What Is Coffee With Milk?

Coffee with milk refers to a beverage that combines brewed coffee and milk, creating a smoother, creamier taste and reducing the coffee’s bitterness.

Coffee with milk, also known as a café au lait or a latte, is a popular coffee drink enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It’s a simple yet delicious combination of strong coffee and creamy milk that can be customized to suit individual tastes.

Whether you prefer your coffee with just a splash of milk or you like it extra frothy and sweetened with flavored syrup, there’s no denying the appeal of this classic beverage. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly coffee with milk is and how to make the perfect cup at home.

So grab your favorite mug and let’s dive in!

History of Coffee With Milk

coffee milk

The French were among the first to popularize this beverage, calling it “café au lait,” which translates to “coffee with milk.” It quickly became a staple in French cafes and households and eventually spread throughout Europe.

In Italy, another famous milk-based coffee drink emerged: cappuccino. This frothy espresso-based drink is made by combining equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam on top.

Its name comes from its resemblance to the brown robes worn by Capuchin monks.

Today there are countless variations of coffee with milk enjoyed around the world. From lattes topped with whipped cream or flavored syrups in America’s Starbucks shops; flat whites served up at Australian cafes; macchiatos sipped on Italian piazzas – each country has its own unique take on this classic beverage.

Types of Coffee With Milk

Each type has its own unique flavor and texture, making it easy to find one that suits your taste preferences.

One of the most popular types is the latte, which consists of espresso and steamed milk topped with a layer of frothed milk. This drink is often flavored with syrups such as vanilla or caramel for added sweetness.

Another classic option is the cappuccino, which features equal parts espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk in a smaller cup than a latte.

For those who prefer their coffee stronger but still want some creaminess added in may opt for flat white – an Australian invention consisting only two shots of ristretto (concentrated) espresso mixed with microfoam (velvety textured hot foam).

Finally Latte Macchiato – this drink layers steamed whole or skimmed cow’s or plant-based alternative like soy/almond/oat/coconut/rice/hemp/pea protein etc., followed by shot(s)of Espresso on top creating three distinct layers: foam at top; middle layer made up mostly by heated/frothed dairy-free/cow’s/plant-based alternative; bottom-most part being concentrated Espresso shot(s).

Popular Milk-Based Coffee Drinks

The most popular milk-based coffee drinks include lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites and latte macchiatos.

A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk. It’s typically topped with a small layer of foam or frothed milk for added texture.

Lattes can be customized by adding flavored syrups or sweeteners.

Cappuccinos are similar to lattes but have more foam than steamed milk. They’re usually served in smaller cups and consist of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk on top.

Flat whites originated in Australia/New Zealand but quickly became popular worldwide due to their velvety texture created by microfoam (steaming the right amount of air into the hot liquid). Flat white consists only out two shots (or ristretto)of espresso mixed with silky smooth textured whole-milk creating an intense yet balanced flavor profile.


It’s made with espresso and steamed milk, topped with a layer of frothed milk. The word “latte” actually means “milk” in Italian, which makes sense given that the drink is primarily composed of this ingredient.

To make a latte, you’ll need an espresso machine or stovetop moka pot to brew your shot(s) of espresso. Then you’ll steam and froth your desired amount of milk using either the steam wand on your machine or a separate handheld frother.

The key to making the perfect latte lies in getting the right ratio between coffee and milk. A standard latte typically consists of one shot (or two for larger sizes) of espresso combined with 8-12 ounces (240-360 ml)of steamed/frothed whole cow’s milk.

However, there are many variations on this basic recipe depending on personal preference or dietary restrictions such as using non-dairy alternatives like almond or oat milks instead.


It’s made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, creating a creamy and velvety texture. The name “cappuccino” comes from the Capuchin friars’ robes’ color, which resembles the drink’s light brown hue.

To make a cappuccino at home or in your local café, you’ll need an espresso machine capable of producing high-pressure steam to create microfoam for the frothed milk. Start by pulling one shot of espresso into your cup; then add equal parts steamed and frothed milk on top.

Cappuccinos are often served with cocoa powder or cinnamon sprinkled on top for added flavor and presentation appeal. They’re also commonly enjoyed as part of breakfast or brunch menus but can be consumed any time throughout the day.

Flat White

It’s made by combining a double shot of espresso with steamed milk, creating a velvety texture and smooth taste. The key difference between flat white and other similar drinks like latte or cappuccino is the ratio of espresso to milk.

