Americans will be able to order a "flat white" at Starbucks starting Tuesday, reports Eater, which describes the move as a bid for the chain to regain credibility among the coffee-drinking elite. Which then raises the question: What's a flat white? It's made with espresso and it's strong, but as Bon Appetit explains, there's all kinds of confusion after that: "Baristas and coffee aficionados endlessly debate whether a flat white is basically a latte or more of a cappuccino, whether the only difference between it and a latte is that’s served in a cup and not a glass, and whether it involves one shot of espresso or two."
Eater's take, via a Starbucks spokesperson: It "will be made from two ristretto espresso shots—which are smaller and more concentrated—topped off with whole milk steamed to a 'micro foam.'" Quartz rounds up various explanations, including this one from an aficionado: “It’s like a cappuccino, except that instead of a top layer of flavorless, airy, milky foam, it’s a velvety, dense foam that is mixed evenly through the drink." Flat whites have been popular overseas for years, with both Australia and New Zealand claiming credit for inventing the drink. And note that the Aussies are laughing at us: "The news has sparked an amusing debate in the US as Americans scramble to get their heads around the alien concept of a coffee that doesn’t come in a yard glass," observes Australia's News Network. (Whatever it is, fans might be able to get it delivered.)