Cafe Au Lait Vs Latte

It’s truly remarkable how a mere tweak in the coffee, milk, or foam can lead to a multitude of distinct beverages. Even a slight modification can entirely change the flavor and consistency of the drink, taking it from bitter to indulgent, velvety, or frothy.

As a passionate aficionado of coffee, I’ve always harbored a yearning to delve into novel coffee flavors. My quest for the perfect cup of joe led me to discover two fascinating options: Cafe au Lait and Latte.

You may have tried both Latte and Cafe Au lait but are you familiar with their distinct attributes?

Cafe au lait and latte may appear similar, but they slightly diverge in the ingredients. Cafe au lait uses brewed coffee and steamed milk, while latte uses espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam in varying ratios. These variations create distinct flavor and texture profiles.

In this article, I will dive deep into the World of Cafe Au Lait vs Latte, So you can easily choose which drink is perfect for you and which drink you can prepare easily at home.

Cafe Au lait vs Latte

What is Cafe au Lait?

Café au Lait, a popular coffee beverage, has its origins traced back to 17th-century France. Its name is derived from the French phrase “café au lait,” which translates to “coffee with milk.”

Café au lait also known s Misto Coffee is a delicious coffee you can easily prepare at home without needing a fancy espresso machine.

This classic French drink is made by combining brewed coffee with hot milk, and it’s the perfect way to start your day or enjoy a relaxing afternoon break.

If you aim to savor the rich and robust flavors of Café au Lait to the fullest, I always recommend using a French Press to brew coffee, although this doesn’t imply that you cannot prepare it using other brewing methods.

Cafe Au lait

How to prepare Cafe Au Lait

To make café au lait at home, you only need a 

  • Coffee maker (French Press preferable)
  • Saucepan
  • Milk
  • Your favorite coffee beans (Dark Roast preferred)

Step-by-step Guide:

  • Start by brewing a strong pot of coffee using your coffee maker.
  • While the coffee is brewing, heat some milk in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Be careful not to let the milk boil, as this can scorch it and ruin the flavor.
  • Once the milk is hot, pour it into a large mug, filling it halfway. 
  • Pour the brewed coffee over the top of the milk, filling the mug to the top. 
  • Stir the coffee and milk together gently, and if desired, add a touch of sugar or vanilla extract.

One of the best things about café au lait is its versatility. You can use any milk you prefer, whether whole, skim, or non-dairy. You can also experiment with different coffee blends and flavors to create a unique take on this classic drink.

And the best part is you don’t need a Fancy Espresso machine to prepare it!

What is Latte?

Latte, a popular coffee-based beverage that has its roots in Italy, is named after the Italian word for milk, “latte.”

When you order a Latte, you can expect it to be served in a tall glass with a wide circumference and tapered top, making it as visually appealing as it is delicious.

It’s no surprise that the Latte has won over the hearts of coffee enthusiasts worldwide – in fact, according to 2020 data, it was the most commonly ordered drink in the UK and the third-most-popular beverage in US coffee shops!


Let’s see How you can prepare a Latte

Things you need

  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee beans (Dark Roast preferred)
  • Milk Frother
  • Milk (Whole Milk Preferred)

Step by Step guide to prepare a delicious cup of Latte.

  • For a delicious and flavorful espresso, use high-quality dark roast beans and grind them just before brewing to maximize freshness and taste.
  • Next, prepare a double shot Espresso using your Espresso machine.
  • For a perfect latte, steam fresh, cold milk to 150-160°F (65-70°C). Do not overheat the milk as it will compromise the drink’s creamy texture and flavor.
  • Now comes the moment of truth – the perfect combination of espresso and milk to craft your latte. Begin by pouring your freshly brewed espresso into a preheated cup or glass. Next, pour the steamed milk into the espresso, using a spoon to hold back the foam.
  • Finally, spoon the milk foam onto the top of the latte, creating a beautiful, creamy texture. For an extra touch of flavor, you can add flavored syrup, such as vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or chocolate.

The traditional espresso-to-milk ratio for lattes ranges from 1:3 to 1:4, but don’t let tradition hold you back. Adjusting the ratio according to your taste and preference can lead to a customized latte that’s perfect for you.

Whether you prefer a stronger espresso taste or a creamier texture, experimenting with different ratios can help you find your ideal balance. So, go ahead and break the rules – create a latte that’s uniquely yours by tweaking the espresso-to-milk ratio.

Cafe Au Lait vs Latte: A Comparison

Differences between Cafe Au Lait and Latte

The magic ingredients

Cafe au lait and latte differ in the type of coffee used and the milk preparation method.

