drink known for its strong and bold flavor complemented by velvety microfoam. 

It brings a chilled twist to this beverage, making it an ideal choice for those who crave a cool and refreshing coffee experience, especially during warmer seasons.

What is in a Starbucks Flat White?

The Starbucks flat white is a classic espresso-based beverage known for its strong and bold flavor profile combined with the velvety texture of steamed milk. 

Here’s a breakdown of the key components that make up a Starbucks iced flat white:

Espresso Shots

Its foundation contains two shots of Starbucks’ signature espresso. The espresso provides the robust and intense coffee flavor characteristic of this beverage.

Whole Milk

The milk used in a Starbucks flat white is whole milk. It undergoes a steaming process to create microfoam, a smooth texture that enhances the overall mouthfeel of the drink.


Microfoam is a crucial element in this beverage. It is well-created through steaming milk, which gets frothed to produce a dense and creamy foam. The microfoam is then carefully poured over the espresso shots.

Latte Art (Optional)

To add a touch of artistry to the presentation, skilled baristas often finish a Starbucks flat white with a beautiful design made with microfoam. This latte art enhances the visual appeal and showcases the precision in crafting the beverage.

Iced Flat White vs. Latte: Differences and Similarities

When it comes to chilled espresso-based beverages, the iced flat white and the iced latte are two popular choices, each offering a unique take on the classic versions. Let’s explore the differences and similarities between these two beverages to help you make an informed choice based on your preferences.

Iced Flat White

Bold Flavor

The emphasis in an iced flat white is on espresso’s bold and robust flavor. The microfoam adds a creamy texture without overshadowing the coffee’s intensity.

Velvety Texture

The steamed whole milk contributes to a velvety texture that complements the strong espresso. The microfoam ensures a smooth and luxurious consistency.

Visual Appeal

The iced flat white often boasts a layered and visually appealing presentation, with the contrasting colors of coffee, milk, and ice.

Iced Latte

Balanced Flavor

The iced latte offers a more balanced flavor between the espresso and milk. The cold milk provides a refreshing quality without overpowering the coffee.

Lighter Texture

Cold milk in an iced latte produces a lighter and less creamy texture than the velvety microfoam in an iced flat white.


The iced latte’s balanced composition makes it versatile and appealing to those who enjoy a milder coffee experience.

How to Make an Iced Flat White at Home

Craving a refreshing iced flat white but prefer the comfort of your kitchen? Fear not! With a few easy steps and some quality ingredients, you can craft a barista-worthy iced flat white in the cozy confines of your home. Let’s dive into the recipe

Homemade Iced Flat White Recipe

Time: 10 minutes

Serving size: 8 ounces (236.59 milliliters)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Equipment Needed

  1. Espresso machine (alternatively, French press or coffee maker)
  2. Steam wand (optional)
  3. Ice tray


  • Ground espresso coffee
  • 8 ounces (236.59 milliliters) Whole milk
  • Ice cubes
  • Sweeteners (sugar or flavored syrup)


  1. Pull espresso shots: Pull one or two espresso shots using your espresso machine. If you don’t have an espresso machine, make strong coffee using your preferred method. Alternatives include a French press or drip coffee machine.
  2. Steam whole milk: If your espresso machine has a steam wand, steam the whole milk to create a microfoam. If not, heat the milk on the stove until it’s warm but not boiling. Whisk vigorously or use a handheld frother to create foam.
  3. Prepare ice cubes: Fill an ice tray with water and freeze cubes. Using larger ice cubes can prevent quick melting and dilution of your drink.
  4. Brewing the coffee: If you don’t have an espresso machine, use your chosen method to brew a strong cup of coffee. Ensure it’s concentrated to maintain the boldness of flavor.
  5. Combine espresso and milk: In a glass, pour the freshly pulled espresso or strong coffee over the ice cubes. Leave some space at the top.
  6. Add steamed milk: Pour whole milk over the coffee and ice. The microfoam should create a velvety layer on top.
  7. Optional sweeteners (if desired): Add any sweeteners like sugar or flavored syrups according to your taste preference. Stir gently to incorporate.
  8. Serve immediately: The key to a perfect iced flat white is serving it immediately. Enjoy the fusion of bold coffee, creamy milk, and the refreshing chill of ice.

Customization Tips

  • Flavor variations: Experiment with flavored syrups like vanilla or caramel for a unique twist.
  • Milk alternatives: If you prefer, you can use non-dairy options like almond or oat milk.
  • Adjust coffee strength: Tailor the strength of your coffee or espresso shots to suit your preference.
A glass of iced latte

Which Coffee Should I Use for an Iced Flat White?

