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Making The Perfect Cup of Café au Lait

Café au lait is a beloved coffee recipe that combines the rich, bold flavors of coffee with the creamy sweetness of steamed milk. Hailing from France, café au lait has become a staple in coffee shops and homes around the world. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of café au lait, share a simple recipe for making the perfect cup, and suggest creative variations to make this classic drink your own. We’ll also offer troubleshooting tips and advice to ensure a tasty café au lait experience every time.

The Origins of Café au Lait Recipe

People have been enjoying café au lait, which translates to “coffee with milk” in French, in France and other European countries for centuries. Traditionally served in a wide-brimmed bowl, café au lait is often enjoyed with breakfast pastries, such as croissants or pain au chocolat, which are dipped into the creamy coffee mixture.

While the exact origins of café au lait are unclear, it is believed that the drink was popularized in French cafés during the 19th century. Café au lait gained popularity in other countries, such as Spain and Italy, where they respectively know it as “café con leche” and “caffè latte.”

Here is the easiest way to make a strong cold brew coffee that is both strong and bitterless.

The Café au Lait Difference

What sets café au lait apart from other coffee beverages is its simplicity and balance of flavors. The drink typically consists of equal parts strong coffee and steamed milk, creating a harmonious blend of boldness and creaminess that is both comforting and invigorating.

How to pronounce “Cafe au Lait”

Crafting the Perfect Café au Lait

Creating a delicious café au lait at home is easy and requires just a few basic ingredients and tools. Follow these simple steps to make the perfect cup:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strong, freshly brewed coffee (choose a high-quality, freshly roasted coffee for the best results)
  • 1 cup whole milk (or a milk alternative of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Brew a strong cup of coffee using your preferred brewing method. Some popular options include a French press, moka pot, or drip coffee maker.
  2. While the coffee is brewing, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from scorching.
  3. Use a milk frother, whisk, or immersion blender to create a velvety froth.
  4. Pour the brewed coffee into a large mug or bowl, filling it halfway. Then, pour the frothed milk on top, filling the mug or bowl to the brim.
  5. Serve your café au lait immediately, and enjoy it with your favorite breakfast pastry or biscuit.

Creative Recipe Variations To Try

While the traditional café au lait recipe calls for equal parts coffee and steamed milk, there is plenty of room for creativity. Experiment with different flavors and combinations to make this classic drink uniquely yours.

French Toast is a sweet treat and goes well with café au lait. Here is a link to our best French Toast recipe! Discover why your French toast never stacks up to what you get at a breakfast restaurant.

Flavor Enhancements

Add a touch of sweetness or flavor to your café au lait by incorporating flavored syrups, spices, or extracts. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Simply mix your chosen ingredient(s) into the brewed coffee or frothed milk to create a customized café au lait experience.

Espresso-Based Café au Lait

For a bolder, more robust flavor, replace the brewed coffee with a double shot of espresso. This will create a rich and intense beverage similar to a traditional Italian caffè latte.

Dairy-Free and Vegan Options

Café au lait can easily be made dairy-free or vegan by substituting regular milk with plant-based alternatives. Try almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk for a delicious and creamy café au lait that suits your dietary preferences.

Iced Café au Lait

Transform your café au lait into a refreshing, iced beverage by pouring the coffee and milk mixture over ice. For an extra indulgent touch, top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel or chocolate syrup.

As a coffee lover, you must try a good cappuccino. Most people do not know how to make one properly. Check out our recent article to help you make the perfect cappuccino for the first time!

Troubleshooting and Tips

To ensure a consistently delicious café au lait experience, consider the following tips and troubleshooting advice:

Choosing the Right Coffee

Select a high-quality, freshly roasted coffee for the best café au lait experience. Experiment with different roasts and origins to find your favorite flavor profile.

Brewing Strength

Adjust the strength of your brewed coffee to achieve your desired café au lait intensity. A stronger brew will result in a bolder, more robust flavor, while a milder brew will produce a lighter, more delicate taste.

If you like a strong flavor and the right amount of caffeine, then put the Cortado next on the list for coffee drinks to try. Here is our take on making the perfect Cortado from home.

Milk Frothing Techniques

Achieving the perfect froth for your café au lait may take some practice. Experiment with different frothing methods, such as a handheld milk frother, steam wand, or immersion blender, to find the one that works best for you.

Temperature Control

To prevent scalding the milk and ruining the flavor of your café au lait, be sure to heat the milk slowly and stir it frequently. Additionally, avoid overheating the milk, as this can cause it to separate and create an unpleasant texture.

One of my favorite coffees to make in the morning is a Long Black. If you haven’t had one then you need to check this out.

The Delicious French Coffee

Café au lait is a comforting and versatile coffee recipe that combines the bold flavors of coffee with the creamy sweetness of steamed milk. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with creative variations, this classic drink is sure to delight your taste buds and warm your heart. With this cozy guide in hand, you’re now ready to master the art of café au lait and indulge in the simple pleasures of this timeless beverage. Bon appétit!

Click here to find a local coffee shop near you that offers Café au Lait

cafe au lait recipe in a white cup placed next to a french croissant

Café au Lait

Café au Lait is a French coffee recipe that pairs perfectly with a warm croissant or dunking biscuit.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine French
Servings 1
Calories 149 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup strong freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions
 

  • Brew a strong cup of coffee using your preferred brewing method. Some popular options include a French press, moka pot, or drip coffee maker.
    french press full of coffee next to a bag of coffee grounds
  • While the coffee is brewing, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from scorching.
  • Once the milk is heated, use a milk frother, whisk, or immersion blender to create a velvety froth.
    Milk being frothed in a glass cup
  • Pour the brewed coffee into a large mug or bowl, filling it halfway. Then, pour the frothed milk on top, filling the mug or bowl to the brim.
    Pouring milk over coffee
  • Serve your café au lait immediately, and enjoy with your favorite breakfast pastry or biscuit.
    cafe au lait surrounded by croissants, donuts, pies and other pastries

Notes

Troubleshooting and Tips

To ensure a consistently delicious café au lait experience, consider the following tips and troubleshooting advice:

Choosing the Right Coffee

Select a high-quality, freshly roasted coffee for the best café au lait experience. Experiment with different roasts and origins to find your favorite flavor profile.

Brewing Strength

Adjust the strength of your brewed coffee to achieve your desired café au lait intensity. A stronger brew will result in a bolder, more robust flavor, while a milder brew will produce a lighter, more delicate taste.

Milk Frothing Techniques

Achieving the perfect froth for your café au lait may take some practice. Experiment with different frothing methods, such as a handheld milk frother, steam wand, or immersion blender, to find the one that works best for you.

Nutrition

Serving: 237gCalories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 97mgPotassium: 482mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 395IUCalcium: 305mgIron: 0.02mg
Keyword Coffee, french coffee, milk
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

FAQ

What is Café au Lait?

Café au Lait is a French coffee drink that combines equal parts of steamed milk and freshly brewed coffee. It’s known for its smooth, creamy texture and balanced flavor.a cup of coffee with both coffee and milk with a clear line showing the amounts of each

Where did Café au Lait originate?

Café au Lait has its roots in France, where it has been a popular breakfast beverage for many years. Traditionally, people serve it in a large cup to accommodate the equal mix of coffee and milk.cafe au lait in a cup next to a croissant with a background showing French buildings

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

The main difference is in the coffee used. Café au Lait is made with brewed coffee, while a Latte is made with espresso. Also, Lattes often have more milk than Café au Lait.Side by side comparison showing an image of cafe au lait and a latte

What type of coffee is best for Café au Lait?

A medium to dark roast coffee is ideal for Café au Lait, as it provides a robust flavor that balances well with the milk.Bags containing coffee beans that have been roasted to different amounts ranging from light roast to dark roast

Can I make Café au Lait with plant-based milk?

Absolutely! Almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk can be great alternatives for those who prefer plant-based options.six bottles of different types of plant based milk

What pairs well with Café au Lait?

Café au Lait pairs wonderfully with pastries like croissants, pain au chocolat, or a slice of banana bread.cafe au lait surrounded by croissants, donuts, pies and other pastries

How do I get the perfect milk texture for Café au Lait?

Steam the milk until it’s hot and has a slight froth, but not as much foam as you would for a cappuccino.metal cup filled with steamed milk

Can I make Café au Lait without a coffee machine?

Yes, you can use a regular coffee maker or a French press to brew the coffee and then heat and lightly froth the milk separately.french press full of coffee next to a bag of coffee grounds

What is the ideal coffee to milk ratio for Café au Lait?

The classic ratio is 1:1, equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk.cup of coffee shown next to a cup of milk

How do I sweeten Café au Lait?

You can add sugar, honey, or a syrup of your choice. Vanilla or caramel syrup can add a delightful twist.cafe au lait surrounded by brown sugar, white sugar, honey and a croissant

Is Café au Lait high in caffeine?

Yes, it contains a moderate amount of caffeine due to the brewed coffee. The exact amount depends on the coffee beans used.cup of cafe au lait with a diagram of caffeine molecule in the backgorund

Can I add flavors to my Café au Lait?

Absolutely! Experiment with different syrups like hazelnut, vanilla, or even spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.cup of cafe au lait with flavored syrups in the background

How do I serve Café au Lait?

Serve it in a large bowl or cup to enjoy the traditional French experience.large mouth cup of cafe au lait with a spoon

What is the best time to enjoy Café au Lait?

It’s traditionally enjoyed in the morning but can be a delightful treat at any time of the day.a cup of cafe au lait with a bookcase in the background

Can Café au Lait be made iced?

Yes, just use cold milk and brewed coffee, or chill the coffee beforehand, and serve over ice.cafe au lait in a cup with ice

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