Let's get something straight people. A flat white is not just a different name for a cappuccino. It's not a racial slur. It's not a warm glass of milk. And unfortunately, it's just not the same in the states as it is in Australia. (See Buzzfeed's post on the flat white.)
After having lived in Melbourne for the past five months, it's safe to say I learned what good coffee is, albeit the hard way. I got snubbed more than my fair share in coffee shops (all in good humor) before I learned how to order a proper coffee. It was both a blessing and a curse.
A curse, because I learned that my once beloved Starbucks was a running joke in Australia. Basically if you got coffee there, you were an embarrassment to society. Mainly they had them around so locals could point and laugh at the ignorant tourists from the posh seats of their ridiculously hip coffee spot.
A blessing, because for five whole months I was spoiled with Melbourne coffee culture. This meant deliciously brewed coffee on every corner of every street. And you knew you wouldn't be let down. It became a fun activity to try all the nearby cafes and decide which one was more hipster. My Coffee Chronicles included cafes like, Brother Baba Budan, Seven Seeds, The League of Honest Coffee, and my personal favorite, 2 Pocket.
So what exactly is a traditional flat white? Basically it's a delicious latte that packs a hell of good punch. More specifically, it has less foam/milk than a latte but more espresso. It's a double shot of coffee topped up with milk that has been steamed into a micro foam -- aka heavenly sin for avid coffee drinkers.
So if you've had the flat white and hate it, well just remember that it's Starbucks' version of a flat white. So take what you can get and be happy, because in America, they're the best we've got.
If you've had a flat white and love it, well you don't know what you're missing out on, but at least you're happy. Consider yourselves lucky. I'm forever doomed to live a life knowing what could have been. Now excuse me while I mope over my drip coffee.