While latte has more steamed milk than foam on top, cappuccino has equal parts of all three components: espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Flat white sits somewhere in between these two drinks with less microfoam than the latter but still creamier than the former.

The result is an indulgent yet balanced beverage that highlights both the rich flavor of coffee beans as well as creamy sweetness from dairy products.

Latte Macchiato

It’s made by adding steamed milk to espresso, creating a layered effect with the espresso on top and the milk on bottom. The word “macchiato” means “stained” or “marked,” referring to the way that the espresso marks or stains the steamed milk.

Unlike other coffee drinks where you mix everything together, latte macchiatos are meant to be enjoyed in layers. To make one at home, start by brewing a shot of strong espresso and frothing your desired amount of whole or 2% milk until it’s nice and creamy.

Next, pour your frothed milk into a tall glass until it’s about two-thirds full. Then slowly pour your freshly brewed shot of espresso over top of the foam so that it sits nicely on top without mixing too much with the rest of drink.

Choosing the Right Milk

The type of milk you use can have a significant impact on the taste and texture of your coffee with milk.

Whole Milk: Whole milk is the most common choice for making coffee with milk. It has a rich, creamy flavor that pairs well with strong coffee.

Skim Milk: Skim or low-fat milks are also popular choices as they contain less fat than whole milk. However, skimmed varieties may not be as creamy and can result in thinner foam when frothed.

Soy Milk: Soy-based alternatives are an excellent option if you’re looking for dairy-free options or prefer plant-based products. They tend to have a slightly nutty flavor that works well in lattes and cappuccinos but may not produce thick foam like cow’s dairy does.

Almond Milk: Almond-based alternatives offer another non-dairy option that adds sweetness without adding sugar content while providing fewer calories than other types of alternative milks such as coconut or oatmilk.

Oatmilk: Oat-milks provide creaminess similar to whole-milk but without lactose content which makes them ideal for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Milk Ratios

The right balance can make all the difference in creating a delicious and satisfying cup of coffee. Generally, a good starting point for most people is using equal parts brewed coffee and milk (1:1 ratio).

However, this can be adjusted based on personal preference.

For those who prefer their drinks stronger or bolder in flavor, they may want to use less milk than usual or opt for espresso shots instead of regular brewed coffee. On the other hand, those who enjoy milder flavors may choose to add more milk than usual.

It’s important not only to consider how much milk you’re adding but also what type of dairy or non-dairy alternative you’re using as well as its fat content. Whole cow’s milk will create a creamier texture compared with skimmed cow’s milks which are thinner and lighter in consistency.

Benefits of Adding Milk to Coffee

Milk is a rich source of calcium, which helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also contains essential vitamins like vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium by the body.

Milk-based coffee drinks are an excellent source of energy as they contain carbohydrates that provide fuel for your body throughout the day. The protein content in milk can help you feel fuller for longer periods and reduce cravings between meals.

Moreover, adding milk to your coffee can help reduce acidity levels and make it easier on your stomach if you have acid reflux or other digestive issues caused by drinking black coffee alone.

However, it’s important to note that adding too much sugar or flavored syrups can negate these health benefits and add unnecessary calories to your drink. So be mindful when sweetening up your cuppa joe with added sugars or artificial flavors.

Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives

Soy milk is a popular option as it has a similar consistency and taste to cow’s milk. Almond and oat milks have also gained popularity in recent years due to their nutty flavor profiles and creamy textures.

Coconut, rice, hemp, cashew, pea protein-based milks are other options for those looking for non-dairy alternatives. Each type of alternative has its own unique flavor profile that can complement the coffee differently.

It’s important to note that not all non-dairy milks behave the same way when heated up; some may curdle or separate when added into hot beverages like coffee with milk. It’s best practice always to check if your chosen alternative is suitable for heating before adding it into your cup of joe.

Coffee and Milk Pairings

The type of milk you use can greatly affect the taste and texture of your coffee, so it’s important to choose wisely. Whole milk is the most traditional choice for coffee with milk because its fat content creates a creamy mouthfeel that complements the bitterness of black coffee.

However, if you’re looking for something lighter or have dietary restrictions, there are plenty of other options available.

For example, almond and soy milks are popular dairy-free alternatives that work well in lattes and cappuccinos. These plant-based milks add their own unique flavors to your drink while still providing a smooth texture.

