The Kiwi café owner brewing up a storm in the US

There's an extremely successful and unexpected New Zealand export that's gone quietly under the radar for the past decade or so - the flat white.

The coffee drink was created here and now it's sold in cafes all around the world to rave reviews.

Steve Gianoutsos, the owner of Mojo, opened his first cafe in Chicago almost two years ago and has big expansion plans for the brand.

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Most Kiwis would say nothing beats a good flat white and smashed avo but in America, breakfast looks a little different - it's mostly watered down filter coffee and pumpkin spiced lattes.

So Mr Gianoutsos is showing them a thing or two about the New Zealand coffee experience.

The Kiwi opened his first Mojo cafe in Wellington 15 years ago and has expanded through New Zealand and parts of Asia.

In early 2017 Mr Gianoutsos and his wife decided they wanted a part of the US market, so they packed up the kids and traded one windy city for another. 

"It's really expensive and really risky for a new business to break into the US market so we came to Chicago on a bit of a side trip to see what the market's like here and fell in love with the city, and kind of haven't left," he told Newshub.

They initially wanted to set up shop in New York, but retail rents were too high.

Mr Gianoutsos said while it wasn't too difficult establishing a store in Chicago, the process took a lot longer.

"There's lots of traps you know. On the surface it just seems like you're opening another store in New Zealand but the accents are different."

It's been worth it. Business is booming with locals packing into the cafe each day for a taste of Kiwi coffee.

"They love it, they really do," Mr Gianoutsos said.

"This is one of Mojo's specialties, it's the nitro coffee. It's made with nitrogen and you'll have to come to Chicago to get it because it's so strong it's not legal to sell full servings in New Zealand."

Nitro coffee could soon be available in more stores across the US. A few months ago Mojo was on the verge of being sold to a major listed company for $19 million. 

That sale fell through but Mr Gianoutsos is still hopeful. His dream? To establish at least 30 more cafes in the US.