This caffeinated beverage is the go-to morning drink of many coffee lovers.
Still, some people don’t really know what cafè au lait actually is.
Furthermore, its sophisticated name is a bit intimidating to pronounce, which is the reason why many coffee shop customers avoid ordering one.
To be fair, the cafè au lait is a pretty simple coffee drink that you’ve probably had at least once in your life without knowing it.
In this drink guide, I will give you a definition of what it is and how it compares to a caffè latte or a caffè misto.
Furthermore, I will show you how to easily make a cafè au lait at home.
What is a Café Au Lait:The Definition
The café au lait has its roots in France and its name literally means “coffee with milk”.
The French usually have it as their morning drink along with their breakfast, such as a baguette or a croissant.
Now here’s what a cafè au lait is:
The café au lait is a hot coffee beverage made of brewed coffee (French press, Drip coffee, Moka pot coffee, etc.) and steamed milk.
It’s traditionally served in a 13 fl. oz. (380 ml.) bowl with no handles.
Still, at some coffee shops, the cafè au lait is served topped off with a dollop of milk.
The cafè au lait is pretty much the same as the Italian caffè misto.
What sets these caffeinated beverages apart is the fact that the latter always consists of equal parts of coffee and milk.
The proportions of the two ingredients in a cafè au lait may vary from one coffee shop to another or depending on the requirements of the consumer.
Some people like it with a better-pronounced coffee flavor, while others – more diluted and milky.
This explains why there are two main types of Nescafe Dolce Gusto Cafe au Lait coffee pods : Intenso, and regular Cafe Au Lait Dolce Gusto pods. The Intenso pods contain less milk powder and more coffee compared to the regular cafe au lait Dolce Gusto pods.
At Starbucks, the cafè au lait is the same as the caffè misto, as it’s always prepared with the 1:1 brewed coffee to steamed milk ratio.
Adjusting the intensity of the coffee flavor can be done by adjusting the roast.
The darker the roast profile of the beans you choose – the bolder your Starbucks cafè au lait is going to be.
Cafè au lait Pronunciation
Cafè au lait is pronounced ‘caf-fay-oh-lay’. Here’s a video that will make it even easier for you to confidently pronounce its name when you order this coffee beverage:
How to Make a Cafè au Lait at home: Recipe
Making an authentic cafè au lait at home is quite easy.
Preparing this beverage doesn’t really require solid barista skills or expensive equipment, such as an espresso machine.
It doesn’t matter whether you use drip or filter-style brewer – it’s really up to you and your preferences.
My top recommendation is to stick to Moka pot coffee if you’re a fan of a more intense and bold coffee flavor.
So here’s how to make a cafè au lait at home:
- Prepare your coffee in your brewer of choice.
- Pour milk into a saucepan and place it over medium heat. The milk should be heated gently and slowly for about 3 minutes. The ideal milk temperature is within the 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C) range.
- Pour your brewed coffee into a cup.
- Add the warm milk to taste.
For this cafè au lait recipe, I used a 1:1 coffee to steamed milk ratio. In other words, I prepared a caffè misto. With that being said, feel free to adjust the ratio according to your taste.
There are no strict rules when it comes to the preparation of a cafè au lait.
With that being said, at the bottom of this page, you can find a printable cafè au lait recipe card that you can use for basic guidelines.
I hope that you found my cafè au lait guide useful.
As you see, the only complicated thing about this coffee beverage is its name.
You can order it at a cafe or prepare it at home – you can’t really go wrong with this type of drink.
Furthermore, you can make an iced cafè au lait, by using cold milk. Just pour your coffee into a glass filled with ice cubes and add the desired amount of milk.
The iced cafè au lait can also be made with cold brew concentrate, which results in a nice refreshing drink that I’m sure you’d love.
Leave me a comment below to share your thoughts or ask me a question.
- 6 fl. oz. (180 ml.) of brewed coffee
- 6 fl. oz. (180 ml.) of steamed milk
- Prepare coffee in a coffee maker of your choice.
- Pour milk into a saucepan and set over medium heat. The ideal milk temperature is within the following range: 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C).
- Pour brewed coffee into a cup.
- Add warm milk (to taste).
- Add a dollop of milk foam on top (optional).