Another factor to consider when pairing coffee with milk is sweetness level. If you prefer sweeter drinks like flavored lattes or mochas, using sweetened condensed milk can be an excellent option as it adds both creaminess and sweetness without overpowering the flavor profile.

Preparing Coffee With Milk At Home

With just a few basic ingredients and some practice, you can create café-quality drinks in the comfort of your own kitchen.

To make coffee with milk, start by brewing a strong cup of coffee using your preferred method. While the coffee is brewing, heat up some milk on the stove or in the microwave until it’s hot but not boiling.

You can use any type of milk you like – whole dairy milk will give you a creamier taste while non-dairy alternatives like almond or oat will provide their unique flavor profile.

Once both components are ready, pour them together into one mug or glass according to desired ratios (usually 1:2 for latte-style drinks). If desired add sweeteners such as sugar syrup or honey before pouring over steamed/frothed/whisked warm/hot/cold/non-heated (depending on preference) frothy foam made from additional heated/frothed/whisked/microwaved/skillet-warmed/etc.

Portion(s) of chosen type(s) of milks.

How to Make Your Own Latte

Here’s how:

  1. Brew a shot of espresso using your preferred method.
  2. Heat up your milk in a saucepan or with a frother until it reaches around 140°F (60°C).
  3. Pour the hot milk into a blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds until it becomes frothy.
  4. Pour the espresso shot into your mug, then slowly pour in the frothed milk over top.

If you want to get creative, you can add flavored syrups like vanilla or caramel before pouring in the steamed milk for an extra touch of sweetness.

How to Make a Cappuccino Yourself

It’s a popular choice for those who prefer their coffee with a little bit of foam on top, creating an indulgent and creamy texture. Making cappuccino at home may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple once you know the steps.

To make your own cappuccino, start by brewing a shot of espresso using either an espresso machine or stovetop moka pot. Next, heat up some milk in a separate container until it reaches around 150°F (65°C).

Then use either an electric frother or handheld whisk to create foam from the heated milk.

Once you have your shot of espresso and frothed milk ready to go, pour the hot milk over the top of your brewed coffee while holding back any excess foam with a spoon. Finally add as much or as little foam as desired on top before serving immediately.

How to Make a Flat White

It’s made by combining espresso shots with steamed milk, creating a velvety texture and rich flavor. Here’s how to make the perfect flat white at home:

1. Start by brewing one or two shots of espresso using your preferred method.

2. While the espresso is brewing, heat up about 6 ounces of whole milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches around 150°F (65°C).

3. Once heated, pour the steamed milk into your cup over the brewed espresso shot(s).

Hold back some foam with a spoon to add later.

4. Using circular motions, gently swirl your cup to combine the coffee and steamed milk together.

5. Add any additional foam you held back on top of your flat white for an extra creamy finish.

Tips for Perfect Coffee With Milk

First and foremost, it’s important to use fresh, high-quality coffee beans that have been recently roasted. Stale or low-quality beans can result in a lackluster cup of coffee that no amount of milk can save.

When it comes to adding the milk itself, start by heating it gently on the stove or using a frother if you want extra foam. Be careful not to overheat your milk as this can cause scorching and negatively impact its flavor.

Another tip is to experiment with different types of milks until you find one that complements your preferred type of coffee best. For example, oat milk has become increasingly popular for its creamy texture and nutty flavor profile when paired with espresso-based drinks like lattes.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Add some cinnamon or vanilla extract for an extra burst of flavor or try making latte art at home using steamed milk poured into espresso shots.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most significant errors is using cold milk instead of warm or steamed milk. Cold milk will cool down your hot coffee and ruin its taste, so always make sure to heat up your preferred type of milk before adding it to your coffee.

Another mistake is not frothing the milk correctly. If you want a creamy and frothy texture in your latte or cappuccino, you need to steam the right amount of air into the liquid while heating it up simultaneously.

Using low-quality beans can also affect how well they blend with different types of milks and create an unpleasant flavor profile in some cases.

Lastly, avoid overfilling cups when preparing drinks like lattes as this could lead to spillage or dilution due to excess volume from added foam on top.

International Coffee With Milk Variations

In Italy, for example, the cappuccino is a staple breakfast beverage made from equal parts espresso and steamed milk topped with frothed milk. In Spain, café con leche is served in large bowls and consists of strong coffee mixed with hot or cold milk.

In France, café au lait is traditionally served in a bowl alongside croissants or other pastries for breakfast. The French version uses brewed coffee instead of espresso and typically contains more warm milk than foam.

