Café au lait
5 (1)

I often visited my francophone friend Ev in Montreal in the 90s. It was an easy jaunt from D.C. where I was living and Montreal is one of my favorite cities; after Paris, I think it is one of the sexiest cities. We would usually stop for a late breakfast at a charming café along the Boulevard Saint-Laurent on Sunday before I headed back to the States. And Ev always order Café au lait. Back then, I was intrigued at the idea of drinking coffee out of a bowl.

While the French love their afternoon espressos, it seems that Café au lait is the beverage of choice in the morning. It is different from a latte which is a shot of espresso and then filled with steamed milk and foam on top. Café au lait is French press coffee (or drip coffee if you must) and steamed milk at a 50/50 ratio and no foam. It is easy to make at home, especially if I persuaded you to make French press coffee with my recipe here. Here is how I prepare it.

For one serving, warm about 2/3 cup of milk; I usually warm it in the microwave in a measuring cup for about a minute. Pour the warmed milk into the French press and pump until it becomes frothy and almost doubles in volume. Pour hot coffee into a bowl and add an equal amount of the frothed milk. Although the typical ratio is 50/50, you can adjust it to your preference. I have also noticed people adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top but why gild the lily.

A croissant is a requirement for a Café au lait. I am always transported back to Boulevard Saint-Laurent as I sip out of the bowl. Or somewhere in Paris’ 4th Arrondissement. Enjoy!

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