Crafting the perfect Iced flat white involves choosing the right coffee to complement this beverage’s bold flavors and velvety texture. Here are some recommendations for the type of coffee you should use when making an iced flat white:

Espresso Beans

Start with high-quality espresso beans. Espresso forms the foundation of this drink, providing a concentrated and robust coffee flavor. Choose beans known for their rich and nuanced taste.

Single-Origin or Blend

Consider using a well-balanced espresso blend or a single-origin espresso. A balanced blend ensures the coffee’s flavors harmonize with the milk, creating a delightful and cohesive taste experience. Single-origin coffees can add layers of complexity to the beverage.

Dark Roast

Opt for a dark roast if you appreciate intense and bold coffee profiles. Dark roasts bring out the deep, smoky, and chocolaty notes that can stand up well to the addition of milk in an iced flat white.

Freshly Ground Coffee

For the freshest flavor, grind your coffee beans just before brewing. This ensures the coffee retains its aromatic oils and robust taste, adding a more flavorful iced flat white.

Cold Brew Concentrate (Optional)

For a unique twist, you can use cold brew concentrate as the coffee base. Cold brew offers a smoother and less acidic flavor profile, and when combined with milk, it can create a refreshing drink with a different character.

Experiment With Coffee Varieties

Feel free to experiment with different coffee varieties, such as Ethiopian, Colombian, or Brazilian beans, to discover how their unique flavor profiles interact with the milk in this drink. Consider 

Your Preferences

Ultimately, the best coffee for your iced flat white depends on your preferences. Avoid a bold espresso blend if you prefer a more intense coffee flavor. If you enjoy a balanced and nuanced taste, explore different single-origin options.

Brewing Tips

  • Double shots: Use a double shot of espresso as the base for your iced flat white. The concentrated nature of double shots ensures a strong coffee presence that complements the milk.
  • Adjust grind size: Experiment with the grind size of your coffee to find the right balance. A finer grind can intensify the flavors, while a coarser grind may produce a milder taste.
  • Brewing temperature: Brew your espresso at the recommended temperature for your coffee machine. Consistent temperature control is essential for extracting the flavors properly.

Remember that the key to a great iced flat white lies in the choice of coffee and the careful preparation of the espresso and steamed milk. Enjoy exploring different coffee varieties to find the perfect match for your Iced flat white preferences.

What Does an Iced Flat White Taste Like?

The iced flat white offers a distinctive and delightful taste experience that combines the boldness of espresso with the creamy and velvety texture of steamed milk, all served over ice.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from the flavor profile of this beverage:

1. Bold and Robust Espresso

Espresso’s rich and robust flavor is at the forefront of the iced flat white. The espresso shots, often one or more, provide a concentrated and intense coffee taste that sets the stage for the entire beverage.

2. Creamy and Velvety Texture

Using whole milk, steamed to create microfoam, contributes to its luxurious and velvety texture. The microfoam adds a creamy element without overshadowing the espresso, creating a harmonious balance.

3. Refreshing Chilled Sensation

Adding ice chills the beverage and imparts a refreshing quality to each sip. The contrast between the ice and the bold warmth of the espresso creates a dynamic and stimulating experience.

4. Balanced Coffee-to-Milk Ratio

This drink maintains a balanced coffee-to-milk ratio, allowing the espresso flavor to shine while benefiting from the smoothness of steamed whole milk. This equilibrium results in a satisfying and well-rounded taste.

5. Slightly Sweet Undertones (Optional)

Depending on personal preference, you can add sweeteners like sugar or flavored syrups to enhance the sweetness of your beverage. However, the milk’s natural sweetness and the espresso’s depth often create an independent, nuanced sweetness.

6. Aesthetic Appeal

Beyond the taste, the iced flat white often boasts visual appeal. The layers of dark espresso, creamy microfoam, and glistening ice create an aesthetically pleasing presentation that enhances the overall enjoyment.

7. Versatility in Flavor Exploration

It is versatile, allowing for flavor exploration. You can experiment with different espresso beans or try variations like flavored syrups to tailor the taste to your liking.

Why are Flat White Coffees Small?

The size of a flat white coffee is intentionally small, and this characteristic is integral to its identity and appeal. Several factors contribute to why it typically gets served in smaller sizes:

Concentration of Flavor

A flat white is a concentrated coffee beverage with a strong and bold flavor. By keeping the size small, the ratio of coffee to milk remains higher, allowing the distinctive taste of the espresso to shine through. The goal is to deliver a robust and intense coffee experience.