In Australia and New Zealand, the flat white has become increasingly popular over recent years due to its smooth texture created by microfoam added to an espresso shot before being poured into heated whole-fat dairy (or non-dairy) alternative such as soy or almond.

These are just some examples of how different cultures have put their spin on this classic drink.

The Art of Coffee With Milk: Coffee Art

It involves creating intricate designs on the surface of the drink using steamed milk. The most common designs include hearts, rosettas, and tulips.

Creating coffee art requires skill and practice but can be learned by anyone with patience and dedication. To get started, you’ll need a few essential tools such as a frothing pitcher for steaming milk and an espresso machine or French press for brewing strong coffee.

Once you have your tools ready, it’s time to start practicing! Begin by mastering basic techniques like pouring circles or hearts onto the surface of your drink before moving on to more complex designs like rosettas or swans.

Not only does coffee art make for beautiful Instagram-worthy photos but it also adds another layer of enjoyment to drinking your favorite cuppa joe.

Cold Coffee With Milk: Iced Coffee

It’s made by brewing strong coffee and then chilling it before adding milk or cream. There are many variations of iced coffee, including cold brew, which involves steeping coarsely ground beans in cold water for several hours to create a smooth and less acidic flavor.

To make iced coffee at home, start by brewing your favorite blend of strong coffee using either an espresso machine or a drip brewer. Once brewed, let the hot liquid cool down completely before pouring it over ice cubes in a glass.

Add your preferred amount of milk or cream along with any sweeteners you like such as sugar syrup or honey.

For those who prefer dairy-free options can use almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk for their iced coffees. Experiment with different flavors such as vanilla extract or cinnamon powder to add some extra zing to your drink! Don’t forget that presentation matters too – garnish your glass with whipped cream on top along with chocolate shavings if you’re feeling fancy!

Ristretto Vs Espresso

While they both involve brewing coffee under high pressure, there are some key differences between the two.

Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely ground beans at high pressure. The result is a strong, bold flavor that’s perfect for adding to milk-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

On the other hand, ristretto is an even more concentrated version of espresso. It’s made using less water than traditional espresso but still brewed under high pressure to extract maximum flavor from the beans.

Ristretto has a sweeter taste than regular espresso due to its lower acidity levels.

When it comes to making coffee with milk, both ristretto and espresso can be used as a base for your drink depending on your preference for strength and flavor intensity.

Strongest Coffee Varieties

One of the strongest coffee varieties is Robusta, which contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. However, it’s important to note that Robusta has a more bitter taste and is often considered lower quality than Arabica.

Another strong option is espresso, which uses finely ground coffee beans and high pressure to extract maximum flavor and caffeine content from the grounds. Espresso shots can be consumed on their own or used as the base for other milk-based drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.

For those who prefer brewed coffee over espresso shots but still want something strong, French press or cold brew methods can produce highly concentrated cups with bold flavors and high caffeine levels.

It’s worth noting that while these options may provide an extra jolt of energy in the morning, consuming too much caffeine can have negative effects on health such as increased heart rate and anxiety.


What do you call a coffee with milk?

A coffee with milk is often called Café Au Lait, which usually consists of brewed coffee with steamed milk, contrasting with Café Latte that contains espresso with steamed milk.

What’s the difference between black coffee and coffee with milk?

The main difference between black coffee and coffee with milk is that black coffee contains no additional ingredients, while milk coffee is blended with dairy products like cream and milk, which decrease its overall caffeine content.

What is coffee with milk in Italian?

The Italian term for coffee with milk is “caffè latte” which translates to coffee and milk.

What is coffee with milk good for?

Coffee with milk is good for reducing inflammation, boosting metabolism, improving insulin sensitivity, and potentially controlling diabetes.

How does the addition of milk affect the flavor profile of coffee?

Adding milk to coffee alters its flavor profile by making it creamier, smoother, and slightly sweeter.

What are some popular variations of coffee with milk around the world?

Some popular variations of coffee with milk around the world include Latte, Cappuccino, Flat White, Macchiato, Cortado, Breve, and Cafe au Lait.

How does the choice of milk (whole, skim, plant-based) influence the taste and texture of coffee with milk?

The choice of milk, whether whole, skim, or plant-based, affects the taste and texture of coffee with milk, with whole milk providing a richer flavor and creamy texture, skim milk offering a lighter taste and consistency, and plant-based milk contributing unique flavors and varying textures.