Café Au Lait vs Latte – Everything You Need to Know | 

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You love the taste of coffee but can’t decide between these two favorites, Café au lait and Latte. Never fear; we have all the information you need to make an informed decision. From their origins to how they should be prepared, this blog post will detail everything there is to know about Café Au Lait vs Latte drinks.

Learn why each stands out from other espresso-based beverages and which might be best for your tastes. Whether you’re new to coffee or a connoisseur looking for something fresh, continue reading and let us help guide you in choosing café au lait or Latte!

Café Au Lait vs Latte: Why Can’t They Be The Same?


  • Café au lait and Latte are popular coffee drinks originating in France and Italy, respectively.
  • The café au lait is made by combining equal parts of hot milk and brewed coffee, giving it a strong coffee flavor and thinner texture.
  • A latte is made using a shot of espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a milder coffee flavor and a creamier, frothier texture.
  • A latte typically has a higher caffeine and calorie content due to the use of espresso and the addition of steamed milk.

While both café au lait and Latte are popular coffee drinks often served at cafes, they are different. Though they may seem similar with their creamy and frothy texture, there are significant differences in origin, brewing technique, and ingredients that set them apart.

A Cup Of Cafe Au Lait
A Cup Of Cafe Au Lait


Café au lait, which translates to “coffee with milk” in French, is said to have originated in France in the 19th century. It was traditionally made by combining equal parts of strong brewed coffee and hot milk. Today, café au lait is still popular in France and other European countries, as well as in New Orleans, known as café au lait and beignets.

The Latte originated in Italy in the 17th century. It was originally called “caffè latte,” meaning “coffee milk.” The drink became popular worldwide due to its creamy texture and rich flavor. Latte can now be found at almost any coffee shop worldwide, with various variations and additions.

Brewing Technique

The main difference between café au lait and Latte is the brewing technique. Café au lait is made by combining equal parts of hot milk and brewed coffee which is typically brewed using a drip or pour-over method. The milk is then heated and frothed separately before being poured into the coffee.

The Latte is made using a shot of espresso and steamed milk. A shot of espresso is a concentrated form of coffee produced by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee beans. The steamed milk is poured over the espresso, creating a creamy and frothy texture. On top of cup , a thin layer of foam is also added to give the Latte its signature aesthetic.


Café au lait has strong coffee flavor, as it is made with a 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk. The hot milk used in this drink also adds a subtle sweetness to the overall taste.

Latte has a milder coffee flavor due to the addition of steamed milk. Because of this, the drink has a smoother and creamier taste compared to café au lait. The espresso used in lattes also adds a slightly bitter note to balance out the sweetness from the steamed milk.


Latte Cups
The Artistry In Latte Cups

The texture of café au lait is thinner and less frothy than Latte. This is because the milk is heated and added directly to the coffee, without any additional steaming or frothing process.

Latte has a thicker and creamier texture due to the addition of steamed milk and foam. The steam used in creating lattes creates tiny bubbles in the milk, giving it a velvety texture.

Level Of Caffeine

Café au lait and Latte both contain caffeine, but the amount may vary depending on the type of coffee used. Generally, a latte has a higher caffeine content as it uses a full shot of espresso, while café au lait may have slightly less caffeine due to the use of brewed coffee.

The difference can range from 80-120 mg of caffeine in a latte compared to 60-100 mg in café au lait. However, this can also vary depending on the size and strength of the drink.

Level Of Calories

Café au lait and Latte are relatively low in calories if made with skim milk or non-dairy alternatives. A typical 12 oz café au lait can have between 70-100 calories, while a 12 oz latte can have around 120-180 calories.

The difference between the amount of calories in the two drinks because the steamed milk in Latte adds more volume and may also be sweetened with syrups or flavorings, adding extra calories.

Health Benefit

Both café au lait and Latte contain similar health benefits as they both contain caffeine, which can improve cognitive function and energy levels. The milk in these drinks provides calcium and protein, essential nutrients for overall health. The milk also helps reduce the coffee’s acidity, making it gentler on the stomach.