Proportion of Milk

While it contains steamed milk, the amount is carefully measured to create a harmonious balance with the espresso. The small size ensures that the milk complements the coffee without overwhelming it. The result is a velvety texture that enhances the overall drinking experience.

Emphasis on Quality Over Quantity

This beverage is often crafted with a focus on quality rather than quantity. The limited size allows baristas to pay meticulous attention to the preparation, ensuring that each element, from the espresso shots to the steamed milk, is executed precisely.

Origins of the Flat White

It originated in Australia and New Zealand, where the coffee culture emphasizes the purity of coffee flavors. The small size aligns with this philosophy, offering a straightforward and lucid coffee experience.

Preference for Stronger Coffee

Those who enjoy this drink often appreciate the boldness of espresso. The smaller size caters to individuals who prefer a potent coffee flavor without the dilution that can occur in larger drinks.

Latte vs. Flat White Distinction

The size of a flat white helps distinguish it from other espresso-based drinks like lattes. While lattes are typically larger and have a higher proportion of steamed milk, the smaller size of a flat white sets it apart and emphasizes its unique balance of coffee and milk.

European and Australian Influence

The coffee cultures in Europe and Australia, where the flat white gained popularity, often favor smaller, more concentrated coffee servings. This influence contributes to the tradition of serving this drink in a compact size.

Flat White-Related Coffee Beverages

Several related coffee beverages share similarities with the flat white regarding ingredients, preparation, or overall profile. Let’s explore some of these delightful variations:



Espresso shots, steamed milk, and a small amount of frothed milk.


Like a flat white, a latte consists of espresso and milk, but it typically has a higher proportion of steamed milk and a thin layer of foam. Lattes are well known for their smooth and creamy texture.



Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.


Cappuccino shares the use of microfoam with the flat white, but it has a more equal distribution of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. This results in a drier and foamier texture compared to a flat white.



Espresso with a small amount of milk.


A Macchiato is a simple yet bold coffee beverage where a shot of espresso is “stained” or “marked” with a small amount of frothy milk. This allows the full intensity of the espresso to shine through.

Piccolo Latte


Ristretto shots and steamed milk.


Like a flat white, a piccolo latte uses ristretto shots (shorter and more concentrated than regular espresso) and a small amount of steamed milk. It delivers a strong coffee flavor with a velvety texture.

Gibraltar or Cortado


Equal parts espresso and steamed milk.


The Gibraltar and Cortado balance espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a beverage with a bold coffee flavor and a creamy consistency.



Espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream (optional).


While not similar in simplicity, the mocha shares the espresso and milk base with the flat white. However, it includes chocolate, offering a sweet and indulgent flavor profile.

Vienna Coffee


Black coffee with whipped cream.


Vienna coffee, while not an espresso-based drink like the flat white, is included here due to its combination of black coffee and whipped cream. It provides a rich and decadent coffee experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can You Get an Iced Flat White?

You can enjoy the delightful experience of sipping on an iced flat white at various coffee shops and cafes that include this refreshing beverage. Major coffee chains like Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Dunkin’, and Peet’s Coffee often have them.

With the increase in online food delivery services, you can also explore ordering through platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Grubhub, depending on the coffee shops available in your area.

Ice coffee

What is Venti Flat White?

The term “venti” is a size designation used by Starbucks, a popular coffeehouse chain, to indicate a larger-sized drink. In Starbucks terminology, “venti” is Italian for twenty, representing 20 fluid ounces (591 milliliters) for cold beverages and 24 fluid ounces (709 milliliters) for hot drinks. 

Therefore, a venti flat white at Starbucks would refer to a flat white prepared in a larger size.

When you order this beverage at Starbucks, you request a larger flat white according to Starbucks’ sizing standards. The drink would have more espresso shots, steamed milk, and microfoam than smaller sizes.

It’s important to note that Starbucks has its recipe and variation of the flat white, and the ratios of espresso to milk may differ from those at other coffee establishments. Additionally, you can customize your drink at Starbucks by specifying the type of milk used (such as whole milk, almond milk, or oat milk) and whether you prefer any additional flavorings.

This variant might be perfect if you enjoy a larger coffee beverage with a strong espresso kick and velvety milk texture.

A Final Word

In the world of coffee, the iced flat white stands out as a testament to the marriage of precision and creativity. Its evolution from the classic flat white to a chilled, sophisticated counterpart reflects the adaptability and innovation inherent in coffee culture. 

So, the next time you seek a coffee experience that transcends the ordinary, consider this beverage—an embodiment of cool sophistication in every sip.