cafe au lait with espresso

Originally uploaded by minhi.

How do you make a pseudo cafe au lait with an espresso machine?

First let me explain how to make a cafe au lait. Obviously it’s a french drink, usually made with double strength coffee –most of the time french press. The coffee is mixed with hot milk in a 50%/50% ratio. It is served in a big bowl for breakfast with a side of french bread with butter that you dip into the coffee. It’s a typical french breakfast item served to adults and to children.

If you want to make this with an espresso machine, the closest i’ve come is to make an americano and then mix that in a 50/50 ratio with steamed milk.

I know, how do you make an americano? Ok, pull a shot (in this case I pulled a double, 2oz shot), then mix it with water in a 1 part espresso to 2 part hot water ratio. An americano tastes stronger then regular coffee and to me it’s a mellower version of espresso–not watered down espresso which is what you may think. Adding milk and suger is ok, but i like straight–which is odd since i don’t like straigt coffe. I think an americano draws out the natural sweetness of coffee without the bitterness. And one last thing, when you mix the espresso and water, the espresso is poured on top of the hot water. Do not mix it! (Try it!)

Now with your american substituting for your double strength french press, steam up some milk with your espresso machine–try to keep the foam down, a little is ok. And then pour over your american mixture.

This mug is 12oz, so a 6oz americano (2oz espresso + 4oz hot water) + 6oz steamed milk is the perfect amount. I didn’t measure the milk this morning, but i did measure the hot water, so this was pretty close to perfect ratio 🙂

It was a tasty drink and the extra volume let’s me enjoy it longer while i read the sunday paper.


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