However, it’s essential to note that excessive caffeine consumption can adversely affect health, such as increased anxiety and disrupted sleep patterns. It’sLimiting intake to no more than 400 mg per day is recommended.

Serving Style

The serving style for café au lait and Latte can also differ. Café au lait is typically served in a large bowl-shaped cup, and people can dip bread or pastries into it. While lattes are often served in a tall glass or ceramic mug, this presentation make the foam layer on top more visible and adds to the aesthetic appeal.

Café Au Lait vs Latte: What Is For You?


  • Café au lait and Latte are both popular coffee drinks, however café au lait typically has a more robust flavor and lower caffeine content, while Latte is creamier and sweeter.
  • So, which drink should you choose? It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and taste.

If you prefer a more robust coffee flavor and want to limit your calorie intake, café au lait may be the better option. You can dip a pastry or bread into it for a delicious breakfast combo. But if you enjoy the creaminess and sweetness of steamed milk in your coffee, then Latte may be the way to go. Be mindful of the extra calories and choose healthier options such as skim milk or sugar-free syrups.

Another factor to consider is caffeine content. As café au lait uses brewed coffee as its base, it typically contains less caffeine than a latte with espresso. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or trying to limit your intake, café au lait may be a better choice.

How To Enjoy Café Au Lait And Latte?

While café au lait and Latte are both delicious, you can enhance your experience with these drinks in a few ways.

  1. Experiment with Different Milk Options: For a dairy-free option, both café au lait and Latte can be made with different types of milk such as almond, oat, or coconut milk. Each type of milk will add a unique flavor and texture to your drink.
  2. Add Your Favorite Syrups: If you have a sweet tooth, adding flavored syrups such as vanilla or caramel can elevate the taste of your café au lait or Latte. Just be mindful of the extra calories these syrups add.
  3. Pair with Pastries: Dipping pastries or bread into your café au lait can make a delicious breakfast combo. This is also a great way to add carbs and protein to your morning routine.
  4. Timing: The best time to enjoy a café au lait is in the morning, as it provides you with a boost of energy without overwhelming amounts of caffeine. Conversely, a latte can be enjoyed at any time of day as its caffeine content may vary depending on how many espresso shots are used.
  5. Try Different Beans: The coffee beans used in your café au lait or Latte can greatly impact the flavor. For instance, a light roast will have a more delicate taste while a dark roast will have a bolder flavor. Experiment with different roasts and origins to find your perfect cup.


Comparison of Café au lait vs Latte may seem similar at first glance, but subtle differences make each drink unique. Whether you prefer a stronger coffee flavor or a creamier and sweeter taste, both drinks offer a delicious way to enjoy your daily dose of caffeine. With the various ways to personalize them, you can make your café au lait or Latte your own.


Is Cafe Au Lait Higher in Caffeine?

The caffeine content of café au lait and Latte can vary depending on the espresso used. A latte may have slightly more caffeine due to its higher concentration of espresso shots.

Is a Cafe Au Lait Keto Friendly?

Unfortunately, a traditional café au lait made with whole milk would not be considered keto-friendly. However, you can make a keto-friendly version using almond or coconut milk and a low-carb sweetener.

Can You Make a Dairy-Free Version of Latte or Cafe Au Lait?

Yes, both café au lait and Latte can easily be made dairy-free by using plant-based milk alternatives such as almond or oat milk.

Which One Is Better for Weight Loss – Café au lait or Latte?

Both café au lait and Latte can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. If you are watching your calorie intake, opting for a non-fat or plant-based milk option may be best. Additionally, you can reduce the sweetness by using sugar-free syrups or sweeteners.

Can You Make Cold Cafe Au Lait?

No, traditional café au lait is served hot. However, you can make a cold version by brewing your coffee and allowing it to cool before adding the steamed milk. You can also add ice for an iced café au lait.

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