What is Caffe Misto and how to make it at home?

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Johny Morrisson

Caffe Misto is a coffee drink made by combining half-brewed coffee and half hot milk. This is essentially a one-to-one ratio of coffee and milk. Misto is basically a name popularized by Starbucks, It is known as Café au lait if you are outside Starbucks.

While not as fancy as its latte cousin, the misto shines in its simplicity. For a straightforward coffee-and-milk kick, it can’t be beat. The best thing is you can easily copy this recipe at home without the need for any fancy coffee gear.

Caffe Misto

How to Make Misto Coffee

The best thing is you can easily prepare Cafe Misto at home without the need for fancy Espresso machines or Milk frothers.

What you need

  • Coffee Beans
  • A Coffee Maker
  • Whole Milk

What is the best brewing method for Cafe Misto?

The best brewing method for a café misto is the French press. The French press allows you to make rich and strong coffee drinks, which pair nicely with steamed milk in a misto. You can also use a pour-over or automatic drip machine, but the French press just nails that rich coffee flavor you want in a café misto.

Whatever brew method you choose, go with dark or medium-dark roast beans to stand up to the milk.

Step by Step Instructions

1. Prepare Coffee

Prepare a cup of coffee using your favorite method. But keep serving size in mind. For example, if you want to make 12 oz of Cafe Misto then brew a 6 oz cup of coffee.

Use a high coffee-to-water ratio and dark or medium dark roasted beans so that coffee flavors remain prominent in the drink.

2. Heat the Milk

Heat the milk on the stove at medium heat until small bubbles start appearing.

You can also use the microwave to heat the milk.

Traditionally, Caffe au Lait is made with hot milk, not frothed milk. However, at Starbucks, they serve Cafe Misto with frothed milk.

How to make Caffe Misto

Some Expert Tips for Making Caffe Misto

  • If you’re using a French Press to prepare your Caffe Misto, don’t overlook its frothing potential. After brewing your coffee, warm up some milk, put in the French Press, and pump the plunger 10-15 times for a quick and easy froth. It will add a luxuriously creamy texture to your homemade Misto.
  • Always brew the coffee at a high coffee-to-water ratio to make a strong coffee drink so the flavors won’t get subdued when the milk is added. I like to use a 1:13 ratio, which equates to about 15 grams of coffee for a 6 oz serving. Play around to find your ideal strength, but a strong coffee is key.
  • To make Caffe Misto sweeter you can add various sweeteners and syrups. Vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut syrups can add a delightful sweetness to your drink.

What’s the difference in Caffe Misto and Latte

Both Latte and Misto share coffee and milk as their fundamental ingredients. The main difference lies in the coffee base. Misto coffee employs brewed coffee or French press coffee, while lattes are prepared with espresso.

Caffe Misto has a stronger taste compared to a Latte as it is prepared with a smaller proportion of milk.

The second difference is Latte is always made with frothed milk with a layer of foam on the top while Caffe Misto is prepared with simple warm milk.

Unlike a latte, you can easily prepare Caffe Misto at home. You can either prepare coffee in a French Press or a Drip coffee machine and heat the milk on the stove. You don’t need fancy Espresso machines and milk frothers to make it

Also Read: What is a Latte (A Detailed Guide)

Is there a difference in Caffe Misto and Cafe au Lait

There is no difference between Cafe Au Lait and Cafe Misto. In fact, Caffe Misto is a drink known to many as a Cafe au Lait.

Cafe Au Lait is a French word meaning “coffee with added milk”. And Cafe Misto is a Starbucks term for the same drink.

There is one small difference though, Starbucks differentiates its Caffè Misto by adding a layer of foamed milk on top while there is no foam in traditional Cafe Au Lait.

Also, It is possible that the ratio of milk to coffee in Cafe Au Lait differs from one cafe to another but traditionally it is prepared by using equal amounts of coffee and milk.


What is the difference between Americano and Misto?

An Americano is a black coffee drink made by adding hot water to strong espresso shots for a smooth coffee experience. On the other hand, a Caffe Misto is a milky coffee drink made by mixing equal parts of brewed coffee and steamed milk.

What coffee does Starbucks use for Cafe Misto?

Starbucks specially crafts its caffe misto beverage using its Sumatra Single-Origin dark roast coffee. The Sumatra dark roast coffee provides a full-bodied and intensely bold coffee flavor that stands up well when mellowed out by steamed milk.

How much Caffeine is in a Misto Coffee?

A standard serving of Misto Coffee made with regular brewed coffee has around 70-110 mg of caffeine. However, the caffeine content may vary depending on the type of beans and the ratio of brewed coffee in the drink.

Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap on everything you need to know to master the Misto Coffee!

Let me know if you decide to give this balanced coffee and milk mixture a try after reading this. I’d love to hear how your homemade misto creations turn out! Feel free to share your brewing tips and favorite flavor variations too.

Caffe Misto Recipe

Caffe Misto is usually relatively easy to make at home and usually does not require expensive machines.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • French Press or Drip Coffee machine to brew coffee
  • Stove to heat milk and water


  • 2 tbsp Coffee Grounds
  • 6 oz Milk
  • 6 oz Filtered Water


  • Prepare a strong cup of coffee using your favorite method.
  • Heat the milk on the stove at medium heat and make sure to remove the heat before the milk starts boiling.
  • That's it, pour coffee right into a cup and warm milk ahead, you've just made your own Coffee Misto at Home!
    If you like to add sweetener then mix it into the brewed coffee before adding the milk.
    You can also add tasteful syrups like pumpkin spice, vanilla, or hazelnuts to enhance the flavor of Cafe Misto.

Read Articles about other delicious Coffee Drinks:

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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