Coffee is seen at the Viennese coffee house (Wiener Kaffeehaus) Central in Vienna November 10, 2011.
Coffee is seen at the Viennese coffee house (Wiener Kaffeehaus) Central in Vienna November 10, 2011. Reuters

A battle of supremacy is brewing between New Zealand and Australia over who made the first flat white coffee. A Wellingtonian has claimed that he invented the exact flat white and Starbucks only took over that later. With Starbucks crediting Australia with the flat white's invention, the trans-Tasman debate has intensified.

According to ex barista Fraser McInnes, the original flat white was first made in the then Bar Bodega in 1989, reported 3 News. "I was trying to make this cappuccino and it just did not work, so I said it is flat and white and said to the woman, well sorry, but it's a flat white," claimed McInnes.

In his view, other baristas just made it perfect and asserted Wellington flat white is the original and it all started with him. Making it more brand-specific, McInnes still wants to call it a "purely Wellington thing" as it is a double shot with silky milk on top, making it the real flat white. Starbucks is bringing the brew to the U.S. and Canada, giving credit to Australia for creating it, McInnes noted.

Australian Claim

Sydney man Ian Bersten has no doubt about the Aussie credit. He is 100 percent certain that flat whites were in existence when he started out in the coffee industry. Bersten says he has a menu from his old café, Belaroma, in 1984 to support his contention. He says emphatically that flat white existed in Australia as early as the 1960s and no one can claim it, least of all a New Zealander. Not ready to condemn anybody, Bersten only want to stress the point that "It's been around for a long time."

Kiwi Patent

McInnes is not the only one to claim Kiwi antecedents in flat white coffee. "I've heard a rumour that Australians came up with it circa '84, but I think they might have been on holiday in Auckland at the time and seen it on our menu," says Darrell Ahlers, owner of DKD Expresso. He claims it all started when he renamed the latte as "flat white" at his Auckland café in 1984.

It seems the history of the flat white will continue to be debated and suspense, if not murky. But McInnes is earnest and wants Starbucks to give him and New Zealand the credit it deserved. Meanwhile, with Starbucks all set to bring the most popular "flat white" to the United States, the espresso steamed milk drink is all set to go places, reports ABC News.

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