I used to work around the corner from Flat Black, and at least once a day, I’d walk over to get some fresh air and clear my head. Sometimes, when I’d walk in, I’d catch the staff in an idle moment, and I’d see them clustered around a laptop, watching Internet videos of baristas making art out of milk foam. Nerding out on artistic coffee is what the staff at Flat Black does to relax.
A “flat black” is actually a malapropriated term for an Australian espresso (the correct term is “short black” but let’s not be pedants) and that should be most of what you need to know, because simply: Australian coffee is amazing. I mean, yes, the Italians invented espresso, and Seattle has its reputation, but blame an influx of Italian immigrants combined with unbridled Australian enthusiasm — in modern times you cannot beat Australia for its sheer concentration of coffee nerdery.
Flat Black is no exception. Like many Third Wave cafes, they run their own roasting operation in Dorchester, so the beans are extremely fresh, and their baristas take pride in doing the most with each brew and each foamed pour. Other places will take pride in importing beans from well known roasters, or from having interesting coffees, and you can go to Flat Black and have an excellent cup of coffee, but they really shine in making a latte for you and carving designs into your milk. It’s a little thing for polishing your day.