This flat white post is inspired by a chapter with the same title in the Lily Brett’s book, Only In New York. I read her book for my Southbank book club. Unfortunately, I have to stop going there because the timing just isn’t working for me. I have been looking for another book club. Please share if you know a book club here in Melbourne, or better yet, if you belong to one!
Now, let’s talk about flat white. But first, tell me when and how you decided whether you are a coffee or a tea person? If someone asks me that very question, I would say I am a tea person without thinking much of it. I grew up drinking black tea every single afternoon. I have drunk tea close to 10,000 times during my life, and that’s not even uncommon in Indonesia. It’s an Indonesian thing, it’s also our family thing, it’s especially Mama Geek’s thing.
Daily tea drinking has been deeply rooted into my life and I don’t see it is stopping anytime soon, but since I moved to Melbourne, I have been consuming copious amount of coffee (I had three cuppas today and I’m well aware it’s nothing to be proud of).
The realization that I have immersed myself in coffee culture came recently, when I ordered two flat whites: one strong, one weak and a piccolo at Suzie Q, Sydney, without blinking an eye. Not only did I not need to think what coffee I wanted that day, I was well versed in others’ preferences. It made me pause. When did I become this person who didn’t need time to think what coffee I wanted for the day (I go through my tea choices carefully every night), who “needs” coffee before they can function in the morning (do I need tea before I can relax at the end of the day too?), who has a favorite coffee joint?
And apparently flat white has been my choice. Well, at least it means I get to tick off two of my geeky Melbourne goals; to find my coffee and coffee shop. But retrospectively, flat white and I shared an old love affair.
I found out about the existence of flat white when I first visited Australia in winter, almost three years ago. That was because the small coffee shop in Kings Cross didn’t have hot latte. The owner suggested flat white instead. “It’s almost the same“, he said. I said okay, paid with coins and sipped my first flat white.
I liked the taste of it, but it was nothing special at that time because to be completely honest, I was more into cheap booze (2 bottles of wine for $10 was unheard of where I came from), also we were on holiday! But even then, I managed to order a flat white here and there, usually during the mornings to lessen the hangover effect.
The revelation of me liking flat white more than normal coffee came during the last days of our trip, at 1400m above sea level. While wearing rented clothing from head to toe, I queued for a flat white, in the snow. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!
I am definitely not reaching my 10,000th flat white anytime soon, if anything, I am just about to cross the 100th cup. And I don’t know whether I want to cross the 10,000th. Even thinking about it makes me feel jittery. Time to brew some tea.