2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies is Done With Lattes & Flat Whites

Prufrock Coffee for PresentGwilym Davies has sworn off lattes and flat whites. The 2009 World Barista Champion has also removed cappuccinos and cortados from the menu of his Prufrock Coffee trolley at London’sĀ Present. Gibraltar,Ā SG-120 and all the other groovy terms for an espresso with hot milk have been banished from his vocabulary. Henceforce all his milk-marbleised coffees will be identified by their cup sizes: 4 oz, 6 oz or 8 oz.

by 2009 world barista champion Gwilym Daviesno more flat whites, no more lattesleft: old menu. right: new menu

The trouble with his old menu, according to Gwilym, was that the coffee names mythologised what were, from his hands, fundamentally the same drink: a double espresso blended with varying quantities of milk he steamed and textured in the identical manner. Furthermore, the terms were confusing and meant different things to different people from different places. It was problematic to figure out what each customer’s understanding of a flat white or a cortado was and frustrating when what the barista champion served measured below ā€“ or above ā€“ each one’s expectations.

His new 4-6-8 system is simpler and clearer, except for metric minds who don’t really know what ounces are and don’t wish to do conversions before they’ve had their caffeine fix. For these aliens, Gwilym first takes out his three white paper cups and then performs his usual coffee magic show.

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Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish


  1. Its true to say that coffee names can be ……mythologised. Today the trend in London coffee is specifically for glassy dense textured milk on all drinks. Where the texture/temperature varys little between drink styles.

    In this case it would seem a good idea to to revert back to the relevent and real differences in the drinks, that being cup size.

    The question remains should that be the only difference between drinks? I think this is a smart move and will help customers like our lady today who asked for “A cafe Latte, with milk”. Its an interesting area how words become icons of meaning for people and not literal.

  2. Daniel Young says:

    Greg – You’re wise to underscore the relevant fact that Londoners like Gwilym are texturing and stretching their milk in an identical manner, regardless of the drink. But should the only difference between, say, a latte and a cappuccino, be one of size and proportion? Perhaps not. That, as you suggest, is another question that needs to be discussed and debated.

  3. Carl Melville says:

    I think that’s a rather weird idea – since when is a latte the same as a Cappuccino etc etc. Me think the Barista Champion got confused a lot šŸ˜‰

  4. I’m agreeing with Carl here – this is an oversimplification. Also, the new system may solve his problem of not having to meet peoples expectations….but surely moves away from them getting what they actually want?

  5. To my knowledge, Gylim is not a Londoner. To us who were born and raised in London the term Londoner is quite a personal one that is losing its meaning when those who choose to work in London suddenly start getting called Londoners.

    But, back to the coffee. Anyone with any knowledge of what they want to drink will know that a latte (a seemingly UK obsession) is so different from a flat white and this in turn is different from a cortada etc. Gwilym seems to have taken a very easy option with this. Why not just ban milk altogether and just have black filter.

  6. Samuel Tonin says:

    Frustrates the hell outta me as well. Nice one!

  7. Sean Alcorn says:

    @Carl – Gwilym is not confused at all. A ‘latte’ is actually a beverage made by many Italians at home for breakfast & is a stovetop espresso topped with COLD Milk. The ‘American’ version of a latte which we now serve in the English speaking world is now as close as it it can be to a *real* cappuccino (ie; no chocolate). A latte being served in an 8oz cup, whilst a cappuccino served in a 6oz cup.

    Gwilym is *definitely* on the right track here. I just hope he has other brew methods in an effort to ween those consumers off milk altogether! :)

  8. I like it when cafes offer coffee ‘sizes’. It cuts the wheat from the chaff. I just keep walking until I find somewhere that makes coffee *correctly*.

  9. He’s entitled to do as he pleases with his business – barista nomenclature should not be politicized the same way alcohol is. That said his new menu smacks of some kind of coffee newspeak.
    Britain needs better baristas before it gets too uptight about what the beverages should be called.

  10. Boris Anthony says:

    Brilliant! An excellent example of mythological iconoclasty; the smashing of traditionally held beliefs by the most recent rationalized evidence!
    I’ll just point out to my English diaspora brethren, that it is we in this case who are aliens, by holding on to our medieval belief in measures such as ounces; the rest of world long ago embraced the logic of metric. šŸ˜‰

  11. johnny norton says:

    sean, this comment may be a year or two late, but just a quick clarification- the late was invented in america. berkeley, to be specific. American customers were complaining the cap and mac were too small, so the latte was invened. voila! oversized everything- and to those who think there is more of a difference between a latte and a cap than milk ratio, what is it?

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