How to Order Coffee like a Kiwi


I’ve always believed that you can measure the strength of a civilization by the strength of its coffee and its wifi signals. Now, New Zealand may be in the dark ages when it comes to wifi, but it redeems itself by having delicious espresso on every street corner. The catch? You have to learn to order coffee like a Kiwi.

The first time I walked into a cafe in New Zealand, I was stymied. What one earth was a long black? Or a short one for that matter? The barista was tapping the cash register in impatience, so I ordered the only familiar thing on the menu–a latte. It cost me $NZ 4.50. Clearly, I was going to have to figure out the cheaper coffee options. The next time, I branched out and ordered a flat white, because the white part implied it would have milk in it. Finally, I did some sleuthing (read: I asked a Kiwi) and figured out what these terms mean. Here is your vocabulary lesson for the day, how to order coffee like a Kiwi…

Short Black — two shots of espresso, straight up.

Long Black — two shots of espresso, with hot water. I think this is the same as an Americano?!?!?! Maybe some coffee expert will step up and straighten me out here.

Flat white — two shots of espresso with steamed milk. More or less the equivalent of a cafe con leche or a cafe au lait. Do we even have this option in America? Because we obviously should. In case you can’t tell, this is my recommendation.

Trim — skim, i.e. a skim milk latte is a “trim latte.”

Okay, good, now you’re ready to travel to New Zealand!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

Syd Schulz

Pro mountain biker.

Average human.

I write about bikes and life and trying to get better at both.

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13 thoughts on “How to Order Coffee like a Kiwi

  1. Actually the flat white is our cafe latte (espresso and steamed milk) cafe au lait is just coffee (not espresso) and milk, then cappuccino is espresso and mostly foamed milk (depending on how dry you ask for) Can you tell I work half a block from Dutch Bros coffee? In truth I might not make it in New Zealand without my mocha fix (chocolate preferable dark ,espresso and steamed milk)

    • Ah, good to know. Still confusing that they have lattes and flat whites. Lattes must be more milk. And I think they DO have mochas here, it’s just not something I’ve ever ordered.

  2. I can’t believe how different it is country to country, the only place I know how to get the type of coffee I want is in Spain, there you’ve got espresso, espresso doble, café, café con leche & leche leche (so its one shot, two shots, one shot with water, coffee & milk & lastly one shot with milk AND condensed milk- its not a drink its frickin’ syrup, man). In the UK everything is so BIG, what’s with that? I want my caffeine!

  3. It’s kind of similar to the UK, though we have many pointless options available as well here. I loved the coffee in NZ, there were so many quirky cafes with good beans. I’m very envious!

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