What is a Caffe Misto? Everything You Need To Know

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

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What is a Caffe Misto? Everything You Need To Know

You’re probably familiar with classic cafe treats like cappuccinos and lattes, but there’s no shortage of strange-sounding drinks at various retailers. If you’ve ever encountered a long cafe menu, you may wonder what is a caffe misto — and whether or not you’ll like it.

Caffe Mistos are a drink made with one part drip or french press brewed coffee and one part steamed milk — and they offer plenty of charming qualities and flavors. This article will explain everything you need to know about Caffe Mistos.

What is a Caffe Misto?

The Caffe Misto or Cafe Misto is a coffee drink made with one part brewed coffee and one part steamed milk. They’re also commonly referred to as Cafe au Lait, or “coffee with milk.” While this might be a simple beverage, there’s no shortage of things to enjoy about the flavorful coffee and sweet steamed milk.

So, why is it worth ordering a Caffe Misto, and why is the Starbucks Caffe Misto particularly so popular? When you consider that it’s made with milk and regularly brewed coffee, it almost seems like something you’d make at home. This drink is distinguished from a regular cup of coffee due to its high milk content and the fact that it is steamed before it’s added to the drink. Additionally, the Cafe Misto, or the Cafe au Lait, is often made with dark roast coffee. This results in a bolder flavor than most homemade coffees offer.

As a result of how they’re made, Caffe Mistos are generally described as having a bold and mellow flavor. They’re slightly more watery than drinks made with espresso since the brewed coffee has a higher water content. The steamed milk lends each glass of Caffe Misto a subtle caramelized flavor. This decadent drink is sometimes sweetened with flavored syrups, adding an additional layer of flavor complexity and sweetness.

Unfortunately, this delicious coffee drink isn’t as well-known as popular counterparts like macchiatos, lattes, and cappuccinos. While it can’t compete in terms of popularity, it’s safe to say that Caffe Mistos are just as delicious. Better yet, making this drink at home is easy.

Are Caffe Mistos and Lattes the Same Drink?

what is a caffe misto?

While both are made with coffee and steamed milk, the Caffe Misto and the latte couldn’t be any more different. A Caffe Misto is made with brewed coffee, while a latte is made with espresso. And while Caffe Mistos have one part coffee and one part steamed hot milk, lattes are made with one part espresso and two parts steamed, foamy milk.

Even though the two drinks are made with extremely different processes and ingredient ratios, they’re commonly mistaken for one another. The Cafe au Lait and the latte have similar flavor profiles with plenty of robust and sweet notes. Since Caffe Mistos are made with brewed coffee, they’re typically somewhat thinner than lattes and do not contain as much caffeine.

Are Caffe Mistos and Flat Whites the Same Drink?

Another drink that Caffe Mistos are commonly mistaken for is flat whites. While both drinks are made with steamed milk, they use different ingredients and a different coffee ratio to produce their signature flavor profiles. Caffe Mistos are made using brewed coffee, but flat whites use an espresso shot to produce a bolder flavor.

Flat whites also contain significantly more milk than Caffe Mistos. While Caffe Mistos is made with one part steamed milk and one part brewed coffee, flat whites actually use two parts steamed milk. Since both drinks are made with steamed milk and coffee, they’re commonly confused — but you can usually distinguish a flat white from a Caffe Misto due to its bolder espresso flavor.

How to Make a Caffe Misto at Home

How to Make a Caffe Misto at Home

The only tools you need to make your own Caffe Misto at home are a reliable coffee machine and a steam wand or handheld milk frother to prepare your milk. Ideally, you’ll want to use a steam wand to heat and caramelize the milk, but you can heat the milk on the stove and use a handheld frother in a cinch.

Once you have your tools, you’ll also need to gather your ingredients. Caffe Mistos are made with one part brewed coffee and one part milk, so you’ll need to make sure you have your favorite coffee grounds and your choice of milk or non-dairy milk on hand.

Start making your Caffe Misto by adding water and your choice of grounds to the coffee machine. Then, turn the coffee machine on and allow it to start brewing. As it brews, you should pour one part milk into a pan on the stovetop and gently heat it. Don’t allow it to boil.

As the milk begins to warm, use your handheld frother to whip the milk into a light and foamy texture. Alternatively, if you have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can use the steam wand’s frothing and steaming settings to heat and texturize the milk.

Finally, it’s time to prepare your Caffe Misto once your milk is warmed with a light and foamy texture and your coffee is finished brewing. Pour one part coffee into your chosen glass before adding an equivalent amount of the warm, frothed milk. Stir to combine and add sweetener according to taste.

Once you’re finished making your Caffe Misto, the only thing left to do is enjoy your cafe-quality beverage. These drinks are incredibly easy to make at home, and they’re delicious, too. You’ll thank yourself for giving the recipe a try.

Enjoy Your Very Own Caffe Misto Today

Whether you intend to enjoy them at your favorite cafe or right in the comfort of your home, Cafe Mistos are an incredible treat. There’s no better way to enjoy a Cafe Misto than having the right tool on hand. As long as you have a reliable handheld frother, making a perfect Cafe Misto only requires a few common household tools and appliances.

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