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cafe au lait

Updated: Jun 18

Café au lait (“coffee with milk” in French) is a coffee drink made of strong coffee and hot or steamed milk. The drink originated in France and uses equal parts coffee and milk. It’s similar to a traditional Italian cafe latte, but it uses strong coffee instead of espresso.

cafe au lait


  • 1 part hot strong coffee (1 cup), French roast

  • 1 part milk (1 cup), steamed


  1. Make a strong French roast coffee using your method of choice (Moka Pot, French press, coffee pot, or other).

  2. Steam the milk by heating the milk until it barely reaches a boil. Whisk briskly with a wire whisk to create foam (or froth with an espresso machine or a frother).

  3. Pour the coffee in a cup. Pour the steamed milk into the coffee, holding back the foam with a spoon. Top with the foam and serve immediately.

You can add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the milk to create a Vanilla Cafe au Lait. If you’re making cafe au lait for a breakfast or brunch, you’ll want to vary the method. You may want to make a few pots in advance and store in a warmer or thermos. Then, make several cups of frothed milk (the frothing tool is best for a large batch, but any method will do).

Here are a few desserts to pair with an au lait:

  • Blueberry muffins or scones

  • Croissants

  • Waffles

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