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The best flat whites in Manchester

Flat white at Grindsmith

A good coffee is one thing, but you can measure the merits of a great coffee house on the quality of flat white served there. This caffeinated import from down-under tests a barista’s skills – the flavour of best espresso must shine through, while the milk stays smooth, rich and never scorched. It’s often the connoisseur’s (and dare we say, hipster’s) milky coffee of choice.

Here are a few places where you’ll pick up a quality flattie every time.

Grindsmith, Deansgate
A new bigger outlet for the kickstarter-funded Manchester venture, in addition to their adorable Scandinavian-style hut down at Victoria Bridge. Either location will serve a textbook flat white, but the Deansgate brewbar offers a little more world to watch go by. We drank a two-bean espresso, which by itself was all burned chocolate and woody smells, but coupled with milk became a smooth buttery treat.

Caffeine & Co., St James’s Square
Little brother to the bigger Spinningfields branch, this off-shoot near Albert Square is cosy inside with cute outdoor seats too, should it ever get warm enough. The friendly bearded barista seems able to knock out 10/10 flatties in his sleep. The results are rich but not overpowering with long deep flavours, served in perfect cups.

Rapha, St Ann’s Alley
The view over King Street from the first floor of this cyclist-paradise-plus-coffee-shop is a perfect accompaniment to a warm glass of flat white. Rapha serve a nice light brew that’s also comfortingly potent, plus the café itself is possibly the best-looking space in the city right now.

Takk, Tariff Street
Keeping the eastern front of the Northern Quarter caffeinated, this place takes coffee seriously in a chilled atmosphere. They use a Workshop blend, which if you’re in the know means best quality beans so their flat whites are reliably excellent.

North Tea Power, Tib Street
‘North Coffee Power’ wouldn’t have the same ring, but there are no bad days or bad brews at Tib Street’s temple of taste. We like to follow an aeropress of the day with a flavourful flat white chaser that leaves you feeling full up and raring to Instagram.

Discover more of Manchester's best coffee shops and cafes

Words: Greg Thorpe