A latte is a creamy coffee drink made with strong espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of foam. The concentrated shot is prepared using an espresso machine, and the milk is steamed and aerated with a steam wand for a velvety texture.

Cafe au lait is a French coffee drink made by combining equal parts of strong brewed coffee and steamed milk. The coffee is typically brewed using a French press or a drip coffee machine, while the milk is heated on the stovetop.

Cafe Au Lait is a perfect milky coffee drink you can easily prepare at home without any fancy equipment.

Which Tastes Better?

Cafe au lait is a comforting and flavorful coffee drink that is perfect for those who enjoy a strong coffee taste.

I find the combination of steamed milk and strongly brewed coffee to be unique and soothing, creating a satisfying coffee experience that’s neither too strong nor too sweet. Overall, Cafe au Lait offers a delicate and well-rounded flavor profile that I enjoy as a coffee lover.

Latte is a mild and creamy coffee beverage with a milk-forward taste. The robust coffee flavor of the espresso is overpowered by the sweetness of the steamed milk, and the layer of foam on top adds a velvety texture that enhances the overall taste. For coffee lovers who crave a sweeter kick, a well-prepared latte is an excellent choice.

Personally, I find latte to be a bit too mild and creamy for my taste. The coffee flavor is overshadowed by the taste of steamed milk, which can make it feel more like a warm milk drink with a hint of coffee.

Calorie and the Caffeine Content

The Calories in the drink mainly depend on the type and the amount of milk used in the drink. A single serving of Latte has around 8 to 10 ounces of milk while a serving of Cafe Au Lait has around 4 to 6 ounces of milk.

So, Latte obviously has more calories than Cafe Aul Lait.

At Starbucks, a 12 oz serving of latte contains around 150 calories, while a 12 oz serving of Cafe Misto (similar to Cafe Au Lait) has only 80 calories.

However, adding sugar, flavored syrups, or whipped cream can significantly increase the calorie count.

The amount of Caffeine in the Cafe Au Lait and Latte is approximately the same.

Latte is prepared with a double-shot Espresso which has around 120-133 mg of caffeine. While the simple serving of brewed coffee in Cafe Au Lait has 80-120 mg of caffeine which varies depending on the type of coffee beans and brewing method.

Variations of Café au lait and latte

Café au lait and latte have various variations that can be made to suit different tastes. Here are a few examples:

Variations of Café au lait Variations of Latte
Chicory café au lait: It is a variation of Cafe Au Lait that is made by adding roasted chicory root to the coffee grounds before brewing. This technique is commonly used in New Orleans-style coffee, which is known for its strong, intense and bitter taste.Caramel Latte: It is a popular coffee beverage made by combining espresso with steamed milk and caramel syrup. The sweetness of the caramel syrup can balance out the bitterness of the espresso, making it a great choice for those who prefer a sweeter coffee.
Spanish Cafe Au Lait: It is made by adding sweetened condensed milk to the coffee instead of steamed milk.Vanilla Latte: In this variation, a simple Latte is enhanced with the subtle sweetness of vanilla syrup or extract.
French-style Cafe Au Lait: It is typically made with equal parts brewed coffee and scalded milk.Mocha Latte: Also known as a Cafe Mocha, is a delicious beverage made with the addition of chocolate syrup and cocoa powder to Latte.

These are just a few examples of the many variations of Cafe Au Lait and Latte that you can find. The possibilities for customizing these drinks are endless, with options for adjusting the coffee-to-milk ratio or adding numerous different flavors or syrups.

Cafe Au lait vs Latte | So what’s better?

Choosing between cafe au lait vs latte ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Café au lait, made with brewed coffee and steamed milk, offers a bold, simple flavor without requiring an espresso machine. It’s an excellent choice for coffee enthusiasts who want a creamy, flavorful drink without the need for expensive equipment.

If you prefer espresso drinks with a creamier and sweeter taste, then a latte may be the better choice for you.

Related Guides:


Is Café Au Lait Stronger Than Latte?

Generally, Cafe Au Lait has a stronger coffee flavor than a Latte because it is made with more coffee and less milk.
However, the strength of the coffee can also be affected by the brewing method and type of beans. Additionally, some variations of Latte can be made with extra shots of espresso, making them stronger than a standard Cafe Au Lait.

What Does Starbucks Call Café Au Lait?

At Starbucks, Café Au Lait is known as Cafe Misto. It is made with brewed coffee and steamed milk in a 1:1 ratio, similar to the traditional preparation of Cafe Au Lait.

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.