Coffee is the fuel of a lot of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s to kick start the morning or to keep us going through the day, we can’t go without it.

And while we all have our preferences, one thing we can all agree on is that there is no ‘wrong’ coffee; as long as it tastes good to you, it’s the right coffee.

Beyond the latte art, there are some major differences between a café au lait and a latte. Both beverages fall under the category of caffe latte, which is Italian for “coffee with milk.”

But while the words coffee and latte both have the same Latin root, the two drinks could not be more different. Here’s all you need to know about the difference between a latte and café au lait.

Café au lait vs. latte

A café au lait and a latte both use coffee and milk, but they differ greatly on many different levels. Down below, I’ll talk about all the differences that make these coffees so unique.

I’ll go over the kind of milk used, how much milk is used, the difference in coffee, and the number of calories and caffeine content.

After showing you all the differences between these coffees, I’ve listed my preference, and I’ll go over which coffee is better for your taste. It’s a really interesting comparison, so let’s get started.

Which has more milk, café au lait or latte?

A latte coffee has more milk added compared to a café au lait. While a latte uses 3/4 cup (0.18 l) of milk, a café au lait only uses 1/2 cup (0.12 l) of milk.

The ratio of coffee to milk differs greatly between these coffees. Have a look down below to see the coffee ratios that are used to make a café au lait and a latte:

"Café au lait vs. latte comparison."

As you can see, a latte coffee uses a 1:4 coffee to milk ratio, while a café au lait uses a 1:2 coffee to milk ratio.

What coffee is used in a café au lait and a latte?

A café au lait uses brewed coffee, while a latte is made with a strong espresso as the basis. You can make the brewed coffee for the café au lait with any brewing technique of choice.

The great part about the café au lait is that it tastes incredible with every type of coffee. Are you a fan of pour over coffee? Or do you prefer French press coffee? All coffees make for a great tasting café au lait.

"AeroPress and Moka pot next to each other, ready to brew coffee with."

A latte, on the other hand, is made with a shot of espresso. Most coffee shops produce their espressos with an espresso machine. But at home, you might not have one of those.

The best way to make espresso coffee at home is using a Moka pot or AeroPress. These coffee brewers produce great espresso coffee that is used as the basis for an amazing latte.

Is there a calorie difference?

There can be quite a significant calorie difference between these coffee drinks, depending on the kind of milk used. I’ve made a nice table where you can check how many calories your coffee will contain when using the milk of choice:

Coffee:Amount of milk:Milk used:Number of calories:
Café au lait1/2 cup (0.12 l)Whole milk73 calories
Café au lait1/2 cup (0.12 l)2% fat milk61 calories
Café au lait1/2 cup (0.12 l)Nonfat milk43 calories
Latte3/4 cup (0.18 l)Whole milk110 calories
Latte3/4 cup (0.18 l)2% fat milk92 calories
Latte3/4 cup (0.18 l)Nonfat milk65 calories

As a latte uses more milk than the café au lait, you’ll always have a higher calorie intake when ordering a latte coffee over a café au lait.

How much caffeine is in these coffees?

Because these coffee drinks are made with a different coffee as the basis, the caffeine content changes as well. Have a look below to see how much caffeine is in these coffees:

  • A café au lait has 90 mg of caffeine.
  • A latte has a total of 68 mg of caffeine.

Because the café au lait can be made with so many different brewed coffees, I have taken an average, so you have an idea of the caffeine difference between these coffees. If you want to learn more about caffeine in coffee, you can check it out here.

Is café au lait stronger than latte?

A café au lait is considered to be stronger in flavor compared to a latte. While a latte uses a strong shot of espresso, a lot of milk is added, so it tastes mellow. A café au lait uses double the amount of brewed coffee and less milk than a latte, making a stronger coffee.

In most cases, a coffee drink with espresso added tastes stronger. But because a latte uses much more milk with different textures, the flavors of the strong espresso turn into a well-balanced coffee drink.

On the other hand, the café au lait uses more brewed coffee, with equal parts of steamed milk added. The coffee drink tastes stronger because it has more coffee added compared to a latte.

Is a latte the same as café au lait?

A latte and a café au lait are two very different coffee drinks. A latte uses espresso coffee, steamed milk, and foamed milk. A café au lait uses brewed coffee and has steamed milk added, without any froth.

Although it might not seem so obvious when you order these coffees, you can see a clear difference when you compare them side by side:

"Café au lait vs. latte."
A café au lait on the left and a latte on the right.

As you can see, there is a big difference in the amount of milk used and how the milk layers are build up in the latte. On the other hand, a café au lait uses steamed milk that instantly combines with the coffee, making a coffee with an equal light-brown color.

Café au lait vs. latte, which is better?

Deciding which coffee is better depends on the preferences you have. I like drinking a café au lait over a latte because I like the more pungent taste of coffee a bit better. But this doesn’t mean I’m not drinking lattes at all.

If you’re still unsure which coffee is better for you, then I recommend the following:

  • Order a café au lait if you like a stronger coffee taste that has fewer calories.
  • If you don’t mind about the higher calorie count, you can go with a latte. I also recommend a latte if you don’t particularly like the taste of coffee.

I believe this will give you a good idea of which coffee better suits your flavor profile. If you want to have some fun, I suggest ordering both coffees and trying them out next to each other. This way, you can taste the difference yourself.

Conclusion

These coffees both have their unique flavor experience, and I like both coffees’ flavors. The biggest advantage a café au lait has over a latte is making this coffee with your favorite brewed coffee as the basis.

Both coffees are easy to make and whichever you prefer more is all about your preference. Making Your Dream Coffee at home has just got a bit easier.

If you’d like to learn more about the difference in coffees, you can check out the coffee comparisons I’ve listed below.

Do you prefer a café au lait or a latte? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

More coffee comparisons

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On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about!

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