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What Exactly Is a Flat White? How to Order Coffee Around the World

What Exactly Is a Flat White? How to Order Coffee Around the World

Traveling can be exhausting. Whether you’re preparing for an early train ride to the next city or your third full day of touring the Louvre, sometimes even non-coffee drinkers need a pick-me up in the form of that caffeinated nectar of the gods.

Ordering coffee outside of the US can sometimes be a bit tricky for travelers – but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself enjoying some of the best java on earth. What’s more, sipping an expertly brewed cup of coffee can be a rewarding way to make connections with locals. So here’s a brief overview of how to order coffee at a few stops around the world.

Coffee made with a French press is rich and flavorful.

Coffee made with a French press is rich and flavorful.

How to Order Coffee in France

Coffee in France is pretty similar to coffee options in the States. The most common caffeinated drinks you’ll find are:


This is a rich shot of espresso with steamed milk and lots of frothy foam on top.


Also a shot of espresso with steamed milk, a latte only has a small amount of foam on top.

French Press Coffee

This is your standard black coffee, but instead of using a drip coffee method, cafes in France commonly use a French Press, which does not have a filter. Some people believe that this method makes the coffee more flavorful, and richer in antioxidants.

If you don’t consume dairy, most cafes in France will have soymilk available and are happy to use it for any drink. However, other dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut, and cashew milk are not as popular as they are in the US.

How to Order Coffee in Greece

Frappés are available in virtually every Greek café.

Frappés are available in virtually every Greek café.

The specialty caffeinated drink in Greece is a Greek coffee. Here, baristas grind the beans into a very fine powder and brew it in a narrow copper pot, creating a rich, thick liquid with a bit of coffee froth at the top. This drink is very strong! It’s meant to be sipped over a nice long coffee break or morning breakfast.

The Greeks also enjoy cold coffee. With nearly any drink you order, you will have the option of imbibing it as a cold beverage. One cold drink that is especially popular is the frappé. Much different than an American frappé, Greek frappés are cold whipped coffee. They are prepared in a special blender and come in a tall glass with a thin layer of coffee froth on the top. They are delicious!

Again, if you’re not a fan of dairy, most cafes in Greece offer coconut milk as a dairy alternative. This works beautifully in frappés (it even tastes better than regular milk), but not as well in hot drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. Even if you typically order your coffee with dairy, I suggest giving a coconut milk frappé a try — you might never go back!

How to Order Coffee in Australia

Australia does not have the regular drip coffee that we are used to in North America. If you try to simply order “a coffee,” the barista will look at you like you have three heads — trust me on this! But the good news is, if you know what to order, you’ll probably get the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.

A barista prepares a flat white with espresso.

A barista prepares a flat white with espresso.

Here are the basics:

Flat White

This is similar to a latte but with less foam. It is a staple drink in Australia.

Short Black

A short black is straight espresso. Hello, caffeine!

Long Black

This is akin to an Americano, and is simply espresso with hot water.

Mac (short for macchiato)

A mac is espresso and a little bit of cold milk.

You can also order the standard cappuccino, mocha, and latte.

Chai is made by brewing black tea with an aromatic assortment of Indian spices and herbs.

Chai is made by brewing black tea with an aromatic assortment of Indian spices and herbs.

How to Order Coffee in India

To order coffee in India, my best advice to you is: Good luck! Coffee in India is not all that common, although it is becoming more and more available in the tourist areas and big cities such as Bombay and New Delhi. When you order coffee in India, more often than not, you’ll get a stale tasting cup of drip coffee.

In lieu of coffee, Indians prefer a special black tea with milk and sugar called chai. The tea has caffeine in it, and is quite delicious. Literally translating as “mixed spice tea,” chai is made by brewing black tea with an aromatic assortment of Indian spices and herbs, such as cardamom, cloves, and ginger.

If you are in a big city or you stumble on one of the newer coffee shops that have popped up in recent years, then you may be able to get a nice cup of coffee. However, when in India, I suggest sampling the deliciously fragrant chai tea instead.

Traveling offers us the opportunity for new discoveries, from that awe-inspiring first glimpse of ancient ruins, to the more prosaic experience of sipping a different culture’s beverage of choice in a bustling café or tea house. When you’re ready for your next world adventure, it would be my pleasure to help you get started on the journey. Please call or email me today.

Jan Mauer
With professionalism and her consistent ability to curate exceptional travel experiences for her clients, Jan Mauer of Exciting Vacations has built her reputation as a Travel Agent who specializes in luxury. Jan has spent more than three decades as trusted advisor to those who require both opulence and exoticism during their world travels. Her expertise about international culture and 5-star getaways ensures that every travel adventure of which you partake is a bespoke experience fulfilling your unique requirements for both luxury and authenticity. Call Jan at (732) 613-8640 or email her here for one-on-one guidance from one of luxury travel's foremost experts.

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