How to Make Café au Lait at Home (Recipe)

Café au Lait

Café au Lait, meaning “coffee with milk” in French, dates back to the 19th century in Europe. Its origins can be traced to the bustling cafés of Paris, where it quickly gained popularity as a morning pick-me-up for locals and travelers alike.


  • 1 cup of strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup of steamed milk
  • Sugar or sweetener (optional), to taste


  1. Brew the Coffee: Start by brewing a cup of strong coffee using your preferred method. You can use a French press, drip coffee maker, espresso machine, or any other method you like. The coffee should be robust and full-bodied to stand up to the milk.
  2. Steam the Milk: If you have a milk frother or a steam wand on your espresso machine, you can use that to steam the milk. If not, you can heat the milk in a saucepan over low-medium heat, whisking or using a handheld frother to create some foam on top. The milk should be hot but not boiling.
  3. Combine Coffee and Steamed Milk: Pour the brewed coffee into a large cup or mug. Slowly pour the steamed milk over the coffee, holding back the foam with a spoon to ensure an equal ratio of coffee and milk.
  4. Add Sweetener (Optional): If you prefer your Café au Lait sweetened, you can add sugar, honey, or any other sweetener of your choice to taste. Stir until the sweetener is dissolved.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Your Café au Lait is ready to be enjoyed! The combination of strong coffee and steamed milk creates a rich and comforting drink. You can garnish it with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon if you like.
  6. Variations:
    • Flavored Syrups: You can add flavored syrups such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut to your Café au Lait for extra flavor.
    • Iced Café au Lait: To make an iced version, brew the coffee as usual, let it cool, and then pour it over ice. Add cold milk and sweetener if desired.

Remember, Café au Lait is all about finding the balance between strong coffee and creamy milk. Feel free to adjust the coffee-to-milk ratio and sweetness according to your taste preferences. Enjoy your homemade Café au Lait!

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