business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Just what the hell is a Flat White?

Starbucks would have us believe that it is the next great coffee innovation.

According to KIRO TV News in Seattle, "The drink, which originated in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s, is made of espresso and steamed milk. While that might sound a lot like a latte or a cappuccino, here are a few key differences.

"First, a flat white is usually smaller than a latte with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio. And unlike a cappuccino, which is topped with dry foam, a flat white has a head of microfoam.

"And while there's no precise definition for the drink — different cafes make it in different sizes and proportions — it's that velvety microfoam that seems to be the core characteristic."

But the Flat White actually is "the latest move in Starbucks' plan to get itself more coffee cred," the station says.

I don't know about that, but I'm intrigued. I'm certainly going to try one next time I go to Starbucks.

What I'm most intrigued by is the continuous innovation, and the investment in a marketing effort and consumer education that will drive success. Over the past few days, I've seen hundreds of stories about the Flat White ... and every Starbucks has a big sign. There's nothing half-hearted about it.

We'll see if the Flat White is still around in 12 months. I suspect it will be, but if not, there will be something else.

It's an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: