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How to Make the Best Iced Flat White at Home

How to Make the Best Iced Flat White at Home

Hot summer days call for a refreshing cold coffee drink! And the velvety texture of an iced flat white is the perfect way to beat the summer heat.

With only 3 ingredients, it’s a simple recipe to recreate at home.

Now, let’s get started!

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What is an iced flat white?

An iced flat white combines whole milk, ristretto, and ice cubes.


The origins of the flat white are a bit murky. Both Australia and New Zealand claim fame for this popular beverage.

The drink was likely created in the 1980s; however, it’s difficult to know.

Famous coffee chains that make iced flat whites

The standard Starbucks iced flat white is a 16-ounce beverage with 3 shots of espresso ristretto and whole milk.

This drink could technically be made by any coffee shop with knowledgeable baristas.

And after reading this post, you will also be a master at creating this iced espresso drink!

What is ristretto?

“Ristretto” is Italian for “restricted.”

Regular espresso creates a shot that differs slightly from a signature espresso shot. Ristretto is generally thought of as a “short” shot. The flavor is more concentrated than a traditional shot of espresso.

This type of shot does not pull the same depth of flavor as a regular shot.

There are a few variations on how to create a ristretto.

  1. Some baristas grind espresso roast beans the same way they would for regular espresso shots. But instead of extracting for around 36 seconds, they pull for only approximately 26 seconds.
  2. Other baristas grind the espresso to a finer texture and lengthen the extraction time to 30 seconds.
  3. But according to this video, the best way is to grind the espresso beans slightly more coarse than you generally would for a standard shot. You should then aim to obtain 15 grams of espresso in around 15 seconds.

Using different types of espresso results in a somewhat different taste.

Creating ristretto using option 3 results in a more honey-like brew with a slightly sweeter flavor. It takes some experimentation to uncover a flavor that you like.

And if you prefer a slightly less robust espresso flavor, try blonde espresso, which is a lighter roast than the traditional dark roast.

What does an iced flat white taste like?

An iced flat white highlights the purity of espresso flavor with support from the perfect amount of milk.

The drink can be made either cold or hot. Creamy frothed milk adds a delightful texture to the hot version, while cold milk is used in the iced version.

How is an iced flat white coffee different than an iced latte?

The main differences between the two are the ingredient ratios and the espresso preparation.

Espresso to Milk Ratios

An iced latte has an espresso to milk ratio of between 1:3 and 1:5. But an iced flat white has a ratio closer to 1:2.

Espresso Preparation

The second difference is in espresso preparation.

An iced latte contains espresso extracted to a traditional standard of 18 grams of grounds espresso, resulting in around 60 ml of liquid.

Ristretto uses 18 grams of ground espresso but has half the total output of approximately 30 ml.

How is an iced flat white different than a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a 1:1:1 ratio with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

Similar to the difference between an iced flat white and an iced coffee, a cappuccino contains espresso rather than ristretto. But the espresso to milk ratio is slightly different.

What is the caffeine content of an iced flat white?

The grande Starbucks flat white contains around 130 mg of caffeine.

Keep in mind that their version includes 3 shots of ristretto.

If you vary the recipe at home, yours will therefore contain more or less depending upon how much ristretto you choose to add.

Iced Flat White Recipe

Iced Flat White

The iced flat white is a simple, refreshing drink you can make at home!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 person


  • Ristretto
  • Milk
  • Ice


  • Pull your desired number of ristretto shots per instructions above.
  • Mix with sweetener (if desired).
  • Pour ristretto over ice.
  • Top with desired cold milk to achieve a 1:2 (ristretto to milk) ratio.
  • Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to steam the milk for the iced version?

The milk should be heated to an approximate temperature of 135 to 145 degrees before pouring into the center of the ristretto but there’s no need to steam milk for the iced version.

The hot version does require a specific steaming technique that results in a velvety microform (tiny bubbles) in the center of the pitcher. At the same time, there should be a firm layer of foam at the top.

But for the iced version, you only need to make your ristretto and pour it over ice. Then top off with your preferred type of milk and enjoy!

Can you make an iced flat white with a milk alternative?

Yes! Milk alternatives have different properties when it comes to steaming than 2% does.

If you’re interested in trying the hot version, you may not get the same texture as other types of milk, such as soy milk or coconut milk.

It may, therefore, be difficult to completely replicate the foam and the overall texture.

Can you add extras to an iced flat white?

Absolutely! Some people love adding 1 tbsp sugar or a hint of flavored syrup to their creation.

Remember that refined sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold beverages, so you will want to mix it with the ristretto before pouring it over the ice.

And for an extra treat, try this 2-ingredient copycat recipe of Dutch Bros Soft Top!

What if you don’t have an espresso machine?

You can use a Moka pot to make a reasonably strong brew similar to an espresso. It will have a slightly different flavor, but if in a pinch, it will work.

If you have a pod machine, try an espresso blend. Again, it’s not the same exact flavor as a ristretto. Still, by sticking to the iced flat white ristretto to milk ratios, you will have a very close approximation.

Is there additional equipment you need to make an iced flat white?

When it comes to coffee, there’s always room for another gadget! Consider a few items listed below if you’re serious about making an outstanding iced flat white.

Burr Grinder

Espresso Machine

Espresso Scale with Timer

Espresso Tamper and Accessories

Ice Cube Tray

Final Thoughts

Making the perfect iced flat white takes a bit of practice.

Still, once you master the technique, you’ll quickly understand why it’s a favorite off the Starbucks menu! Experiment with different types of espresso, milk, and add-ins to create new drinks you love!

And if you found this recipe helpful, pin and share it with a friend.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the following posts:

Charming Pink Coffee Makers You Will Love

The Best Ways to Make Decaf Cold Brew at Home

Iced Americano vs Iced Coffee: Everything You Need to Know to Create Them at Home

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