Cafe au Lait

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What’s a Cafe au Lait?

Caffe Latte, Café Crème, Macchiato, Café Breve, Cafe au Lait – there are so many variations on coffee drinks, and they usually have just one tiny distinction. For example, a Café Breve is an espresso-based beverage that’s quite similar to a latte. However, it stands out by using half & half instead of milk.

So, how do you distinguish a Café Au Lait from the other items on the menu board? It’s an easy one, as it’s not an espresso drink. Café au Lait is equal parts drip coffee and whole milk, and in the U.S., it’s sometimes called a Cafe Misto.

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About the Cafe au Lait or Cafe Misto

Coffee Basestrong coffee (but not espresso)
Added Waterno
Coffee : Milk Ratio1 : 1
Type of Milksteamed or scalded
Cuplarge wide-mouth cup or cafe au lait bowl
Suppliescoffee, milk
Sugar or Added Flavorsoptional
Notesany brewing method will work, but French Press coffee is one of the best
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How To Make a Cafe au Lait

Gather your two ingredients, which are drip or French Press coffee and milk. Whole milk is typically used in France.

1. Brew a cup of coffee using your drip coffeemaker, Keurig, French Press, or another preferred method. If you’re brewing it directly into your cup or bowl, be sure you use one twice as large as you need for your coffee.

2. While the coffee’s brewing, steam 8 ounces of milk to approximately 160 degrees.

Alternatively, you can scald the milk to 180 degrees or just under the boiling point. The combination of freshly brewed coffee and hot milk will keep things warm for a while.

3. Add the milk to the coffee using a 1:1 ratio, and give it a stir. It’s as easy as that!

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Cups, Mugs, Bowls

Café Au Lait is distinctively French, but it’s enjoyed around the world. If you order the beverage in France, it’ll probably be served in a bowl. It’s the ideal accompaniment to a side of croissants or pastries and is a bit mellower than espresso-style drinks.

You don’t need to buy special serving pieces to enjoy this particular coffee. However, the old-school way of enjoying the drink is to sip it from a bowl that you hold with both hands. There’s just something classic and cozy about it!

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Is Cafe Crème the Same as a Cafe au Lait?

Some people use the terms interchangeably. However, they’re not the same coffee drink.

A Cafe au Lait is made with brewed coffee (not espresso) and combined with an equal amount of milk. On the other hand, the Cafe Crème is combined with steamed or scaled milk (whole or 2%), but it’s espresso-based.

What’s a Cafe Misto?

While a Cafe Crème might be different, a Cafe Misto is the same as a Cafe au Lait. Some baristas may make a Misto with equal parts brewed coffee and frothed milk, but Starbucks sticks to the Cafe au Lait formula. It’s a simple brewed coffee drink with an equal part of steamed milk.

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A Cafe au Lait is similar to other espresso-based drinks, but it’s made with brewed coffee – not espresso

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cafe au Lait?

A Cafe au Lait is a simple brewed coffee drink made with equal parts of coffee (medium to dark roast) and steamed or scaled whole milk.

What’s the difference between a Cafe au Lait and a Caffe Misto?

There’s no difference between a Cafe au Lait and a Caffe Misto. They’re the same drink – equal parts of brewed coffee and steamed milk. However, a handful of U.S. coffee shops prepare the Misto with frothed instead of steamed milk.

How do you serve a Cafe au Lait?

While you could use pretty much any cup or mug, the traditional way to serve Cafe au Lait is in a large, wide-mouthed cup or a Cafe au Lait bowl. Holding the bowl with two hands enhances the coziness (and will keep your hands warm!).

What’s the difference between Cafe au Lait and a Caffe Latte?

There are quite a few differences between a Cafe au Lait and a latte. Cafe au Lait is made with brewed coffee, while a Caffe Latte is espresso-based. Also, the Cafe au Lait is equal parts coffee and milk, and a latte is one part espresso to five parts milk. Lattes also have the signature foam on top.

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